Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is Finally Here, But What’s Going on with Letitia Wright?
Wright speaks out about her on-set injury .. but not her vaccination status
The Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever, is finally here after years of anticipation. Following the life-altering original Black Panther film, the sequel has much to live up to. And after the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular role, fans were wondering how the film would honor his legacy.
If you, like me, have been overflowing with pent up excitement as you waited for the sequel, I will not spoil the film. But know that this elegant tribute will meet your expectations — and possibly leave you sobbing on the way home.
As the press gears up, the unending backstage drama has also been making the headlines. And now the cast can finally spill in interviews — without giving anything away, of course.
Even before the film had a release date, news of the cast had been swirling about the airwaves. After Boseman’s death, many wondered who’d take the reigns. Many eyes were on Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright. However, the controversy around Letitia only made it completely ambiguous.
If you missed it, here’s what happened:
Letitia Wright Vaccination Controversy
During the pandemic, celebrity bad behavior ran rampant. Ignoring mask mandates, careless vacationing, and nutty opinions about vaccines.
When Letitia Wright spoke up about her views on the vaccine, it raised eyebrows. It all started when Wright Tweeted out a 69-minute anti-vax YouTube video featuring Light London Church leader Tomi Arayomi. In the video, Arayomi questioned the legitimacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
When the Twitterverse erupted with backlash, Wright tweeted: “If you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled.”
Many Twitter users were particularly disappointed because of Wright’s status within the Black community. Due to Western practices of medical racism and even experimentation performed on Black communities, there were many concerns about how the vaccination rollout would be presented to Black communities.
Vaccine skepticism, combined with the statistical realities of Covid’s larger impact on Black communities, made vaccination a delicate subject. So many found Wright’s comments detrimental to vaccination efforts, and her talk point about “thinking for yourself” more harmful than she might have intended.
So, was she canceled? What would that mean for the film shoot? And would her ambiguous vaccination status put production even further behind?
But is this controversy unfair?
Although this question was raised during the press tour, any claims that Wright’s vaccination status cost the production time were shot down.
Producer, Nate Moore, labeled the controversy unfair, saying no one else’s vaccination status was held under a microscope. With no apparent vaccine mandate, news reports claiming she was vocally anti-vax on set seemed false. "She never talked about her views either way. We read the stories that I would argue were unfair, because I don't know where they're coming from." Moore emphasized Wright’s positive contribution to the set. "She only ever was the utmost professional and a joy to have around."
The Black Panther Cast, including Chadwick Boseman
Letitia Wright’s on-set injury filming Black Panther
It seems that Wright had larger problems to address, anyway. While there had been whispers of a messy behind-the-scenes experience that caused changes, setbacks, and delays. Wright recently spoke out about the reports that she was injured while they were filming.
During a bike-chase scene in Boston, the equipment snagged and caused the bike to fall over — with Wright on it. This terrifying accident sent her to the hospital with multiple injuries, including a fractured shoulder and a concussion. Personally, I’ll take this as a sign never to go to Boston (again).
“I’m still processing it,” Wright told Variety. “I’m still working through it in therapy. It was really traumatic.”
Others on the set also felt the emotional weight. Showrunner Ryan Coogler said, “I mean, I love these actors. That’s me and Chad’s little sister. Imagine getting that call that your little sister’s hurt. It’s the fucking worst thing in the world.”
Despite her physical injuries and mental trauma, Wright went back to work as soon as she could. “I had great, great, great medical support, great patience on set,” Wright said. “I’m just extremely proud of myself. I’m extremely proud of Ryan, of the team, for just the resilience — overcoming adversities every step of the way. When I finished filming, I cried like a little baby.”
What does all this mean for the film?
Despite the commotion, the show goes on. If you haven’t bought your ticket to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever yet, you better scour Fandango for available seats in your local theater this weekend. Crowds will undoubtedly show in droves, just like they did for the first film.
And as for Wright, she’s healed physically and is working on her mental health. Jury is still out on her vaccination status and if her so-called “cancellation” will affect her career. This controversy has dominated the headlines, while other male, white actors do much worse with no consequences. Is anyone surprised?
But whatever comes, there will always be a place for her in the Black Panther family.