In late 2021, almost over a year after Chadwick Boseman’s premature death, his brother, Derrick Boseman claimed that it was in the late actor’s wishes to have the mantle of Black Panther and T’Challa to be passed down from actor to actor within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though the sequel was put into motion in 2018 after the release and success of Black Panther, the film’s protagonist had never made the news of his cancer public.
Consequently, discussions held between Ryan Coogler, Marvel President Kevin Feige, and producer Nate Moore about the future of T’Challa in MCU were a short one — that the character would not be subjected to being recast, and the legacy that Chadwick Boseman created would be honored in future MCU movies.
Did Chadwick Boseman Want T’Challa to be Recast in MCU?
The honorary tribute that was paid to the legend and the icon on the big screens with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever falls short compared to the immense gratitude, respect, love, and adoration held within the entirety of the Marvel fandom, its crew, and cast toward Chadwick Boseman. Ryan Coogler did an unparalleled job with the structure of the sequel and perfectly evened out the grief with the narrative about moving on.
However, what the world has yet to come to terms with is the fact that T’Challa as a character was idealized and immortalized by Chadwick Boseman and in his passing, being recast at the drop of a hat would not just be disrespectful but also tragic.
Derrick Boseman, in his interview with TMZ, has helped (or rather added to) the debate about the future of T’Challa in the Marvel mainstream universe. According to him, his late brother would have wished for the legacy and mantle of the comic book character to be carried forth after his death. He added that the Black Panther actor understood that the superhero was more than just one person and it represented, inspired, and had an impact on a vast majority of the youth and was a role model to the African-American children. As such, not bringing the character back would deprive them of that ideal to look up to.
The Contentious Debate Around #RecastTChalla Continues
Among the deluge of opinions and voices, a singular petition stands out. Film critic Emmanuel Noisette had rolled out his statement about the Black Panther being recast rather than the mantle simply passed down to the next in line. The Change.org petition, which demanded 45,000 signatures quickly gained traction because of the shared insight about what the character means to so many people and goes beyond one actor and his representation. Noisette in his statement declared,
“If Marvel Studios removes T’Challa, it would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him. That also includes the millions of fans who were inspired by the character as well.”
Help us reach our new goal of 45K signatures. Chadwick worked far too hard to bring King T'Challa to LIFE for @MarvelStudios to kill him off prematurely. Let's make both Chadwick & T'Challa the beginning of a legend and not the end of one. #RecastTChallahttps://t.co/tX4l8HeMlT
— Emmanuel (E-Man) Noisette – #RecastTChalla (@EmansReviews) November 29, 2021
In response, Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development, Nate Moore stated:
“You will not see T’Challa in [future Marvel films]. We just couldn’t do it. When Chad passed, it was a real conversation we had with [director Ryan] Coogler about what do we do, and it was a fast conversation. It wasn’t weeks, it was minutes of we had to figure out how to move that franchise on without that character.”
The petition started by Emmanuel Noisette raised an irrefutable and pointed argument by stating that not recasting T’Challa would then subject the character to oblivion by removing him to the sidelines. If re-presented and re-portrayed through the embodiment of another actor, T’Challa would live on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though supported by Derrick Boseman, the claims were never made in an official capacity as Chadwick Boseman didn’t expressly state what should be done with his Marvel character.
Considering how the MCU has turned on an axis guided by the multiverse, alternate dimensions, and infinite variants of the familiar characters, it would not be surprising if T’Challa is brought back to serve as a plot catalyst in a future narrative by Marvel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theatres globally.