Lupita Nyong’o Reveals She Learned About Chadwick Boseman’s Passing Via A Text From Viola Davis + Shares How Losing The ‘Centerpiece’ Of ‘Black Panther’ Changed Everything: I Couldn’t Believe It, I Was Paralyzed
The death of Chadwick Boseman is one that fans, family, and friends are still deeply mourning.
In a recent interview, Lupita Nyong’o (who starred alongside Chadwick Boseman in the 2018 Marvel phenomenon Black Panther) opened up about her struggles to accept her co-star’s demise ahead of the release of the superhero film’s second installment, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In the original debut, Lupita Nyong’o took on the memorable part of Nakia, T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman’s character) lover and an undercover spy for his great kingdom, Wakanda. The sequel, which is slated to hit theaters in November, will see Lupita Nyong’o reprising the starring role, but, of course, the forthcoming premiere has proven to be quite bittersweet for the 39-year-old.
If you didn’t know, in August 2020, Boseman suddenly succumbed to his bout with colon cancer. The tragic loss stunned millions of supporters and those closest to him as well, including Nyong’o, who has since recounted not knowing the extent of his illness.
When speaking on Boseman’s passing, the Kenyan-Mexican actress said that she actually learned about it through a text message from fellow actress Viola Davis.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was paralyzed.
She later continued with,
“He had an aura. He was the leader, and we were all good with it.”
Nyong’o proceeded with the in-depth conversation by revealing that–during the making of Black Panther–there were instances when she and Boseman didn’t see eye-to-eye creatively, which previously perturbed her. One time, in particular, was his refusal to travel with her and Black Panther cast member Danai Gurira (Okoye) to South Africa to promote the film.
“There were moments when Chadwick said no to me, and I was not happy with him. I fought tooth and nail to change his mind, and he would ever so quietly be like, ‘I know, but no,’ with love. I felt it was important to have him on the continent, as an African American coming to South Africa. I thought that was a potent symbol, and he wouldn’t go.”
However, despite being upset at Boseman’s decision at the time, Nyong’o admitted that she now realizes it was suggestively due to his sickness prohibiting him from doing so.
“Now, I understand he was battling cancer and probably had medical reasons. I tried everything. I tried charm. I debated him on the political front, and he smiled, he sighed, and he was just like, ‘I know, Lupita. I can’t go.'”
No amount of anger could’ve ever taken away from what the 21 Bridges actor brought to Nyong’o’s life and others around him, though. The 12 Years a Slave leading lady referred to Boseman’s presence in hers as one that affected how she navigated within the world.
“He affected how I move in the world. But… that’s the thing about Chadwick; Chadwick wasn’t trying to have everyone be like him. What he inspired was you to be your best self. So, how I’m going to lead a set is nowhere near–I’m not that person. I’m not Chadwick at all; I’ll never be.”
But … Boseman’s talents not only impacted his loved ones; they also impacted the future of Black Panther. Nyong’o didn’t hold back when it came to detailing the difficulties she and the cast faced while embarking on the next chapter of the anticipated story, which was initially set around Boseman’s character’s evolution.
“Losing your centerpiece, everything changed. When you say the world rotated around him, it revolved around him, it did.”
Elsewhere in the one-on-one, Nyong’o applauded Marvel Studios’ direction of not replacing Boseman in the Black Panther plot.
“That is not the death of the Black Panther, that’s the whole point. It’s laying to rest [T’Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don’t have the patience. I don’t have the presence of mind, or I don’t have the objectivity to argue with that. I don’t. I’m very biased.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for release on November 11th. The continuation captures the leaders of Wakanda’s mission to protect their nation in the wake of T’Challa’s death. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and are also set to return.
Chadwick Boseman is forever missed, and there will never be another T’Challa.
Rest well, King. Rest well.
What was your favorite Chadwick Boseman project? Let us know in the comments below!