2021 should be a busy year for Marvel Studios despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
In addition to releasing films like The Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals, and Spider-Man 3 next year, Marvel has reportedly set a 2021 production date for the Black Panther sequel. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the news Friday night, revealing the much-anticipated flick is expected to start shooting sometime in July. Production was initially scheduled to begin in March 2021; However, that plan was ultimately scrapped in wake of Chadwick Boseman's death. The titular star died on Aug. 28 following his years-long battle with cancer. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler penned an emotional tribute letter for the actor just days after his death.
"After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him," Coogler wrote. "Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days."
Since the tragedy, there have been a lot of questions on how the Black Panther story will move forward. Marvel Studios has reassured fans the sequel will not use a digital double for Boseman, which raises questions on how the film will address the star's absence.
THR reports Tenoch Huerta (Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico) has signed on to play the sequel's antagonist. Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett are among the actors who are expected to reprise their roles in Black Panther 2. Letitia Wright, who portrays Shuri in the MCU, is also expected to return for the sequel with a much more prominent role.