A new report from The Hollywood Reporter has seemed to shed more light on one of the possible reasons Disney and Marvel Studios decided to push back their 2022/2023 slate of MCU movies. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be shutting down production to allow star Letitia Wright time to recover fully from an on-set injury she sustained back in August. While the movie has continued filming around the actress, who will be taking a more prominent role in the Black Panther sequel, sources close to the production have said that the team are now having to temporarily shut down until early 2022.
When Wright was rushed to hospital following the injury, which involved a stunt rig being used by the actress as she filmed scenes in Boston, it was originally announced by Marvel Studios that there would be minimal impact on the scheduled shoot and it would not lead to any substantial delays. Much in the way the Indiana Jones 5 shoot had to work around Harrison Ford’s shoulder injury, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been trying its best to keep the movie on track, but it seems that they have gone as far as they can without their new lead. The production will continue until Thanksgiving, when it will take a hiatus for a few months.
“Letitia has been recovering in London since September from injuries sustained on the set of Black Panther 2 and is looking forward to returning to work early 2022,” a representative for Wright said a statement to THR. “Letitia kindly asks that you keep her in your prayers.”
Last month, without any prior warning, Disney announced that pretty much all of their 2022 and 2023 Marvel slate, along with Indiana Jones 5, would be sliding back at least a few months. At the time, Kevin Feige said that there were no immediate concerns about the productions, but due to delays caused by Covid and the nature of the MCU, with its interconnected stories and very specific release schedule, the extra time just allowed a little breathing space. Now that Wright’s recovery time has been made public, it is not too much of a stretch to believe that this could be the root cause of the MCU delays as the actress is clearly not going to be back as soon as originally believed.
In 2018, Black Panther became a huge hit for Marvel, introducing an almost all-Black cast, winning three Academy Awards and taking over $1.3 billion at the box office. Wright played Shuri in the film, sister of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, and went on to appear in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Following the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, it was announced that they would not be recasting his role, and there are rumors that Shuri would be taking over the lead of the sequel, which to many felt exactly the right thing to do.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was originally slated to be released in movie theaters in July 2022. If production isn’t due to start again until January at the earliest, then the new November 11th release seems much more comfortable for the post-production team to not be rushed to get out the final movie. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.