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Shuri and I share parallel of emotions in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: Letitia Wright

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI): From dealing with a “heartbreaking” tragedy to converting sorrow into strength, Hollywood star Letitia Wright says “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” shares many parallels with her real life.
The much-anticipated sequel to 2018 blockbuster “Black Panther” explores the aftermath of Wakanda’s loss of its beloved king T’Challa, a change introduced in the script following lead star Chadwick Boseman’s sudden death from colon cancer in August 2020.
Wright reprises her fan-favourite character of Shuri, a brilliant tech wiz and princess of the fictional country of Wakanda, from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
“When performing, in so many ways Shuri and I share a parallel of emotions in this film. We’re both dealing with something that has broken our hearts in ways that were very painful,” the Guyanese-British actor told PTI in a virtual roundtable interview.
“But we see the ways in which Shuri… she literally has to bite away at the things that are hurting her. So, she does that and we see how grief turns into strength,” she added.
The actor said the film, set to arrive in the theatres on Friday, will see Shuri understand herself better as she deals with the death of her brother T’Challa.
“We definitely explore the ways in which she’s dealing with her emotions. She’s facing things that are really challenging for her. So, we see how she develops and expands. She is trying to understand herself and her emotions. We see how everybody is trying to gather around her to support her at this time.”
“Wakanda Forever” also marks the return of Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as the Dora Milaje’s General Okoye, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Martin Freeman as Everett K Ross.
Acclaimed filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who helmed the first movie, has directed the sequel as well. The first “Black Panther” movie was a huge global hit and raised USD 1.3 billion worldwide.
The film was nominated in seven categories at the 91st Academy Awards and was also the first superhero movie to earn the best picture nomination.
When it comes to dealing with fans expectations, Wright said the team has tried to make a beautiful art piece that is “positive and encouraging”.
“The ways in which we handle expectations is just by focusing on what we’re making. We’re just focusing on the script and telling the story. When we release, the art belongs to the people. So, we just want to release something that we feel is beautiful, positive and encouraging.”
“Black Panther” has been credited by many for introducing the richness of the African diaspora to the world audience. Backed by Disney-owned Marvel Studios, it was the first superhero film to feature a predominantly Black cast.
According to Wright, the film brought African tales at the forefront, leading to more stories being mined out of the continent. “I would like to think that ‘Black Panther’ definitely opened up our eyes to see the richness of the African diaspora and the richness of stories with African people at the centre, and how successful it can be, how innovative and impactful it can be.

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