You’ll be excused (at least for the next few days) if you don’t know the name Letitia Wright.
But with “Black Panther” hitting theaters on Friday, the 24-year-old Guyana-born British actress will be getting a lot of attention for her scene-stealing turn as Shuri, the teenage sister of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
In James Bond terms, Shuri is like Q, the genius device maker for the spy. Shuri is a genius — her technological advances seem to rival even Tony Stark’s and are amazing and on full display in the film.
“I think Shuri is an amazing person,” Wright says. “She’s just a young teenager who is very ardent about her work, very ardent about technology. . . . I love Shuri. If I could be Shuri in real life I would. . . . She’s the future of Wakanda, so yeah, she’s a very essential part.”
Essential, indeed. She plays a critical role in the film, not just for her engineer prowess, but also with her physical skills — you get to look her throw down for assured — and she’s also incredibly funny and passionate. A great role model all round.
amNewYork spoke with Wright about the film.
What’s Shuri’s place in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe? I saw that you’ll also be in the next Marvel movie, “Avengers: Infinity War,” coming out in May.
She’s the princess of Wakanda and T’Challa’s sister. Her place in the universe is just kind of, I don’t know, she’s just another component of the puzzle of the whole Marvel [Cinematic Universe]. And wherever she can assist out, she will.
She has a lot of gadgets. Did you have a favorite?
I like her gauntlets because they let off steam. It will definitely be a form of protection, if I can take them.
Shuri was first introduced in the comics in 2005. What was your knowledge before you came into this?
I didn’t look completely into the comic books because I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by her journey, because her journey is very big. I learned what I needed to learn from the script that [director] Ryan [Coogler] wrote with Joe [Robert Cole]. And I took that on board and I just worked on the character throughout the procedure.
This film is packed with some amazing actors. What did you learn from them?
I learned a lot. They’re really down-to-earth people as well, so I learned just to learn, [and] to make sure when you have a level of success that you remain humble as well. Angela [Bassett] was a great example because she’s so amazing as an actor but also as a person as well. And I just really loved spending time with her because she really reminded me of the importance of staying true to myself and staying grounded and treating people in the right way.
4 stars: “Black Panther” is a movie that we need now more than ever. A film packed with heroes, strong role models and a critical social message.
And, on top of that, it’s fun as hell — an action-packed adventure with impressive stunts, great battle scenes, awesome gadgets and a great sense of humor.