Danai Gurira, everyone’s beloved spear-wielding action heroine, makes a triumphant return as Okoye in Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which hits theatres today.
The sequel to the multibillion dollar Oscar-nominated “Black Panther” movie, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa, is being directed by Ryan Coogler. Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, the slain King’s sister, will now assume the role of Black Panther in the wake of the lead actor’s unexpected death.
When you watched the film for the first time at the premiere, what was the atmosphere like in the room?
It was lovely. Everyone gathered there to celebrate and take part in this special occasion. No one knew what they would get, someone said earlier. The entire room was on this journey because, of course, Chadwick Boseman, our leader, tragically passed away. To process that and embrace the story, everyone was travelling together on this journey. It was actually a beautiful spirit.
The early reviews are outstanding; how do you believe Ryan Coogler upheld T’Challa and Chadwick Boseman’s legacy?
When Ryan returned and decided to make this movie, he did so with the conviction that “that’s what Chadwick would want.” I had a strong sense that this was the main motivation behind everything when he called and said, “We’re doing this and I’m very clear this is what Chadwick would’ve wanted.” From that understanding, we all joined the narrative.
On-set, it was also felt. Chadwick had hired a drummer for us in the first movie. He would drum constantly, and Chad would also drum. Jabbari is the name of the drummer. He appears in the movie. He would be there during our training sessions, as well as during mine, bringing the connection to Chadwick that we required. For everyone, he was readily available and fully present.
We all wanted to rely on that and honour Chadwick through the story because that description of who he was served as such an anchor. Ryan, in my opinion, got things going perfectly, and we stuck with it.
Okoye has to deal with the loss of her King T’Challa for the second time. She misplaced him in “Infinity War,” recovered him in “Endgame,” and then misplaced him once more in “Wakanda Forever.” Where does that leave her emotionally considering how devoted she is to the King and the crown?
With the significant loss occurring in the kingdom, the emotions are extremely raw. That has caused a significant shift in the situation. It is Okoye’s responsibility to stabilise the country, keep it moving, and ensure its security. Everyone is aware of and pays attention to this country, which is also the most developed on the planet. She has to take care of everyone, so I’m not sure if she has time to deal with her own grief.
Does the talk about a female Black Panther share the same sentiment as the talk about a female Bond? What is your response to those who are upset about the MCU’s current phase being dominated by female heroes?
Although I have no knowledge of trolls, I find that absurd and insane. Even so, it makes no sense. I’d be interested in hearing the defence of why the idea of women playing heroic roles is in any way objectionable. Have there not been enough heroic male roles for men in our time? Such people should elaborate and tell me why it bothers them to see women acting heroically as they do every second of every day, everywhere on the planet, as we all know they do.