Sorting Through the Letitia Wright Rumors

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther

The rumors regarding Letitia Wright’s status in the MCU have come from numerous places of various credibility levels and it can be altogether quite confusing. So let’s break it all down.

In case you’ve been sort of hiding from all the Letitia Wright and Wakanda Forever news lately (which I totally understand), let me catch you up with all the broad strokes of the situation. The history of this film has been fraught with disruptions, tragedy, and controversy and there’s a lot of moving parts in the whole ordeal. The rumors are plentiful, but which ones have weight? And which ones should you ignore? Let’s get down to business.

The History of Black Panther II Disruptions

The Black Panther sequel, now titled Wakanda Forever, was still in development when COVID-19 hit. As a result, it didn’t suffer the same sort of release and filming disruptions as many other MCU projects did in early 2020. The film’s first announced release date was May 6th, 2022 with filming scheduled to begin in early 2021. If COVID had any impact on their schedule at all it didn’t impact anything that had been publicly announced. What penciled-in dates may have been floating around the studio, however, is unclear.

While the pandemic was still raging with no widely available vaccine, most sets at least had protocols in place to help keep potential impacts to a minimum. Wakanda Forever seemed to still be scheduled to go forward with precautions in place like many other productions. Actors were prepping for their roles and crew was gearing up to enter the pre-production phase.

While they seemed to be set on getting through the pandemic somewhat on schedule, the production was thrown its first curveball in form of the unfortunate passing of Chadwick Boseman. Nobody, including Marvel, knew that he was ill, so this came as a surprise to practically everyone. This unfortunate loss caused Ryan Coogler to begin a rewrite of the script without recasting T’Challa. The release date was publicly pushed back for the first time to July 8th, 2022.

The film eventually went into pre-production in early 2021 after the new script was finalized, and filming began in Georgia on June 29th, 2021. Unfortunately, the Letitia Wright issues, which are quickly stacking up now, halted production and the future of the film is questionable due to a number of rumors. But which rumors are reliable? And which are made up just to cause controversy? Let’s look at the sources and figure it out.

The Letitia Wright Issues and Rumors

Anti-Vaccine and Transphobic Views:
Confirmed via Wright’s Tweets

The issues with Letitia Wright began prior to pre-production. In December of 2020, after Chadwick’s passing but prior to the pre-production phase, Wright shared anti-vaccine and transphobic tweets. This part of the story is indisputable since it came from the actress herself via social media. Absent any denial or accusations of hacking, we can assume that these are confirmed to be her authentic views.

This definitely changed the tone in fandom, and the backlash was swift and brutal. For months we’d been in mourning about Boseman, but suddenly we were furious with Wright. The actress who was the likely successor for the Black Panther title was expressing views that were actively harmful in numerous ways. It felt offensive to have someone who is so publicly anti-science playing the role of a science genius in the MCU. Worse yet, people who admire her and choose to follow her advice could get sick or killed. Her views are an absolute nightmare on so many levels and the fury of the fandom is pretty justified. 

There was never an official response from Disney about this, and pre-production and production began with her still attached to the project. Many had been hoping she’d be fired like Gina Carano, but that didn’t happen. So we just buckled up and hoped that Disney had a handle on it. Surely if Carano was fired and Wright was not, something different must have happened behind the scenes? Or was Carano’s just dramatically worse? We may never know.

Set Injury:
Confirmed Through Statements, but Vague

Letitia Wright was injured on set in August. This is basically confirmed through official and reliable outlets, such as the Boston Globe

Wright was injured on Aug. 25 while the production was filming scenes around Cambridge and MIT’s campus. The nature of Wright’s injuries is unclear, but in August they were reported to be “minor.” They were sustained on a stunt rig in the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Memorial Drive, according to Jeremy Warnick, spokesman for the Cambridge Police Department. Wright was on a dirt bike at the time.

“The stunt rig appeared to have hit a curb on a median while making some sort of turn, and she must have been knocked off the dirt bike,” Warnick said.

Wright was transferred to Mass. General Hospital and released that same day, Warnick said. The injury was not initially expected to impact the film’s shooting schedule. Wright has been recovering in London while production has been filming “mostly in Atlanta,” according to Variety.

After her injury, the film’s release was pushed back for the second time. This time it was set to November 11th, 2022. As of the time of this writing, Disney seems to believe this date will stick and no further delays have been announced.

Unless this was some sort of grand cover-up, I’m inclined to believe that she was actually injured. The severity, however, is questionable. In the early days, they seemed to say it wouldn’t disrupt production. Indeed, they did attempt to film around her to the best of their ability, clearly believing that when she returned they could do all of her scenes and then wrap production. But by the time November rolled around they had reached the end of any content they could film without her and production was halted.

Letitia Wright Sharing Anti-Vaccine Views on Set:
Reported Through Reliable Sources, but Not Independently Confirmed

The Hollywood Reporter, which is generally a reliable source reported that Letitia Wright was sharing anti-vaccine views on the set of Wakanda Forever. The article wasn’t specifically about her, but the larger conflict in Hollywood over the issue. She was merely mentioned briefly alongside other celebrities. Wright, however, denied it on Instagram a week after the article was published.

There has been no notable refutation to the accusation from anyone other than Wright. But there’s been no independent confirmation, either. If it comes down to it, I would believe that this happened. The Hollywood Reporter is generally pretty factual, and Wright’s rebuttal to the article is vague without addressing specifics. If it wasn’t true, I would hope her coworkers would jump to her defense like they have a habit of doing whenever a beloved co-worker is even slightly slighted (Chris Pratt and Jeremey Strong being prime examples). This has not happened, however. 

Your mileage may vary with this one, so I would understand having doubts. My verdict is that it’s perfectly believable, but unconfirmed.

