Black Panther star Winston Duke believes Marvel Studios will eventually recast the role of T'Challa.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Winston Duke believes Marvel Studios will choose another actor to play the original T’Challa character in the MCU, in spite of the character passing away after the untimely death of actor Chadwick Boseman. In an interview with Esquire, Duke, who played M’Baku in both Black Panther films, thinks the character of T’Challa is too iconic, and will be recast in a future Marvel film, despite the events in the recently-released sequel.
“There’s no way they’ll never remake Black Panther in the future,” Duke said. “There’s no way that the saga and interpretation of T’Challa, King of Wakanda, will end. He is canon. So trust that it’ll come.”
Warning: Spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follow.
Marvel Studios’ decision to retire the character rather than recast gave everyone the chance to mourn and honor Boseman with the events of Wakanda Forever. However, many fans felt Marvel should have found a different way to honor Chadwick and recast the character, who had become one of the cornerstones of the MCU after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
The decision to have T’Challa die in the MCU as well did not come lightly. It required writer/director Ryan Coogler to completely rewrite the already-completed Black Panther 2 script.
Those who support the “Recast T’Challa” movement point to the wishes of Chadwick Boseman himself and his family. Chadwick’s brother Derrick stated that he wanted the character to live on beyond him, and felt that having T’Challa in the MCU as a role model and an inspiration was bigger than him or any other actor. Those calls intensified even after the sequel was released, which revealed that Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) has a son with T’Challa, also named T’Challa, who will carry on his father’s legacy at some point.
If social media is any indicator, however, it seems the “Recast T’Challa” movement is none too popular with most Marvel fans, who feel the tragedy of Boseman’s passing from cancer called for the character to be retired. Most of those fans feel Chadwick embodied the character so perfectly, and was such an ambassador and role model for T’Challa off-screen, that having someone else play him would be a disservice to his memory.
Winston Duke had previously speculated as to how T’Challa could return to the MCU, and it’s exactly how many fans feel it could happen without dishonoring Boseman’s memory: through the Multiverse. Another actor playing a T’Challa from another universe could theoretically crossover to join the prime MCU. Given Marvel’s plans for Phases Five and Six of the MCU, however, this attempt at a “soft” reboot would not happen anytime soon, although a third Black Panther could be added to the release slate at any time.
Given the positive reaction to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s doubtful Marvel would take this step any time soon, which would be highly criticized as a money grab to capitalize on the popularity of the character and Boseman’s passing.
To date, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has grossed over $205 million domestically, and over $355 million worldwide. It currently rates at 84% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and 95% among moviegoers.