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The hit Marvel sequel takes place following the death of Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa with the people of Wakanda — especially Queen Ramonda (Bassett), Princess Shuri (Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) — grieving the loss and searching for a way for their kingdom to endure.
Ahead of the premiere, the “Wakanda Forever” cast members paid tribute to the late Boseman, whose shocking death in 2020 cast an unavoidable shadow over the night’s celebrations.
“I’m bracing,” Wright told Variety on the carpet. “I’ve seen some members of Chad’s team. When we lock eyes, we know how this feels. We have to take a step away. I see my aunt locking my eyes with me, she’s very proud. I have to take a step away… It’s emotional. We’re trying to hold it together.”
The film made a splash at the box office, making a $181 million domestic debut and landing the second-biggest opening of the year behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
“The heroes of ‘Wakanda Forever’ are fighting for their lives, their nation, their fallen king, and the movie lets us touch the ruthlessness of their devotion,” wrote Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman in his review. “They fill the void, all right, and so does Ryan Coogler as a Marvel storyteller. T’Challa is gone, but somewhere he is smiling.”
Stream “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” on Disney+ starting Feb. 1:
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