Lupita Nyong'o is reflecting the loss of costar Chadwick Boseman and how the team behind Black Panther 2 will honor him.
Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, the Oscar winner, 38, said it is "still so hard for me to come to terms with his passing" while listing his "leadership" as what she'll miss most about starring opposite Boseman in the upcoming sequel film. Boseman died of colon cancer on Aug. 28 at age 43 after a private health battle.
"He led the movie with such compassion and just presence. When Chadwick came on set he was present, and he brought his entire being to that movie. He was just so humble as well," Nyong'o said of Boseman on the set of the 2018 superhero film. "That leadership will be missed. And he was my friend, so it's hard to think of him in the past tense."
"I do know for certain that he would want us to do this," she added. "I feel that what [director] Ryan Coogler has planned very much honors him and his legacy. So I feel good about going back."
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In January, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige spoke with Deadline about upcoming projects in the Marvel cinematic universe, including the sequel to Black Panther. Feige hinted at what the follow-up will focus on after the studio previously announced it would not be recasting Boseman's role of T'Challa/Black Panther.
"So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda. Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story," Feige said at the time. "We're not going to have a CG Chadwick and we're not recasting T'Challa."
"Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda," he added. "There's also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well."
In addition to his famous Black Panther character, the actor has been honored throughout the 2021 awards season for his roles in his last two films, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods.
For Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Boseman has been on a winning streak for his best actor performance with his wife, Simone, accepting the SAG, Golden Globe, the NAACP Award, the Gotham Award and the Critics' Choice Award for her husband in heartfelt speeches.
Boseman won his first Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture, drama for his role in the Netflix movie. In January, he also won at the 30th annual IFP Gotham Awards.
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