Letitia Wright was the breakout star of Black Panther in her portrayal of T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri. Fans quickly learned to love Shuri and her wise-cracking humor that is on display throughout the film and it’s clear early on in Letitia’s panel that the actress behind the character isn’t very different from the character fans adore on screen.
Letitia began her panel by perusing the crowd as she was so wowed by the cosplay on display, admitting that she wasn’t so sure about all the dressing up before but now that she’s a part of the MCU she realises how awesome it really is. When asked about how she landed the role as Shuri she tells the crowd how she sent off tapes for her audition and then went out to LA to meet Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther) and Ryan Coogler (the director). Once she done her first screentest with Chadwick she knew it was a perfect match as he “felt like the big brother I never had“.
Surprisingly, Letitia originally planned to play Shuri very seriously, much like the rest of the film’s ensemble, and Coogler would have to tell her to chill, remind her that Shuri’s cool and to just have fun which led to the character we see on screen. Letitia even came up with the line about “another broken white boy” herself in her apartment; she took the idea to set and Coogler loved it so it made the final cut.
Perhaps the most famous line from any character in the film is when Shuri mocks T’Challa’s sandals by bellowing the meme “what are those?!“. Ever since the films release, every morning she now gets fans checking on her sneaker game via social media. And if you aren’t checking on her sneaker game, she asks you to start!
It’s difficult to think of any other film in history that was surrounded in as much secrecy as Infinity War, so much so that Letitia wouldn’t even tell her agent any details of the story!
When asked what has been the biggest change about her life, the London in Letitia comes out as she jokes that it’s a pain in the butt to go Sainsbury’s, “buying milk isn’t the same anymore“. Letitia loves that she is officially a Disney princess! She grew up on Disney and there weren’t any toys like her, but now kids can go into the shop and pick up a Shuri figure.
Letitia ended the panel talking about the events of Infinity War. She doesn’t know if Shuri survived the genocide at the hands of Thanos, but if she did she is prepared to temporarily take over the mantle of Black Panther. Could we see Shuri donning the iconic costume?!
– Ciarán Hayward