Lupita Nyong’o Joined the ‘Black Panther’ Cast Before Ever Reading a Script

Though Black Panther may be a year an a half old, that by no means takes away from its outstanding legacy. It’s phenomenal cast (including Lupita Nyong’o), incredible screenplay, costume design, and overall special effects helped the outstanding film gross over 1.3 billion dollars in the box office. Now, Marvel has announced that there will be a sequel, fans truly can’t wait to see what’s next for Wakanda and its many powerful residents.

Lupita Nyong'o of Black Panther
Lupita Nyong’o | Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

The incredible Black Panther Cast

Part of what makes Black Panther such a joy to experience time and time again is the absolutely brilliant casting. From Letitia Wright’s perfect comedic timing to Michael B. Jordan’s brilliant “hey, Auntie”, everyone in the film is perfectly cast. This is especially true of Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia. Nakia is not merely the love interest of T’Challa, she also is a political activist who is passionate about saving other Africans who are experiencing terror.

Nyong’o joined Black Panther before reading a script

Nyong’o was obviously the best choice for the extraordinarily nuanced role, but the 36-year-old actually believed in the project long before it began filming. In fact, the Us actress joined the Black Panther cast before she even read a script. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Nyong’o confessed that she joined the project off of the strength of director, Ryan Coogler’s, pitch to her.

In order to protect their brand, Marvel is very reluctant to share scripts ahead of time. This, of course, proved to be true for Black Panther also. “Marvel won’t give you the script. Marvel won’t give you the scripts! I read the script for the first time six weeks before we started shooting,” Nyong’o shared.

How Nyong’o chooses projects

So how did the actress decide that Black Panther was a project she wanted to do if she couldn’t even see a script? Nyong’o has a strict set of qualifications that must be met before she signs on to any project. “As I prepare, I have to articulate to myself why I’m doing this. The secondary thing is definitely the people. When I choose projects, I want to have faith that as an artist it will speak to a time when it is needed as much as it speaks to me at the time that I make it,” the Little Monsters actress confessed.

The actress also felt that it was important for the world to have the opportunity to see African people in a new light. Far too often, the only ideas that most people have about Africans and Africa itself are ones synonymous with strife and struggle. It was important for Nyong’o to help rewrite that narrative by joining the Black Panther cast.

An aspirational African experience

“In Black Panther, I felt that the African experience was allowed to exist aspirationally. I think it’s more common in America to hear of the struggle of black people than it is to hear of the success. It’s more of a sensation to have a headline about a struggle, you know? ‘Lupita Shunned by People for Her Hair Texture.’ The struggle through having dark skin is clickbait. So when Black Panther came along…it was so refreshing to work on an African narrative that did not lead with the struggle of being African,” Nyong’o admitted.

Black Panther 2 release date

We know that the actress will continue joining projects that help change people’s perspectives and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting on bated breath for the sequel, Black Panther 2. The return to Wakanda is set to release on May 6, 2022.