An actor is rarely exactly like the character they’re playing. It’s called acting. But sometimes the disconnect between a performer and the fictitious character they’re playing is too wide to ignore. The public has known since last December that Letitia Wright, the Guyanese-born English actress best known for playing brilliant scientist Shuri in the Black Panther wing of the MCU — a character that been seen as an inspiration for young, STEM-interested girls — has some kooky thoughts about the COVID-19 vaccines. But after a new report claimed she was spreading anti-vaxx misinformation on set of the BP sequel, people still couldn’t believe it.
Buried in a new report by The Hollywood Reporter on the industry’s attempts to get cast and crews fully vaccinated is a depressing bit about Wright, who is singled out as one of the few actors in the industry to share anti-vaxx views on social media. (The only other one named in the piece is Rob Schneider — august company indeed.) But Wright appears to be going further than the “makin’ copies” guy. A source on the set of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever tells THR that “she has espoused similar views about the COVID-19 vaccines on the Atlanta production.”
Back in December, Wright got into hot water for sharing a video on Twitter of someone spouting anti-vaxx nonsense, including something about an “ingredient allegedly being added to the COVID vaccine to detect those who have not taken it.” After pushback, Wright deleted the post, but later defended herself, saying, ““If you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled.” Soon thereafter she deleted her account altogether.
But in the ensuring 10 months she’s allegedly not been swayed by such development as the FDA giving full approval to Phizer, with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson en route. There are no details about what Wright is reportedly saying, but when news hit social media, Wright received another, even more severe backlash.
There were two main reactions to Wright’s alleged anti-vaxx position. One marveled at the idea of Shuri — again, an unimaginably brilliant scientist, responsible for some of Wakanda’s coolest high tech gizmos — being played by someone who’s terrible at science.
Shuri not trusting science is mad funny lmaooooooooo https://t.co/NqkLy1u9nN
— 7pm on Kami’s Lookout (@FATHER_CLEF) October 6, 2021
The actress who plays Shuri, a brilliant scientist, is anti-science. Sigh. https://t.co/QKHQmTidDJ
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) October 6, 2021
you have Shuri, a genius, then you have this 😶 https://t.co/wFj4h3GGW9
— max(imoff) (@bluntswoter) October 6, 2021
Letitia Wright being an anti vaxxer playing Shuri who is a brilliant scientist and would probably have been the leading developer of a Covid vaccination … pic.twitter.com/BYw9aYHM4x
— teatime75 (@teatime75) October 6, 2021
One thing about Letitia Wright: she can tell you a thing or two about ACTING.
Letitia Wright as Shuri: I am an unparalleled genius who tirelessly seeks out ways to eradicate disease through technology.
Letitia Wright when technology works to eradicate disease: No.
— Mel (@thegates0fmel) October 6, 2021
You're playing SHURI, one of the smartest people in the MCU. Someone who works on the greatest technologies man hasn't even seen. And you're anti-vaxx. Ma'am. pic.twitter.com/TDFRHUTdpl
— Luvvie is the #ProfessionalTroublemaker (@Luvvie) October 6, 2021
Please don't insult Shuri as a character due to this Letitia situation. Shuri is an important character for Black girls and is just as important as T'Challa in terms of representation.
— 🕷🕸J.C🕷🕸: Let There Be Rotis (@unvpologetic_bi) October 6, 2021
It's crazy how Shuri is one of the smartest characters in the MCU and yet her actress has no sense https://t.co/PhkXBFyCHv
— The (Slightly) Scarlet Witch 🪄 (@mastermxnds) October 6, 2021
Shuri, the most intelligent character currently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Played by an idiot. https://t.co/4gjnfzQr3S
— Durag Daddy (@Dynamitejimi) October 6, 2021
The other was that Wright’s future in the MCU, even in the now-filming Black Panther 2, is in doubt.
I know Marvel is scrapping that Shuri becoming Black Panther storyline as we speak https://t.co/mS6x5rFttw
— Paris (@JadeParisthe1st) October 6, 2021
I know that we all love and respect Chadwick but if Shuri is the new Black Panther, they should have just recasted https://t.co/xOBV2ASLLQ
— 🎃🎃🎃 Nick Or Treat 🎃🎃🎃 (@NicholasJLevi) October 6, 2021
Bruh just axe her. Maybe Shuri has to be the next Black Panther but Letitia does not have to be Shuri. https://t.co/VBFZtN8Xc8
— 🃏johnny🃏 (@heeeresjohnnyyy) October 6, 2021
So about recasting T’Challa AND Shuri… https://t.co/bIsGjz38IY
— Daywalker ⚜️ (@Tchalla_Fett) October 6, 2021
I don't necessarily think Shuri should be recast, but I definitely think it's more clear than ever that Nakia should inherit the Black Panther mantle instead
— Drac U. Law, Vampire Attorney (@PinkRangerLB) October 6, 2021
just fire her and recast Shuri, she’s putting peoples lives at risk and she shouldn’t be allowed to just get away with that https://t.co/c4pqgW90eg
— Luke (@qLxke_) October 6, 2021
There were also enjoyably terrible puns.
I'm not so Shuri about this https://t.co/QD6dE9Ezgn
— Jay Jurden hates that tweet (@JayJurden) October 6, 2021
Wright has yet to comment on the allegations, but just a reminder, over a year-and-a-half into a once-in-a-century public health crisis: scientists are smarter than you. Yes, even if you’re a Hollywood actor. In the meantime, perhaps she doesn’t want to run into fellow Disney employee Giancarlo Esposito in the commissary.