Lupita Nyong'o on speaking Spanish in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever : 'It was a gift'

For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Lupita Nyong'o, the opportunity to speak Spanish on screen was a lifelong dream come true.

"I was so excited about it," said the actress while participating in EW's Around the Table video series, which also featured her costars and the film's director, Ryan Coogler. "It was just a straight gift. And I was very, very happy to do it... I've always wanted to work in Spanish and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that opportunity would come in Black Panther."

Nyong'o, who was born to Kenyan parents in Mexico City, added that for her, "this film represents different sides of my heritage." She added, "Being born in Mexico and having that Mesoamerican culture represented, it's something that's very close to me."

Wakanda Forever introduces audiences not only to a new villain in the form of the charismatic Namor (played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta), but also the entire underwater civilization that he rules, Talokan, an Atantis-like lost city based on Aztec legend.

While the inclusion of indigenous American culture in Wakanda Forever afforded Nyong'o a natural opportunity to speak Spanish, it's not the first time her character Nakia has spoken multiple languages in a Marvel movie. In fact, the actress considers multilingualism to be one of the Wakandan spy's superpowers.

Lupita Nyong'O as Nakia in Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.
Lupita Nyong'O as Nakia in Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Marvel Studios Lupita Nyong'o in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

"I always thought that was a very cool thing from the last movie that she spoke Korean, and I always thought that had never been seen before," Nyong'o said, referring to a scene in Black Panther that takes place in Busan, South Korea. The actress received praise from Korean-speaking fans after the movie came out, with many complimenting her accent and pronunciation.

The original Black Panther became an instant sensation when it hit theaters in 2018, shattering box office recordsraking in Oscar nominations, and shattering myths about representation on screen — all of which Coogler is looking to repeat with his highly-anticipated sequel. And while he's without his star from the first film, Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020 following a private battle with colon cancer, Coogler told EW that the late actor was looking forward to introducing even more diversity to the franchise.

"I had spoken with Chad [Boseman] about that aspect of the script, and he was really excited," Coogler said of introducing Talokan in the sequel. "That was something he was fired up about. I remember we were at a restaurant in Los Feliz the first time we talked about possibly having indigenous American representation in the film. He got the biggest smile, like, 'They're never going to see this coming. It's awesome.'"

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters. Watch EW's full Around the Table interview above.

Related content: