Ryan Coogler is faced with a difficult dilemma: crafting a script for Black Panther 2. The script needs to honor the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman while still being as awesome as the first one. While there were a lot of awesome things about Black Panther, one of them was undoubtedly Chadwick Boseman. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that we’ll be seeing Boseman’s character, T’Challa, in the sequel. As promised, he isn’t being recast, but seen briefly toward the beginning of the movie.
According to FandomWire, the script now opens with T’Challa in costume. This will include a respectful tribute moment to Chadwick Boseman’s character and work as a sendoff. The finer details of this scene are still being worked on, which isn’t surprising. That scene is going to be crucial for fans to move on and become absorbed in the new story. Is it possible to feel enough resolution that audiences won’t be waiting for Boseman to appear the whole movie? It may help that a lot of the story will be adapted to the loss of his character and the effects on Wakanda. Following this scene, Wakanda will naturally become unbalanced and questions will revolve around the throne. It’s rumored that, after some initial fighting for the throne, Shuri will be the next Black Panther.
How the script is going to handle this in a way that feels right, emotionally, isn’t going to be easy. It would be natural for Coogler to have some doubts about his ability to pull that off. Hopefully that doesn’t slow down his writing speed at all, because producer Kevin Feige has promised the script will manage all this on a production schedule that’s already set. You’ll be able to watch Black Panther 2 on July 8th, 2022.
Immediately following Chadwick Boseman’s passing, recasting options were being publicly discussed. On Disney’s Investor Day, Feige promised that would not happen. He said, “Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic. It transcends any iteration of the character, in any other medium from Marvel’s past. And it’s for that reason, that we will not recast the character. However, to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the King of Wakanda… We want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda, and all its rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.”
Do fans want to see T’Challa briefly in costume? It’s likely audiences will be split no matter what production decides to do. Whether the way they handle it will truly feel right won’t be something we can judge until we see the movie.
Despite the changes to the script to adapt to the loss of Chadwick Boseman, a lot of the original storyline remains, as far as we can tell. Before Boseman passed, there were rumors that the plot involved a new villain, a ruler from another land coming to take control. The story for a while has been that the villain will be Namor from Atlantis. While Namor will be the main antagonist and focus, it’s also been said that Doctor Doom will be the one pulling the strings. This is a popular rumor, with fanart already depicting possibilities for the upcoming story.
Of course, not everyone loves the idea of Namor as the villain. Before Chadwick Boseman passed, rumors that the ruler of Atlantis would be appearing in Black Panther 2 were met with some pushback. YouTuber Grace Randolph outright hated the idea. She called the storyline an Aquaman 2 ripoff. She pointed out that the Aquaman sequel is also scheduled for a 2022 release, pitting the movies against each other. She also pointed out that since DC’s Aquaman already has visual effects experts for the underwater scenes, Marvel’s Black Panther 2 will have to hire their own finds. It’s likely since DC had first choice, they have already found the best people to handle these kinds of difficult special effects.
The underwater scenes were always going to be a challenge for Black Panther 2. They’re certainly something to think about. The proper handling of Chadwick Boseman’s character is a more delicate issue though, and one that many fans may be resistant to. We’ll have to wait to see T’Challa’s sendoff scene to judge whether the team really pulled this off or not. For now, how are you feeling about it? Would you have preferred a recast? Do you think you’ll be able to say goodbye to Boseman at the start of the story and move into the new challenges for Wakanda?