Due to the phenomenon that was 2018's Black Panther, a sequel was always going to be a crucial undertaking for Marvel Studios. But the death of Chadwick Boseman put the studio in an impossible position as to whether recast the title character of T'Challa for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In the end, both Marvel Studios and Black Panther writer-director Ryan Coogler chose to incorporate the death of Boseman's T'Challa into the film and explore how the cast and Wakanda learn to carry on.
However, not everyone agrees with the decision.
Not only has Boseman's own family commented on the matter, but others are concerned that T'Challa's stories will never be told on screen.
Out ahead of Black Panther 2's theatrical release, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has explained the reasons behind this difficult decision and how Marvel intends to continue both the actor and the character's legacy.
Why Black Panther 2 Didn't Recast Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa
In an interview with Empire, Marvel President Kevin Feige explained why the studio decided not to recast Chadwick Boseman, saying, "It just felt like it was much too soon to recast:"
“It just felt like it was much too soon to recast. Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story.”
In regard to that story, once Feige and Coogler had settled on what it would entail, they began to focus on how to pay homage to Chadwick Boseman while also continuing "these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas:"
“The conversations were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next?’ And how could the legacy of Chadwick – and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas – continue? That’s what it was all about.”
T'Challa's Role in Black Panther 2
In almost every interview and panel presentation leading up to Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler and the Black Panther 2 cast have referenced Chadwick Boseman and found some way to honor him.
In fact, Shuri's Letitia Wright recently professed that the sequel is a "contribution to Chadwick's legacy" and that she focused "on each scene to dedicate it to him."
So even though Boseman wasn't physically present in the sequel, the November film is still very much about Boseman's T'Challa and continuing what he started.
And, even though T'Challa hasn't been recast, it's no secret that Marvel won't have a new Black Panther by the time the credits roll.
Due to LEGO toy leaks, and Letitia Wright's admission that Coogler discussed her becoming Black Panther long before Wakanda Forever, the Wakandan princess seems to be the most likely candidate.
However, there are theories that Winston Duke's M'Baku or Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia could assume the mantle as well.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how Marvel manages to balance the loss of a title character and his ongoing legacy, along with the rise of a new panther come November 11.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters on Friday, November 11.