The stars of Wakanda Forever took over Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, debuting the first trailer for their highly anticipated Marvel sequel. Just after they stepped off stage, the cast stopped by EW's Comic-Con studio, where they opened up about why it was so important to them to get the film right. More than anything, they said, they hope Wakanda Forever will pay tribute to Boseman, who died in August 2020 at age 43 after privately battling colon cancer.
"The most important thing, of course, was honoring our brother, our leader, and our king," Gurira told EW. "That was definitely at the forefront of our minds and our spirits and our hearts. There was this amazing impact that the first Black Panther had, so the need, I think, was to really solidify that these characters and this world have an arc. It wasn't a one-time momentous thing."
Gizelle Hernandez for EW The cast of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' at San Diego Comic-Con
The cast also spoke about wanting Wakanda Forever to live up to the legacy of the first film, which shattered box office records and became the first Marvel film to land an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. As Gurira explained, their goal was to expand upon the themes of the original Black Panther, exploring new corners of Wakanda and deepening character arcs.
"It's also important to let go of any expectation that this movie will be Black Panther 1," Duke added. "This is going to be its own thing. This narrative has evolved, and it's changed, just like all the characters and the circumstances of Wakanda itself. For me in particular, I just had to let go of the expectation of this being anything like the first movie and allow this movie to be its own thing."
In addition to returning cast members like Gurira, Nyong'o, Duke, Wright, and Florence Kasumba, Wakanda Forever features some new faces. Tenoch Huerta stars as the legendary ruler Namor, with Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli joining the cast as Namora and Attuma. The film will also mark the debut of Michaela Coel as Aneka and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a brilliant teenage tech inventor who'll soon star in her own Disney+ series, Ironheart.
"It was very surreal for me to jump on this train," Livinalli said. "It didn't feel like it was a sequel. It felt like it was its own thing, and I felt very welcome. I felt like I was part of the family."
The cast also praised writer-director Ryan Coogler, highlighting his "integrity" throughout the filmmaking process and how he's shepherded Wakanda's story.
"There's not many directors like Ryan out there," Wright said. "The soul and the heart of the film starts with the writing, and he has a sensitivity to our ideas and how we want to collaborate. [We loved] just having him be the one spearheading these ideas and the structure, and just being our leader each day on set. It's a dream come true to work with him again."
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will hit theaters Nov. 11. Watch the full interview with the cast above.