Letitia Wright Will Have Issues Getting Into US Due to Vaccine Status:
Technically True, But Untested

Letitia Wright is allegedly unvaccinated. While I put ‘allegedly’ there because the only people who would know that are herself and whoever would be in the room when she got it, it’s not exactly an unbelievable statement considering her confirmed anti-vaccine views. Anonymous sources from several highly reliable outlets have also stated this, which does give it some weight. So I’d believe this one, even without her blatantly stating it out loud. 

The part of this which is questionable is whether this will prevent her from returning to the US to film Wakanda Forever in January (more on that later). Outlets such as Comic Book Resources have reported on this potential issue. CBR itself is fairly reliable. They don’t tend to post unconfirmed rumors. As this is largely taking a fairly certain rumor (she is unvaccinated) with a factual logistical difficulty (it is difficult to get into the USA without citizenship or a vaccine), I would consider this less of a rumor to debunk, and more of an untested theory. 

The CDC states that ‘limited exceptions apply,’ but it’s unclear if Wright will be one of those exceptions. We’ll only know for sure when she is or is not granted entry into the country in January.

This rumor was enough for me to finally write my article “Please Just Recast Shuri in Wakanda Forever,” which I’d been considering writing for a while. Sure, it’s just a theory right now, but man, I’d had enough at this point. The rumors that came after just bolstered my opinion further. I don’t think I’ll get my wish on that, though.

Letitia Wright Leaving the MCU:
Only Source is an Unreliable Outlet, Other Media Refutes This

The outlet Giant Freakin Robot stated that Letitia Wright was “Done With The Marvel Cinematic Universe”. While I try my best not to disrespect other publications, this outlet has a reputation that needs to be mentioned when discussing rumors. Giant Freakin Robot, alongside We Got This Covered and Cosmic Book News, has a history of publishing questionable rumors with unverifiable sources. 

Occasionally these outlets get something right, which they will then hold up as proof that their anonymous sources are reliable. All the things they get wrong, however, tend to get brushed off and forgotten about. Their unreliability is such an issue that we generally don’t allow them as a source in our articles here without a separate outlet independently verifying the information. I’m making an exception to this rule right now to discuss their legitimacy specifically.

The Hollywood Reporter, which we previously mentioned was pretty reliable, has refuted GFR’s article. Comic Book Resources also disputes this, saying they’ll resume production in January with Wright. GFR has fought back against the allegation of being ‘debunked,’ stating they were talking about her wider role in the MCU and not specifically her Wakanda Forever role.  

At this time, our source alleged that Letitia Wright wants to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe because she doesn’t want to get the vaccine, but those claims are only about the actress’s current state of mind. They did not say she made any steps like quitting. They did not say that she made any decisions about Black Panther 2. That is something we had a lot of questions about. While The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision claims that she is definitely returning to the set of Black Panther 2 when it resumes production, there are still no further updates on her wider Marvel Cinematic Universe future, or how that might impact the story for Shuri in Black Panther 2.

Of course, that’s not how the Internet interpreted their report. The Internet likes to read the headlines and, if they deign to actually read the articles attached to them, make grandiose assumptions with the information presented. I’ve had this happen to articles I’ve written before, so I get it. Hell, I’m prepared for someone to make an assumption in this article and bring some true irony to the situation. 

No matter how many ‘allegedly’s’ they placed in that article and how carefully they danced around definitive statements, denizens of the Net are going to assume that it means she’s out of Wakanda Forever and all future projects definitively. Perhaps that’s not GFR‘s fault. Or perhaps they intentionally crafted their article to spark this type of assumption and discussion while having plausible deniability. I don’t really know. I don’t know their business model.

Either way, it did spark a denial from another source with a much more reliable history with leaks, which we’ll be discussing in our next rumor. 

Wakanda Forever Entering Another Re-Write:
Backed Up by Moderately Trustworthy Source  

According to The Direct, which cites KC Walsh (the source that debunked the firing rumors in the previous section), Ryan Coogler is once again rewriting the script. This time, he’s rewriting it to reduce Letitia Wright’s role. This means she’ll be in the film, but not as important to the conclusion of the film. It also means that Wright may not be in the MCU going forward, which would match the rebuttal from GFR that they meant her future in the MCU is questionable. It also matches the more reliable sources that state they’ll return to production with her in January. This really doesn’t conflict with any existing rumors, but without official confirmation, it is still technically a rumor.

So who the heck is KC Walsh? And how reliable is he? According to the subreddit r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers, he’s on their second-highest tier for reliability (whereas GFR, Cosmic Book News, and WGTC are the lowest). He was the person who leaked that Alfred Molina would be reprising his role as Doc Ock in the MCU, which turned out to be true. 

People who live and breathe leaks think he’s trustworthy. So while his sources are also anonymous, he doesn’t seem nearly as sketchy. So, honestly, this seems legit. Sure, it’s unconfirmed, but I feel good believing this one.

What’s Probably True About Letitia Wright

Based on my research of the above rumors, I believe Letitia Wright will be in Wakanda Forever with a greatly reduced role. I believe that she’s firm in her anti-vaccine views and will likely leave the MCU after this film, but I don’t think they’ll pull a Tig Notaro and replace her. If they were going to do that, they should have done it in the pre-production phase. That window has closed, so Disney is probably hoping to get through this with as little disruption as possible before they part ways with Wright.

The only thing I’m uncertain about is how she’s going to get back into the US to film. Perhaps she is an exception to the rules somehow. Or perhaps Disney found a loophole. I’m certain she’s not vaccinated, though, so it likely wasn’t an easy thing to sort out.

Which rumors do you think are true, and which ones do you think are totally bunk? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.


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