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Chadwick Boseman’s death in August has complicated Marvel Studios’s plans for the future of its pioneering franchise, Black Panther. Ryan Coogler’s sequel to the 2018 blockbuster was expected to arrive in theaters in May 2022, but the director is faced with the difficult question of whether to recast the role of Wakanda’s king and hero, T’Challa, with a new actor — a deeply unpopular option amongst Marvel fandom — or elevate an existing hero to Black Panther status. The most likely candidate for that honor is Letitia Wright’s Shuri, T’Challa’s sister and the fictional African nation’s answer to Tony Stark. That’s the path Twitter has largely embraced.
Those sentiments prove how Shuri has taken on a life of her own in the two years since Black Panther hit theaters. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment about her role in the upcoming Amazon anthology series Small Axe, Wright described how moved she’s been to see her alter ego become an icon for women around the world.
“It was always a dream of mine to play someone that can be impactful not only for Black women but also just for women around the world and young people, too. To be able to have a combination of people and audience members who are so thrilled and appreciative of Shuri is a good feeling. I feel like I contributed something positive in the world.” (Watch our video interview above.)
Based on her popularity, it’s no accident that Shuri was front and center in one of the best-remembered sequences from Avengers: Endgame — when Marvel’s many female heroes assembled in a heroic tableau as they make their final stand against Thanos. That scene prompted calls for an all-female Avengers movie that Wright herself has been campaigning for, and key Marvel Studios executives like Victoria Alonso and Kevin Feige have endorsed.
“I don’t think we have to fight for it,” she says of how that proposed team-up is coming together. “Victoria Alonso is very strong about spearheading it, alongside Kevin. It’s only a matter of time before they do it.”
Asked who her dream line-up for the movie would be, Wright makes it clear she’s thinking big, starting with her Black Panther co-stars, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Basset aka “Mama Angela.” Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is also in the mix, as is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful player, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, both of whom were featured in that Endgame scene alongside Shuri.
“Definitely have to have Captain Marvel, definitely,” Wright says. With Shuri and Captain Marvel side by side, an all-female Avengers movie would absolutely fly higher, further faster... to the top of the box office charts.
Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame are streaming on Disney+
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