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Blank Panther: Wakanda Forever cast arrive at European premiere

The cast of Blank Panther: Wakanda Forever have arrived at the film’s European premiere in London’s Leicester Square.

Stars including Michaela Coel, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o attended the red carpet for the hugely anticipated sequel to the superhero film.

The 2018 release of Black Panther is one of the most profitable movies of all time.

The Marvel Studios production made more than £1bn ($1.1bn) at the box office.

It was the first superhero film to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture. In total it was nominated seven times, winning three for original score, costume design and production design.

The franchise has been praised for its strong portrayal of black characters.

Michaela Coel
I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel plays new character Aneka in Wakanda Forever

Speaking to the BBC’s Steffan Powell at the film’s premiere, Coel said: “The feeling it gives me, as a woman of colour, to see my story reflected back still gives me a rush of exhilaration to be seen.

“This cast give me a lot of confidence, I feel proud to be among them.”

Returning actress Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, said she hoped Black Panther “paves the way” for other franchisees to cast strong black female leads.

She described filming as an “intense process” following the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020 from colon cancer.

Director Ryan Coogler came up with a plot that could reflect the 43-year-old’s death which Lupita Nyong’o said would “really resonate with people”.

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia in the film series

“Respecting Chadwick and what he started us off is the way forward,” Nyong’o told BBC News. “Ryan was so smart to embrace the loss and make this film about what we do when we lose somebody because we all experience it at one point.

“The honesty with it will surprise people and the fact you can do that without compromising on the fun, and the spectacle, is a feat and I’m really proud.”

The first film starred Boseman as the crime-fighting ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.

More than 170 million viewers watched the trailer for its follow-up, Wakanda Forever, in the first 24 hours after its release.

Last week Rihanna released her first single in six years which is taken from the soundtrack of the new film.

Coogler said Rihanna’s involvement in the project was to honour Boseman.

“Honestly, I think it was Chad,” he said. “A lot of improbable things needed to happen for it to come through and Rihanna was very clear that she did that for him.”

Other celebrities at the premiere included Stormzy, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Maya Jama.

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