Michaela Coel revealed her pride to be joining the cast of Wakanda Forever, as she took her place on the red carpet in London for the film’s European premiere.
Coel, who previously became the first Black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series for her work on I May Destroy You, told the BBC: “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.”
Coel plays a brand new character Aneka in Wakanda Forever, the highly-anticipated sequel to Black Panther, which took more than $1.34 billion for Marvel on its release in 2018. More than 170million viewers watched the trailer for the follow-up in the 24 hours after its release.
As well as its huge box office, Black Panther became the first superhero film to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture, as well as six other nominations. It took home three gongs, for original score, costume design and production design.
Coel joined stars including Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o at the premiere, where Gurira, reprising her role of plays Okoye, said she hoped Black Panther “paves the way” for other franchisees to cast strong black female leads.
The shadow over the sequel is, of course, the death in 2020 of Black Panther lead Chadwick Boseman, and Gurira described filming the sequel without him as “an intense process”.
Nyong’o told the BBC that director Ryan Coogler came up with a plot that could reflect the 43-year-old’s death which she said would “really resonate with people”.
“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.”