Following the tragic death of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020, Marvel fans were curious how the death of its leading man would impact plans for a second Black Panther movie. Now, with the release of that movie just weeks away, the question has been partially answered, with trailers revealing that T’Challa himself is now dead in the MCU.
That revelation has prompted further questions from fans, however, especially given that Marvel hasn’t shied away from recasting a role in the past; both James Rhodes and Bruce Banner changed actors after their first appearances. (Terrence Howard and Edward Norton became Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo, respectively.) So… why not follow a similar route with T’Challa, given that the entire Black Panther movie series is named after his character? A new interview with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige gives some insight into the reason, and it’s surprisingly respectful.
“It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” Feige told Empire magazine. “Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story.”
Feige shareds that the real-world repercussions of Boseman’s death feed into what Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is: “The conversations [between director Ryan Coogler and other people working on the movie] were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next?’ And how could the legacy of Chadwick – and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas – continue? That’s what it was all about.”
Audiences will get to see exactly what that means — and how the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves on from the loss of T’Challa — in little over a month; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released in theaters November 11.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now available for streaming on Disney+.