“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actress Letitia Wright is making headlines again. They’re about her being unvaccinated – again.
Filming for the highly-anticipated sequel to 2018’s history-making “Black Panther” movie was first delayed in August after Wright – who plays Black Panther T’Challa’s genius sister Shuri in the films – sustained an injury while on set. She flew home to London, England, to heal and recover.
Now a vaccine mandate for international travelers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make it difficult for the unvaccinated Wright to return to America to complete filming in 2022 as originally planned.
The CDC mandate that non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. immigrants be fully vaccinated to travel by air into the country took effect on Nov. 8. Wright has come under fire in the past for posting anti-vax videos and allegedly spreading anti-vax sentiments on the Black Panther sequel set.
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Coogler has filmed as many scenes as he could without Shuri, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). However, Wright has reportedly been elevated to the film’s lead role due to the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman and the movie cannot be finished without her.
Wright denied the latter in a statement on Instagram on Oct. 13. “It saddens me to have to address the reports published by The Hollywood Reporter on October 6th 2021. The report spoke about my conduct on the set of black Panther 2. I honestly assert that this was completely untrue,” Wright wrote.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me, knows that I work incredibly hard at my craft & my main focus is always to do work that’s impactful and inspiring. That has been & will continue to be my only focus,” Wright continued.
If she continues to refuse vaccination, some fans are calling for her to be replaced rather than hold up the film any longer.
“It’s time to let Letitia Wright go,” tweeted writer Richard Newby. “A lot of Black actresses who would love to play the role and not halt a $200 million production because of imaginary microscopic vaccine demons.”
“Does Letitia Wright not realize that if Chadwick Boseman, a cancer patient and immunocompromised, was still with us, her selfish views would have endangered his life? To vaccinate is to protect yourself and to protect those around you, known and unknown,” activist Darlene McDonald tweeted.
A representative for Wright released a statement to THR on Nov. 5 concerning the actress’ status and the film’s delay. “Letitia has been recovering in London since September from injuries sustained on the set of Black Panther 2 and is looking forward to returning to work early 2022. Letitia kindly asks that you keep her in your prayers.”
Neither Wright nor any of her reps have commented specifically on the new vaccine mandate.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is due to hit theaters Nov. 11, 2022 – but depending on Wright’s fate, that could change.