The Black Panther franchise is entering a new era, one that will sadly not include Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in the lead. After Boseman sadly passed away in 2020, Marvel Studios was faced with some big decisions, including whether or not to recast the lead role. Ultimately, Kevin Feige and co. opted not to do so and instead, wrote the fan-favorite hero out of the sequel, which would become Wakanda Forever. This creative choice has been met with a wide array of responses from fans and, as the movie’s release date approaches, Feige has provided an explanation on the company’s decision.
Many were shocked and saddened to learn of Chadwick Boseman’s death, and that’s definitely true for his friends and collaborators at Marvel. Even now, it’s still hard to believe that the Oscar-nominated star is no longer with us. So when discussing his reasoning for not recasting T’Challa, Kevin Feige explained that it would’ve been “too soon” to make such a move. He also explained how the choice aligns with a key belief that the late Stan Lee held:
Some fans have argued that the entertainment company should’ve found a new actor to play the beloved superhero, given his impact. However, based on his sentiments he shared with Empire Magazine, the studio head wanted the sequel’s story to closely mirror reality. As the world continues to deal with the ramifications of Chadwick Boseman’s death, the people of Wakanda (and likely the characters of the wider MCU) will have to reckon with T’Challa’s passing. It’s a bittersweet way to go, but it could result in a movie that’s very personal and possibly resonates with audiences even more than the original 2018 film did.
The cast and crew of Wakanda Forever have been incredibly candid about moving forward without their leading man. The women of the Black Panther franchise have discussed filming without Chadwick Boseman. Lupita Nyong’o called it a “unique” experience that was marked by “a lot of stillness, reflection, prayer and meditation.” Danai Gurira also opened up about having to process her “grief” while working on the movie. At the end of the day though, the stars’ top priority seems to be honoring Boseman. Kevin Feige spoke to that point later in his interview:
I’m hopeful that Kevin Feige, writer/director Ryan Coogler and their colleagues will succeed in delivering an exciting film that also aptly pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman. And I’m also optimistic that whoever takes on the mantle of the panther next will bear the title with grace and pride.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movies, opens in theaters on November 11 as part of this year’s schedule of new movie releases. Those who’d like to check out the first movie can stream it using a Disney+ subscription.
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