Black Panther stars share moving experience of visiting Chadwick Boseman’s grave

Michaela Coel and Winston Duke have revealed they visited Chadwick Boseman’s grave to “ask for his blessing” before filming began on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original 2018 film, died in 2020 from colon cancer at the age of 43.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, Duke, 35, who plays M’Baku in the Marvel films, spoke of the experience of creating the second film without Boseman: “It was really melancholic to get back into the hide from it all.

“I was happy to be back with the rest of the cast but Chadwick left this huge gaping hole, which was really hard to fill and it really showed.

“Visiting his grave to formally say goodbye and ask for his blessing was really great to help deal with it because it was such a surprise – none of us knew he was sick and we were only a few weeks of filming when we heard of his passing.

“The film is deeply about grief and how difficult and messy it is, there’s no perfect way to get through it, and you’re forever changed by it.”

Coel, who joined the cast as Aneka for Wakanda Forever, added: “For me, visiting the grave allowed me to not only see Chadwick from a Marvel perspective, but to understand that it was a friend of this cast and he was a real human loss.”

The I May Destroy You actress and creator also opened up about the demanding physical element of her role in the upcoming film, which is slated for release November 11.

Graham Norton Show – London

Coel has spoken about the physically demanding nature of his role in the upcoming Black Panther sequel (Ian West/PA)

“I just assumed there would be someone else to do all the fighting, that there would be people for it,” she said.

Adding: “Then they talked about starting training camp and I was like, ‘Boot who?’ And the training was every day.

“I had never done anything like this in my life.”

Duke, who also starred in Jordan Peele’s Us horror film, also opened up about his role in the Black Panther sequel, saying, “I do a lot more – a lot more noise and a lot more humor.

“I was inspired by Brian Blessed. I loved him in Flash Gordon – his character’s function is so similar to mine and I loved the way he did it.

Graham Norton Show – London

Winston Duke and Michaela Coel spoke about the loss of Chadwick Boseman on The Graham Norton Show, alongside Loyle Carner Paul Mescal, Emma Corrin and Richard Ayoade (Ian West/PA)

The actor went on to reveal that the barking – which his character has become known for – tends to be a go-to reaction from fans.

“I don’t know what they think is going to happen or why they don’t just say ‘Hey Winston, I love your work’, and it’s always in the toughest places like public restrooms” , did he declare.

When asked if he answered them, he replied, “Of course, who am I not to answer the call!”

During the first film, M’Baku and his Jabari tribesmen begin barking at Everett K. Ross, played by Martin Freeman.

Other guests on the BBC show include Irish actor Paul Mescal, The Crown star Emma Corrin, comedian Richard Ayoade and singer-songwriter Loyle Carner.

The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One on Friday at 10.40pm.

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