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Lupita Nyong’o on returning to ‘Black Panther’ set after Chadwick Boseman’s death

Nyong’o said that it was “very hard” to return to the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" set without Boseman, who played the lead role in the film.

Lupita Nyong’o had to reevaluate her life after beloved friend and "Black Panther" co-star Chadwick Boseman's death.

While speaking to TODAY at the special red-carpet screening of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in New York City, Nyong’o, 39, said that Boseman's death impacted her greatly.

Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman
Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman at the Los Angeles World Premiere of "Black Panther" at on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, CA. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

"It just had me really rethinking what values I had in life," she said. I could have never imagined we'd lose Chadwick so soon, and he was so vibrant and full of life and purposeful and motivated and hardworking and all of that."

"We still lost him and it was a reminder of how temporary this life is," she continued. "It's a waste of time to be nervous."

In 2020, Boseman died from colon cancer. He was 43.

Nyong’o said that it was "very hard" to return to set without Boseman, who plays T'Challa in the film and transforms into the superhero Black Panther, being there. But thankfully, she had the support of the rest of her castmates and it ended up being a very "therapeutic" experience for her.

"Working on this film ended up helping me through my grief,” she said. "And for that, I'm very grateful."

In "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Nyong’o will reprise her role as Nakia, a respected War Dogs member, who is also T'Challa's lover.

Lupita Nyong’o in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."
Lupita Nyong’o in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."Alamy Stock Photo

As seen in the movie's official trailer, which was released in early October, the film will address Boseman's death and how a new character will carry on his legacy as Black Panther.

Although some fans think that it might be Shuri (Letitia Wright), who plays T’Challa's sister, they'll have to wait and see what happens when the movie will officially be released on Friday, Nov. 11.

However, Nyong’o did give fans a taste of what's to come when she teased her character's storyline in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

"So, Nakia in this film has lost the love of her life: T’Challa. And she's forging a way ahead," Nyong’o said. "She's matured, her priorities have shifted and sharpened, and we meet her at a different stage in her life."

Lupita Nyong'o AS Nakia and Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa in "Black Panther."
Lupita Nyong'o AS Nakia and Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa in "Black Panther."Alamy Stock Photo

Danai Gurira also spoke to TODAY about her character's new "complex" storyline. In the superhero movie, Gurira, 44, plays Okoye, the former General of the Dora Milaje and the head of Wakandan armed forces.

Gurira explained that in the film Okoye has a hard time keeping Wakanda together after T'Challa's "catastrophic" death and she faces "a lot of weight on her shoulders" trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

"Her entire job is to protect the leader," she said. "And now she's lost him so now she's trying very hard to figure out more ways to protect this family and her nation."

Danai Gurira in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."
Danai Gurira in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."Alamy Stock Photo

As for how it was to return to set after Boseman's death, Gurira agreed with Nyong’o and said that everyone relied on their cast members for support.

"We did very much feel his presence and anchored ourselves in each other and really took care of each other," Gurira said.

"We continued to pour everything we had into telling a story that would make him proud," she added.