Lupita Nyong’o is reflecting on the legacy of her late friend and Black Panther costar, Chadwick Boseman.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning actress opened up about the making of Wakanda Forever, the highly anticipated second installment of the Black Panther franchise, after the death of Boseman, who played King T’Challa. Boseman passed away in August of 2020 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
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“It’s been a doozy of a few years for everybody,” said Nyong’o, who plays Nakia in the movies. “For us as a cast, having lost our king, Chadwick Boseman, that was a lot to process, and in many ways, we’re still processing it. When you lose someone, I don’t know when you stop missing them. And of course, we felt it so much, making this film without him.”
She added that the cast, crew, and director Ryan Coogler also persisted to complete the film amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“To make this film against all odds is a powerful statement unto itself, and I am very proud that we did it,” she told the outlet. “It was very therapeutic. It restored a sense of hope for me in making it, and I think we’ve expanded the world of Wakanda in ways that will blow people’s minds—not just Wakanda, but the Black Panther world. It’s gonna blow people’s minds, and I just cannot wait until it’s not a secret anymore.”
“People will ask me, ‘Are you excited to go back?’ Excitement isn’t the word,” she said. “I feel like I’m in a very pensive and meditative state when it comes to Black Panther 2. [Chadwick’s] passing is still extremely raw for me. And I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters on November 11.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US