Rewind to August 2020, amid the existing struggles of the pandemic, Marvel Studios was placed in its toughest position yet following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. This left fans divided between recasting the actor, replacing T'Challa in the mantle, or ending the Wakandan franchise altogether.
Obviously, Marvel Studios opted to continue the Black Panther franchise without Boseman, with Wakanda Forever now serving as a tribute to the actor's legacy. Part of this process involved passing on the torch of protecting Wakanda to another, which has long been speculated to be Letitia Wright's Shuri.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Now, after the long-awaited opening weekend of Wakanda Forever, the new status quo of the mantle has been revealed. Boseman's T'Challa has tragically died of illness while his sister Shuri has assumed the mantle of Black Panther while Winston Duke's M'Baku takes on the throne.
But that's not quite the entire picture as T'Challa was revealed to have had a son, given the Wakandan name of Prince T'Challa, with Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia. This handling of a difficult situation has led to glowing reactions from most fans, but not everyone is quite happy with Marvel Studios' choices.
'Recast T'Challa' Resurges Amid Black Panther 2 Release
This has led to resistance from supporters of the "Recast T'Challa" movement as the topic has trended on Twitter through November 12 over the opening weekend, implying some fans aren't happy with how Wakanda Forever's plot handled T'Challa's death.
@bronzestruggler questioned the logic behind T'Challa's death, noting the lack of proper explanation for how a man with so many superpowers died:
"Explain to me why a n***a with super strength, speed, durability, sense, and resistance to disease...born in the most technological advance nation in the world...dies? The movie didn't explain it. #SaveTChalla #RecastTChalla."
@justkiira suggested Marvel Studios may be financially benefiting from Chadwick Boseman's passing by using the movie as "an opportunity for [fans] to grieve:"
"#RecastTChalla The MCU should not use the passing of Chadwick Baseman as a plot. A good marketing tactic is to relate to our emotions. The MCU is benefiting financially from our emotions because for some of us going to see the movie is also an opportunity for us to grieve."
The user included an explanation of their take on the "Recast T'Challa" movement, calling for the studio not to use Boseman's death as "a plot device in their fictional storytelling:"
"#RecastT'Challa is NOT calling for an immediate recast.
#RecastT'Challa is NOT preventing anyone else from taking up the mantle of Black Panther.
#RecastT'Challa is asking Marvel Studios NOT to use the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman as a plot device in their fictional storytelling.
#RecastT'Challa is asking for the portrayal of T'Challa to be allowed to continue in the MCU."
@KjStarwalker shared their frustration that one of the few Black superheroes was killed after only one solo outing in the MCU:
"Batman= immortal character
Superman= immortal character
Spiderman= immortal character
We had one black male superhero...and yall killed him after one movie... Nah son...Wakanda not forever.. #RecastTChalla."
The same user called out their anger at using t'Challa as "a tribute...a mere footnote...irrelevant:"
"MCU said...even in our dreams...even in our fantasies...black men cant change our narratives...we cant prevail...we can't be immortalized....we're a tribute...a mere footnote...irrelevant... #WakandaForever #RecastTChalla."
@EsOnEverything noted how T'Challa has now died "2.5 times" - after his fight with Kilmonger in Black Panther, as a victim of the Snap in Infinity War, and now from illness in Wakanda Forever:
"MCU's Black Panther is the FIRST superhero to die more than once in a franchise and have it stick. As a black man, that is insulting. 2.5 times. Halfway in BP, Infinity War, and now Wakanda Forever. Freaking insulting. #RecastTChalla."
@MyWakandanKing referenced the interviews with Boseman's family members which suggested he would have wanted another actor to become Black Panther after him:
"Multiple Boseman family members said Chadwick would’ve wanted to #RecastTChalla. And in interviews, Chadwick himself said he was proud to start a legacy like James Bond, which gets recasted all the time. The truth is the truth even if you disagree. #SaveTChalla #BlackPanther."
The fan added their opinion that Black Panther 2 had a "T’Challa-sized hole" that can only be resolved by recasting the character:
"Look #RecastTChalla is still trending because folks are feeling what we have said all along. We LOVE Shuri and yet #WakandaForever still had a T’Challa-sized hole in it that only #RecastTChalla can fill."
@TerrellAmari compared T'Challa to Superman and stated that the Man of Steel "doesn't die:"
"T'Challa is OUR Superman and Superman doesn't die. Marvel and Disney ABSOLUTELY shit the bed with this one. They could have had THE #1 franchise in the MCU. GUARANTEED every 2-4 years. And they killed him because they were emotional. Bat and Sup live forever #RecastTChalla."
However, not everyone agreed that T'Challa should have been recast. @AnissaDorsey777 shared their opposition to the movement, revealing their happiness to "finally get a black woman as the Black Panther for a while:"
"Can a bitch grieve the loss of Chadwick Boseman and his perfect portrayal of T'Challa and let his body get cold before you #RecastTChalla, damn y'all are cold-hearted. I'm happy to finally get a black woman as the Black Panther for a while. Forever, ever. #BlackPanther."
Responding to that sentiment, @ohwordteo noted how recasts after an actor's death is common and the movement exists to continue the story of T'Challa, not because supporters oppose the thought of a female Black Panther:
"A. Characters are often recasted after the actor passes away. (I can give examples)
B. #RecastTChalla exists because the character has alot of story left to tell. Not because we don’t want a female BP. Stop trying to make this about feminism when its not.
C. You’re an idiot."
@CliffordBatteau posted a thread to offer their thoughts that the movement was "never about respecting Chadwick's wishes," but rather feeding the "ego and entitlement" of certain fans:
#RecastTChalla people are really so desperate that they're bending over backward to defend Ryan Kinel of all people. The movie is out. Move the fuck on before you dig yourselves a bigger hole.
This kind of shows it was never about respecting Chadwick's wishes or wanting to "morally justify" why not recasting was a bad move. This was always about 'You didn't give me what I want. I don't care that a real-life person died, my ego and entitlement deserve to be fed.'
Call me a "shill" or whatever fucking buzzword you want. You lost in this situation. Accept defeat like a fucking adult."
@jacklaridian pointed out Wakanda Forever represents an expression of the grief the cast and crew, who knew Boseman far more than the fans:
"I don't appreciate the rhetoric from the #RecastTChalla group anymore. I tried to see your side, but if you've seen the new movie and still aren't satisfied with how they chose to handle the grieving of someone they knew better than you, then maybe just go write your own story."
Will Fans Warm Up to the MCU's New Black Panther?
No matter what fans may be thinking, Letitia Wright's Shuri is now the MCU's Black Panther, and Marvel Studios will not be recasting T'Challa, at least in the traditional sense. Sure, he may only be six years old, but there is now an incarnation of T'Challa in the MCU, and he is the son of a deceased King and Wakandan hero.
Perhaps he may have a Young Avengers career ahead first, but one day, T'Challa Jr. could be an Avenger himself, leading Wakanda, and protecting his nation. But first, Shuri will almost certainly be holding onto her position for a while, and will likely be playing heavily into The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.
Although, clearly, the Wakandan throne is not in her sights as she was quick to leave the royal duties wide open for M'Baku to assume. And with Western threats having been teased to come after Wakanda Forever, the two will likely have to work closely together to handle their toughest adversary yet.
Nonetheless, those who still want to see Boseman's T'Challa recast in the MCU probably won't be changing their minds anytime soon. At least for now, replacing the actor is clearly not an ambition of Marvel Studios, especially after dedicating an entire sequel to his legacy as an actor and Marvel hero.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is playing now in theaters worldwide.