Martin Freeman on making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without Chadwick Boseman

Martin Freeman says the process of making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was made "slightly more poignant" in the wake of the shocking news of Chadwick Boseman's death.

Boseman, who played the title role in the first Black Panther film in 2018, passed away in 2020 at the age of just 44 due to colon cancer — a diagnosis he had kept secret.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in UK cinemas from 11 November.

Video transcript

TOM BEASLEY: It's always difficult to make a sequel to such a successful and well-loved film. But obviously, this one had another layer of difficulty with losing your leading man in such tragic fashion. Did that make it extra difficult?

MARTIN FREEMAN: It probably did for Ryan and the producers. It didn't make it extra difficult. It made it slightly more poignant, I suppose, being back on set, having lost Chadwick because to be honest, if we'd lost anybody, it would have been horrendous. It's always horrendous to lose people when they're young. And added to that, we were losing Black Panther in "Black Panther." That's a massive, massive thing, as well as just losing the man that Chadwick was.

But the truth is that you then just motor on. You've got a film to make. You've got x amount of pages to get through a day. And you have to get through it. And you don't get through it by being in a constant state of mourning. I think we'd sort of-- the shock of losing Chadwick was a while before he started shooting again. And that was awful. But hopefully by the time we start shooting it, we were in a mode of yes, we've lost Chad, dreadful. We've had to do a 90-degree turn and make this slightly something else. And I hope we did that well. I haven't seen the film yet. So I hope we have.

TOM BEASLEY: And I think having seen the film, I think what it highlights is how much the whole thing is an ensemble, even in the original with Chadwick there--

MARTIN FREEMAN: Sure, it is. Yeah.

TOM BEASLEY: --it was such an ensemble.

MARTIN FREEMAN: Sure. That's true.

TOM BEASLEY: And I think that's such a strength of this particular corner of Marvel.

MARTIN FREEMAN: Definitely. Definitely. Yes, it was never-- I mean, yeah, you have a leading character, a leading actor. But it's-- yeah, it's not like everybody else is just in the background somewhere. There was very, very front foot performances, in the first film as well. There's a little sort of core ensemble, as you say, of very good characters and very good actors that can be called on again and were called on again. So yeah, we're lucky with that. Yeah.