Last summer brought the tragic news of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman's unfortunate passing after to a long, private battle with terminal cancer.
The unfortunate event swept the global news, and it left Marvel Studios in a particularly unfortunate position. A Black Panther sequel had already been announced to add onto Boseman's hit 2018 solo film — which is also the highest grossing solo superhero film of all time — leaving Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director Ryan Coogler in a tough spot.
Naturally, there was a wide spectrum of varied opinions across the fandom regarding how Marvel Studios should move forward. Some rooted for a recast to allow the MCU legacy of T'Challa to continue, some were in favor of CGI'ing the character into the film, and others campaigned to cancel the title altogether. The overall consensus seemed to agree it was best to have a new character take up the mantle of the Black Panther and not recast the role of T'Challa.
Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, who played the treacherous M'Kabi in the first Black Panther installment, has offered his thoughts on Marvel Studios decision and the future direction of the franchise.
T'CHALLA'S LEGACY VS BOSEMAN'S LEGACY
In an interview with The Ringer's Higher Learning podcast, Kaluuya offered his opinion on the decision to retire the character from the franchise while continuing to tell stories in the world of Wakanda:
“They retired him from the franchise... I respect that position, and I think that is out of respect for what that man gave to all of us, and what he stayed alive for all of us to experience. Quietly suffering and continuing to give through that suffering is a side of humanity you just don't see often.”
Additionally, the actor went on to give his thoughts on how Marvel should handle the character in the MCU going forward. Kaluuya shared his belief that the studio's priority should be to honor the “legacy of Chadwick Boseman” as opposed to the legacy of the character itself:
“For me, what's important to me is not the Black Panther legacy, it's the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, because that's a human being and a spirit that is real. How can we honor that? Black Panther is going to do what Black Panther does, but that's a man that lived for us. He did it for us, did it for our nephews, our nieces, our kids. It's our duty to honor that man the way he honored us.”
WHERE DOES WAKANDA GO NEXT?
How to handle the passing of Chadwick Boseman has been an incredibly delicate subject for Marvel Studios. Especially as the studio had originally planned for a full trilogy starring the actor. Kevin Feige's comments during the Disney Investor Day confirmed the studio will lay to rest the character of T'Challa while continuing to explore stories of the Black Panther.
This still leaves the question of how the upcoming sequel will handle the absence of T'Challa. The character was last seen standing over Wakanda in the concluding moments of Avengers: Endgame, so the studio has no clear path to explain the hero's departure.
Coogler has recently signed a deal with Marvel and Disney to produce a series set in the kingdom of Wakanda for Disney+, meaning Black Panther 2 isn't the only time we'll be returning to the MCU's Wakanda in the near future. As of now it's unclear who will lead the series; whether the series will follow a new cast or the side characters already introduced.
While there currently isn't a clear path for the franchise's future, Marvel Studios have proven their ability to handle tough situations in the past, so Feige is sure to come up with a solution to satisfy fans.
Boseman's final appearance as the Black Panther will release later this year on Disney+ in the What If animated series in which T'Challa will take up the mantle of Star-Lord.