Black Panther was one of the biggest movies to come out of the MCU. Grossing over a billion dollars worldwide and catapulting the once-obscure character of the Black Panther to international fame, it was one of Disney’s biggest blockbusters of the 2018 year despite coming out in the poorly-performing month of February. Even more than its success as a movie, though, was its impact on culture. Much of this can be tied back to actor Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of King T’Challa in the lead role. After his tragic death in 2020, however, questions about what will happen to Black Panther and the upcoming film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have been constant.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is the sequel to ‘Black Panther’
In Black Panther, the story picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Following the death of his father, T’Challa must take the throne of Wakanda and officially become its protector, the Black Panther. Things grow more complicated when T’Challa’s long lost cousin, Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), appears in the country and challenges him for the crown. During their battle, T’Challa eventually comes to see the merit in Erik’s anger at the marginalization people like them experience around the world, even if he disagrees with his quest for revenge. Though Erik ultimately appears to die at the end of the film, his message is heard, with Wakanda revealing its full might to the world and offering to help disadvantaged people from all over.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the long-awaited sequel to the original film. Planning to premier in 2022, fans eagerly await a return to Wakanda even if virtually no details about the story have been released yet.
Chadwick Boseman died in 2020
Unbeknownst to the public, Chadwick Boseman had been secretly battling colon cancer since 2016. For four years, he continued to act in movies without anyone finding out until his death on August 28, 2020. The news came as a shock to everyone, co-stars included, who had never found out about his secret.
In the wake of his death, condolences for his friends and family came in from all across the world, from Marvel cast mates to Major League Baseball teams to actors like Anthony Hopkins and more. Even the tweet announcing his passing accrued the most likes in history within a day.
No one knows how the new film will handle the character of Black Panther
Preliminary information released by Disney and collected by US Magazine have shed a little light on how the new film is going to handle the character of Black Panther himself. According to what we know so far, there are no plans to recast T’Challa or try to digitally recreate Boseman’s image for the new movie. It’s possible that the character won’t even appear at all, as the movie is meant to explore the people and culture of Wakanda outside of the Black Panther dynasty seen in the first film. Additionally, any other appearances by the character in future properties would have to be done by someone else, as Boseman’s final performance as the king was in the second episode of the Disney Plus series What If…?
In regards to Chadwick Boseman’s absence and whether or not a sequel should be made in the first place, many of the people involved in the film feel that this is what the actor would have wanted. Both director Ryan Coogler and actress Lupita Nyong’o believe that Boseman would want them to continue production on this movie. “He was somebody who was so about the collective,” Coogler said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Beyond that, though, no one (cast included) seems to have an answer as to how Boseman will be handled within the film itself, though comments from people like Kevin Feige have implied they’re planning to honor him with more than just a dedication in the end credits.
In many ways, Black Panther was more than a film; it was a cultural phenomenon. Even beyond its multiple awards and record-breaking returns, it holds a special place in history as the first Black-led superhero film of this magnitude. It’s hard to overstate just how much seeing a character like Black Panther on the big screen meant to some audiences, so Boseman’s tragic death hurt all the more. However the character is handled in the future,