Lupita Nyong’o is grateful that the world will soon get to experience Black Panther: Wakanda Forever following a trying few years for the film’s team.

The star, who appeared as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe panel Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter after the event and expressed her pride that they managed to make the film. The movie hits theaters Nov. 11 and pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the lead of the 2018 hit Black Panther who died in August 2020 after an undisclosed battle with colon cancer.

“It’s been a doozy of a few years for everybody,” Nyong’o, who plays Nakia in the films, told THR. “For us as a cast, having lost our king, Chadwick Boseman, that was a lot to process, and in many ways, we’re still processing it. When you lose someone, I don’t know when you stop missing them. And of course, we felt it so much, making this film without him.”

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The 39-year-old Oscar winner pointed out that filming the Ryan Coogler-directed sequel amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic added its own challenges as well.

“To make this film against all odds is a powerful statement unto itself, and I am very proud that we did it,” she shared. “It was very therapeutic. It restored a sense of hope for me in making it, and I think we’ve expanded the world of Wakanda in ways that will blow people’s minds — not just Wakanda, but the Black Panther world. It’s gonna blow people’s minds, and I just cannot wait until it’s not a secret anymore.”

When asked about the pivotal moment in the trailer that teases someone else donning the Black Panther suit, Nyong’o played it coy. “Don’t you just love a good secret?” she demurred.

Florence Kasumba, who reprises her role of Ayo in the sequel, told THR that she first saw the Wakanda Forever trailer when it was shown at Comic-Con and is still processing the various emotions it evoked in her. As for what viewers can expect in the sequel, she explained, “In this one, we get to see more of the culture, of the people. Some backstories that were to be told. But again, there’s also this whole problem that has to be solved.”

Disney’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters Nov. 11.

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