The sequel will see Nyong'o's Nakia and all other characters grappling with the loss of King T'Challa aka Black Panther. The role was not recast following the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, but a new superhero will don the black suit in the follow-up, once again directed by Ryan Coogler.
"I remember in the beginning reading the script, I was so envious of Letitia [Wright] because she gets to be chaotic and that's how I felt. I felt wrong and, you know, wanted to express it," Nyong'o told Digital Spy and other media.
"Nakia though, she is an example of someone [who] is just a little further along in terms of her processing," the actress continued.
"It's not like she has it all figured out, but in the first film, Ryan described her as T'Challa's oasis and that really, really resonated with me. So when I was reading this script and thinking about where she is, I realised that what she was once to T'Challa, she now has the opportunity to offer Shuri."
Nyong'o said that Nakia could support not just Wright's character, but all fans grieving over T'Challa and Boseman as well.
"It made a lot of sense in terms of the structure and architecture of the story. When we're talking about exploration of grief, it's really grounding to have someone who is, I want to say, befriending of the change for the people in the story, but also for an audience," she explained.
"The fact that she was T'Challa's love, in a way I guess it allows an audience to know that it's okay," the Oscar-winning actress continued.
"As much as I was frustrated with Ryan for doing that with Nakia, actually playing her was very therapeutic for me because I had to look beyond my frustrations with losing Chadwick and learn from her, learn from that wisdom that she seems to possess."
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