The period that Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame narrate was a turning point for Marvel. During the five years that fiction lasted, half the population of the cosmos disappeared with the snap of Thanos, which is why the following productions (ending Phase 3 with Spider-Man: Far From Home and starting Phase 4) had to deal one way or another with such a trauma. Black Panther 2, in its initial versions, had the same thing happen. But, as Ryan Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole have recalled in the New York Times, the death of Chadwick Boseman changed everything. T’Challa was the central protagonist of the film, and when he was left without an actor, the story changed to the point of becoming the recent Wakanda Forever.

The Black Panther sequel became a parable about mourning, with T’Challa also dying in fiction and his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) becoming Wakanda’s new protector. Coogler and Cole have detailed what the first version of the film was like (which despite the initial mismatches has been a box office success), and apparently its working title was Summer Break. This is, because it focused on the summer that T’Challa spent with his son Toussaint (the same one who appears at the end of Wakanda Forever), in a relationship marked by his five-year absence. During which Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), the mother, had found another man. It was basically a family drama.

“It was going to be a father/son story from a father’s perspective, because the first movie had been a father/son story from the sons’ perspective. In the script, T’Challa was a father who had had this enforced five-year absence from his son’s life. The first scene was an animated sequence,” recalls Coogler. “Naki is heard talking to Toussaint. She tells him ‘tell me what you know about your father’. He doesn’t know that his father was Black Panther. He never met him, and Nakia has remarried to a Haitian. Then we cut to reality and it’s the night everyone comes back from Lapse.”

“And T’Challa meets the boy for the first time.” Boseman’s character was then establishing a relationship with Toussaint, eager to make up for lost time. “We had some crazy scenes for Chad,” laments Coogler. “The film was about a summer that the boy spends with his father. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual in which they go out into the mountains and have to live off the land. But something happens and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.” At one point the plot evolved so that T’Challa and Toussaint had to face both Namor and Valentina, characters that do appear in Wakanda Forever.

The conflict with the king of Talokan (Tenoch Huerta) focuses the final sequel, although in the primary version it was more blurred in favor of the character of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the United States and the Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective,” Coogler concludes.

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