Black Panther Recast Controversy Addressed by M’Baku’s Winston Duke

Wakanda Forever Black Panther Winston Duke
By Klein Felt Posted:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is nearly here and fans will finally get answers to some pretty pressing MCU questions. Paramount of those in the lead-up to the sequel has been how Marvel Studios will deal with the passing of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman

While now it is known that another character will take over the Black Panther mantle from Boseman's T'Challa, that was not always the assumed strategy that Marvel would take. 

For a while, some believed that the best plan of action for the franchise was to recast the role. However, Marvel has made it very clear that "It just felt like it was much too soon" to bring in another actor to portray the character. 

Wakanda Forever's stars have also been vocal on the subject of a potential recast, with many saying now is not the time. 

Winston Duke on a T'Challa Recast

Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther
Marvel

Speaking on the "Jemele Hill is Unbothered" podcast (via ComicBook), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actor Winston Duke broke down his thoughts on the idea of Marvel Studios recasting T'Challa after the passing of Chadwick Boseman. 

Duke said that T'Challa "is Chadwick’s role," noting that "Black Panther was heavily defined by the actor that did it:"

“I think for this iteration of Black Panther, it’s very hard for me to really comment on something like that. Because, I’m of the mind that this is Chadwick’s role. Chadwick created this and 'Black Panther' wouldn’t be the same without Chadwick Boseman, who stood for the things that he stood for. When you cast a person, you’re also casting their experiences, you’re casting their politics, you’re casting their all of these thing. 'Black Panther' was heavily defined by the actor that did it, in my opinion."

The M'Baku actor did keep the door open to the idea down the line though, making mention of "multiple dimensions" and "possible reimaginations" being toyed around with in the MCU. He remarked on the "level of trust that [audiences] should all have for a comic book world" alluding to the idea of a different version of T'Challa hitting the screen some time down the line:

"So, I feel, as-is, the decision that’s been made to keep T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is one that has a lot of nobility in it. But you also have to… there’s a level of trust that I think we should all have for a comic book world. (laughs) For a comic book world that has multiple dimensions and parallel dimensions and multiple stories and possible futures and possible reimaginations in the past. Just, multiple universes that they’re actually experimenting with. So I feel, my level of trust is that the medium can support a diversity of interpretations that can actually make us all happy.”

Should T'Challa be Recast?

At least for now, Chadwick Boseman will remain the only version of T'Challa in the MCU. As Winston Duke alluded to though, in the quotes above, that may not always be the case. 

The MCU is a Multiversal franchise now, literally anything is possible. While right now, it may be the smart decision to let T'Challa be Boseman's and Boseman's alone, somewhere down the line, that could very well change. 

Boseman himself may have actually wanted the franchise to move on to another version of the character. His brother has been vocal that the actor would have wanted the role recast. 

But, at least for now, Chadwick Boseman will remain the only T'Challa in the MCU. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11.