‘Black Panther’ Should and Could Continue With Shuri

Black Panther was one of the best-received films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was visually stunning, well-acted, and well-written. Part of the film’s charm was Chadwick Boseman, who died in August of 2020. But that hasn’t stopped Marvel from moving the franchise forward.

While fans mourn Boseman, they want to see one of their favorite franchises continue. So how will Marvel do it? Marvel should, and could, keep the series going with the character of Shuri as the Black Panther. 

The ‘Black Panther’ franchise is one of the biggest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Letitia Wright that played Shuri in 'Black Panther' wearing a pink tweed jacket with ping fringe in front of a white background.
Letitia Wright that played Shuri in ‘Black Panther’ | Getty Images

The first Black Panther film was revolutionary. It was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film centered around a Black lead actor. It told the story of T’Challa, king of Wakanda after he was introduced in Captain America: Civil War. The film focused on the battle between T’Challa and Erik Killmonger as Killmonger attempted to usurp control of Wakanda. 

Black Panther showed up again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Throughout the entire series, he’s been played by Boseman before he died.

Boseman’s death left a colossal hole with family and friends that could never be filled. The world lost an incredibly talented actor who made legions of fans with countless great performances. Marvel also had to address the issue of what they’d do with one of their most prominent characters going forward. 

Why it’s time for Shuri to take over the mantle of Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Kevin Feige is the executive producer who controls the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you ask Feige, the character of T’Challa will rest along with Boseman. According to USA Today, Feige said that Marvel would not recast the role. 

“Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives. His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past. It’s for that reason we will not recast the character.”

It’s a respectful approach to a difficult situation. While there are much more important reasons to mourn the loss of Boseman than his inability to continue playing a character, the part of T’Challa meant a lot to many people. It’s sad for them that they won’t get to see this gifted performer play the role ever again. 

Marvel’s decision not to recast is a fitting one, as it pays tribute to the man by stating that he is essentially irreplaceable. 

While T’Challa may not be appearing ever again, that doesn’t mean the franchise will end. According to Variety, Marvel has plans for a sequel entitled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is currently filming under the expert eye of director Ryan Coogler. 

So how will Marvel and Coogler deal with this epic loss? One way they could do it is by inserting Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright, into the role of Black Panther. She would be the first Black woman in a lead role in a Marvel film, and she’s already popular with fans. It’s time for Feige to make this happen. 

The future of ‘Black Panther’

It’s difficult to predict what direction Coogler will take the franchise from here, but there are a few things you can reasonably expect. The next film will be deferential and reverential to both Boseman and the character of T’Challa It will likely be entertaining. Coogler is a successful director who has yet to helm a flop. Shuri will play a major role. 

It’s not known if Shuri will actually be assuming the mask and mantle of the Black Panther, but she’s as good a character as any to take the reins. While there are certainly other characters Marvel could give the suit to; none earned it as Shuri did. 

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