‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Production Starts in Atlanta: ‘We’re Going to Make Chad Proud’ (EXCLUSIVE)

BLACK PANTHER, l-r: director Ryan Coogler, Lupita Nyong'o on set, 2018. ph: Matt Kennedy /© Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection
©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

Marvel Studios has returned to Wakanda.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” — the highly anticipated sequel to the Oscar-winning, billion-dollar blockbuster “Black Panther” — started production on Tuesday at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige tells Variety.

Director Ryan Coogler is returning to direct from his screenplay, and Feige says that everyone from the original cast is also coming back — without, of course, star Chadwick Boseman, who died in August 2020 after a four year battle with colon cancer.

“It’s clearly very emotional without Chad,” Feige said before the “Black Widow” Global Fan Event in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.”

Plot details remain under wraps, and Feige did not say which specific actors would be returning. But Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett would all likely reprise their roles from the original film. (A representative for Marvel Studios said there was no further update.)

“Black Panther” was a cultural sensation when it opened in February 2018, shattering the pernicious Hollywood myth that movies with a predominantly Black cast could not be commercially viable internationally. Instead, the film earned $1.34 billion worldwide, making “Black Panther” Marvel’s highest grossing non-“Avengers” movie of all time. The film earned seven Academy Award nominations, including for best picture (the first superhero movie ever recognized in that category), and it won Oscars for score, costume design and production design.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is set to debut on July 8, 2022. It’s one of 26 upcoming titles on Marvel Studios’ slate for theatrical release and streaming on Disney Plus, including a TV series set within the world of Wakanda that is part of a multi-year overall television deal Coogler and his Proximity Media signed with The Walt Disney Company in February.

“We are especially excited that we will be taking our first leap with Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and their partners at Marvel Studios where we will be working closely with them on select MCU shows for Disney Plus,” Coogler said at the time of the deal. “We’re already in the mix on some projects that we can’t wait to share.”