Martin Freeman on Making Sequel Without Chadwick Boseman

Martin Freeman praised Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler for trying to make the highly-anticipated sequel the best film possible, even though everyone was missing Chadwick Boseman on set. During an exclusive interview for Breeders Season 3 with Collider’s Christina RadishFreeman talked about the experience of coming back to the franchise without Boseman, and how he expects his character Everett Ross to keep being a part of the Wakanda corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The last time we spoke with Freemanthe star wasn’t so sure that a Black Panther sequel could be done without Boseman. the tragedy of Boseman’s untimely death at 43 years old, after losing a four-year battle against colon cancer, deeply affected family, colleagues, and fans. It also left the public wondering what the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther — which turned Boseman into one of the biggest stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — would look like, especially with Marvel’s promise that Boseman’s role will never be recast.


As Freeman now explains it, there are many more stories set in Wakanda to tell, even though its King is no longer a part of it, which justifies the sequel moving forward. Besides that, other essential characters keep on living in Wakanda, and the sequel tries to do justice by the fictional African nation that Boseman helped to build. Even so, it wasn’t easy for Freeman to come back to shoot the sequel, as everyone on set felt the vacuum left by Boseman. In Freeman’s words:

“It was strange, that side of it. On the one hand, you’re making the film that you’re there to make, and there are scores and scores of people on set, joined in this endeavor to make the film. But there’s also no question that, at the heart of it, there’s quite a gap now, and you felt it. With full respect to Ryan Coogler and everybody else, who’s sweating and bleeding to get this thing done properly, it was fun. It was enjoyable. I was in and out of it quite quickly, I think. But I like playing Everett Ross. He’s a very fun character to play. He’s nicely simpatico for the story. He’s a good guy. But it was odd. Of course, it was odd with Chadwick [Boseman] not being there. There’s no way around that. I think everyone would find it pretty strange and sad, but at the same time, life things don’t just end. It’s not like, ‘Well, that’s that’s happened, so we just all have to go off and never do it again.’ But it was odd. When he passed, I thought, ‘Okay, well maybe there just won’t be another one.’ But there are still other stories to tell within that world and other great characters. I think, and I hope that we’ve made a good film. I trust Ryan Coogler a lot.”

RELATED:‌ ‘Black Panther 2’: Release Date, Cast, Filming Details & Everything We Know So Far About ‘Wakanda Forever’

When Freeman first learned about the role CIA operative Everett Ross would play in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the star confessed that he didn’t know what to do about it. At the time, Freeman felt the role Coogler had given him for the sequel was odd and wasn’t sure how to approach the task. However, now that filming on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has wrapped, Freeman also had the opportunity to reevaluate his earlier position, as the set experience made everything more evident. As Freeman puts it:

“Yes, I can envisage it much, much more now. When Ryan was going through it and talking to me through the beats, I kept stopping him going, ‘What did you just say?,’ which was quite funny. Obviously, once you’ve been on the set, it feels much more three-dimensional and real yeah.”

During the interview, we also had the opportunity to ask about Freeman’s involvement with future projects, such as the untitled spinoff series coming to Disney+, which will danai gurira back as the warrior Okoye. As Freeman explains he was hired to show up in only three MCU films, but being contacted to show up in new projects has been fun. For the star, it’s refreshing to be part of a cinematic universe he can revisit from time to time without being fully committed. As Freeman says it:

“I was contracted to do three films, Captain America and two black panthers. I knew that I’d be in one Chap and two black panthers. Beyond that, I didn’t know about any TV shows, or anything like that. Maybe they didn’t exist when I had that conversation with Kevin Feige in 2014. So much I knew, but there are other bits that continue to be a little surprise and like a little bonus. I love that feeling. I love being surprised and being contacted and having them go, ‘Do you wanna come and do this thing?’ It’s just fun. It’s a nice world to dip your toe in and to be able to have the freedom to come in and out, which is perfect for me. I don’t love being on the same thing, all the time. I don’t love that. I’m not saying anything particularly surprising there. I think people know that I like going and having an adventure over there, and then coming back, and then going over there and doing that. That feels very, very lucky to me, that I get to do that.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is due to be released this November 11.Breeders Season 3 premieres on Monday, May 9 at 10 pm ET/PT on FX.


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