Lupita Nyong'o is in a "pensive state" with regards to the 'Black Panther' sequel.

The 38-year-old actress will play the role of Nakia in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film but "can't imagine" returning to set without Chadwick Boseman, who played the lead role in the original but passed away last year aged 43 after a private cancer battle.

Lupita said: "People will ask me, 'Are you excited to go back?' Excitement isn't the word. I feel like I'm in a very pensive state when it comes to 'Black Panther 2'. His passing is still extremely raw for me.

"And I can't even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there."

The 'Us' star did praise the influence of director Ryan Coogler and believes that the sequel will "honour" Chadwick's legacy.

Lupita told Yahoo Entertainment: "But at the same time we have a leader in Ryan, who feels very much like we do, who feels the loss in a very, very real way as well. And his idea, the way which he has reshaped the second movie is so respectful of the loss we've all experienced as a cast and as a world. So it feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this.

"And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honouring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we're still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure."

Ryan previously described making the sequel without Chadwick as the "hardest thing".

The 34-year-old filmmaker said: "I'm still currently going through it.

"One thing that I've learned in my short time on this Earth is that it's very difficult to have perspective on something while you're going through it. This is one of the more profound things that I've gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together."