Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

“Black Panther Wakanda Forever” made its long-awaited world premiere Wednesday night in Hollywood, with director Ryan Coogler and the film’s star-studded cast paying tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.

The Marvel sequel takes place following the death of Boseman’s King T’Challa, with the people of Wakanda — especially Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) — grieving their loss and searching for a way for their kingdom to endure.

As T’Challa’s death plays a major role in the story of “Wakanda Forever,” Boseman’s absence during the evening’s premiere cast a shadow over the celebration.

Amid great speculation that Shuri will assume T’Challa’s mantle of the Black Panther in “Wakanda Forever,” Wright shared her feelings about creating a sequel without Boseman on the carpet.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in the Marvel adaptation of the “Black Panther” comics, attends the premiere in an elegant pantsuit. REUTERS

“I’m bracing,” Wright told Variety. “I’ve seen some members of Chad’s team. When we lock eyes, we know how this feels. We have to take a step away. I see my aunt locking my eyes with me, she’s very proud. I have to take a step away…It’s emotional. We’re trying to hold it together.”

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige shared his own thoughts on Boseman, expressing gratitude that they were able to work together, even if it was for all too brief a time.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star Lupita Nyong’o crosses her arms over her chest in the Wakandan salute. The gesture comes from the ASL motion for ‘hug’ or ‘love’ and has been widely popularized. REUTERS

“I got to have him in my life for the short time that I did,” Feige shared. “More importantly, he did it at such a young age, such a body of work, that it will last forever. Generation after generation after generation will get to feel his presence.”

Feige was also greeted by Coogler during his interview, offering some glowing praise for the filmmaker on his big night.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Daniel Kaluuya looks dashing in a dark suit as he walks the red carpet. Kaluuya is not reprising his role as W’Kabi in the “Black Panther” sequel.
WireImage

“He’s one of the best people I’ve ever met, one of the best filmmakers,” Feige said. “Maybe the best person I’ve ever met.”

“This is hyperbole! This is hyperbole right here,” Coogler laughed, before offering some kind words in return to Feige. “Incredible producer!”

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Michael B. Jordan, who starred as the antagonist in 2018’s “Black Panther” attends the premiere of the sequel in Los Angeles. WireImage

Along with returning cast members, new entrants to the world of Wakanda include Michaela Coel as Aneka, a captain and combat instructor in the Dora Milaje, and Dominique Thorne, who makes her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Riri Williams a.k.a. Ironheart, as well as representatives for the kingdom of Talokan, led by Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s Namor, one of Marvel’s oldest characters.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Also appearing with Rihanna on the red carpet was her partner, A$AP Rocky. AFP via Getty Images

In the comics, Namor has been both a friend and a foe; it seems Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole have found a way to demonstrate both sides with this antagonist.

Like Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, much of the plot for “Wakanda Forever” has been shrouded in secrecy.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Angela Basset wears an elegant, metallic gown on the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. John Salangsang/Shutterstock

One major news item was revealed early Wednesday though, when Disney confirmed that Rihanna would sing an original song written for the film, titled “Lift Me Up.” The song marks Rihanna’s first new music in six years.

Letitia Wright, Kevin Feige, others pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premiere
Actress Danai Gurira walks the red carpet for the Los Angeles Premiere of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, in which she reprises her role as Okoye, a member of the Dora Milaje.
John Salangsang/Shutterstock

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hits theatres on Nov. 11.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.