‘Black Panther’: MCU Fans ‘Nervous’ About a Sequel Without Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman’s death sent shockwaves through the entertainment world. While we now know that the Black Panther star’s health problems predated several of his later projects, the shocking nature of his death made his work in the MCU more powerful.
However, just because Boseman is gone, it doesn’t mean T’Challa has to disappear forever.
Feige on the T’Challa-less ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Kevin Feige spoke about the task in front of them. Black Panther wasn’t just another Marvel movie. It was the first superhero movie of that magnitude to feature a primarily Black cast with a Black crew behind the camera, too.
As such, T’Challa’s ceremonial place inside the MCU has spilled out into the real world. Now, Black children have an MCU superhero who they can look up to and show their kids one day.
However, Black Panther predates Boseman, the MCU, and all the recent fanfare that came with it. Looking onward, Feige sees an opportunity to pay tribute while embracing the timeless nature of the source material.
“So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda,” Feige told Deadline in an interview. “Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story. We’re not going to have a CG Chadwick, and we’re not recasting T’Challa,”
This decision is a relief to many fans of the franchise, but everyone from fans to filmmakers seems to know the unique challenges of the job ahead of them.
Black Panther 2 will be a heavy burden to the people that have to create a believable story that moves the MCU onward while keeping Boseman’s legacy alive. It’s a burden that the makers do not take lightly, and rather than making them try to work around it, they are letting it be the motivation for everything going forward.
If anything, the decision not to recast T’Challa is letting the creators behind the project shine. One look at IMDB shows why Ryan Coogler was already one of the most heavily sought-after directors in the industry when he signed on to do the first one.
Now, with real-life tragedy affecting the on-screen universe, Coogler, Feige, and the rest of the crew want to ensure that they not only make the best possible movie but pay a fitting tribute to the late Boseman.
“Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well.”
Despite this, some fans are still nervous.
Why are fans still nervous?
Boseman’s fingerprint on the MCU goes beyond his performance. He helped make T’Challa the three-dimensional force he is today. As such, fans on Reddit are nervous about trying to continue the franchise without him, harkening back to a recent posthumous release’s failures to do so.
“I’m still worried, though. I’m not sure I’ve seen a movie adequately pivot around an actor’s death. Maybe I’m just triggered by Rise of Skywalker, but I’m still very nervous losing Chadwick is going to negatively affect the narrative too much,” one user wrote.
It’s a fair point. The Rise of Skywalker was, to many, a disappointing conclusion to a franchise that has taken over the cultural lexicon for nearly fifty years. As the late Carrie Fisher’s final on-screen appearance, many, like That Hashtag Show, saw Princess Leia’s death not as a touching tribute, but something between exploitative and downright lazy.
There are some differences, however. As far as anyone knows, Boseman’s likeness will not be artificially recreated in the Black Panther sequel. While Fisher’s death put a wrench in a more linear saga, Black Panther has decades of comics that can help ease the burden of sending the late Oscar-nominee off respectfully.
Until the movie comes out in 2022, however, concerns about its handling are fair. Hollywood has a history of both playing beautiful tribute to fallen actors and exploiting them for entertainment purposes.
Knowing the societal impact Black Panther had on people, Disney, Marvel, Coogler, Feige, and the rest of the crew have a long task ahead of them. Luckily, they appear to be on the right path moving forward.