It has been over a year since Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death. The young actor was famous for his portrayal of T’Challa in Black Panther as well as additional Marvel films. Boseman’s death came as a shock to many. Co-stars and fans alike mourned the passing of the actor who gave life to an iconic character (via People). Black Panther was a role model for many, as Boseman’s brother Derrick states in a recent TMZ article. What is most important is making sure that the character is honored, but also remains a touchstone for those who have looked up to him.
This is so important, Derrick Boseman states, that Marvel should recast the role at this point. Losing T’Challa as a role model for young people would be a mistake. Derrick Boseman is sure that Chadwick Boseman would want the role recast instead of slating a different character into the Black Panther production.
Some may be inclined to agree with recasting Chadwick Boseman’s role. The Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever has had a myriad of controversies. The main issue with filming currently is the injury that Letitia Wright sustained on set which impacted filming of Wakanda Forever. Wright portrays T’Challa’s scientifically-minded sister Shuri. Many have been theorizing that she was in line to take up the mantle of Black Panther. She was an obvious choice but in light of the injury, filming has been postponed to 2022 (via The Hollywood Reporter).
There have been many rumors swirling around about Wright’s personal beliefs. While there is no confirmation of how this will impact the future of the character, Wright has been vocal about being anti-vaccination. There has been a history of actors being let go from their roles for controversial opinions. Gina Carano most notably was let go from her role as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian for comparing herself to victims of the Holocaust. Wright is still set to be in Wakanda Forever as fan favorite character Shuri. But that has not stopped fans from speculating about the fate of Chadwick Boseman’s character.
The belief is so strong that there was a recent petition circulating the internet to recast T’Challa. The petition supported the notion that it would honor the character as well as Chadwick Boseman to make sure the character continued. “As the first Black superhero in mainstream comics and the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), T’Challa is literally Black history. He was created in 1966, during the Civil Rights era, to be the embodiment of positive Black representation,” cited the petition (via MovieWeb). Not only was T’Challa a positive Black male character, but he was significant as he demonstrated Black men and women supporting each other in the comics.
Many fans have vocalized the request to cast another actor in Chadwick Boseman’s place. In one article for The Wrap, Emmanuel Noisette comments that there are many characters that have done this in the past. Characters like Batman and James Bond have a history of different actors portraying them. Marvel should treat this situation no different. It would mean more to the Black community to keep T’Challa alive. Marvel feels as though they are being respectful of Chadwick Boseman. They feel as though recasting the role so early would disparage his memory. But as many fans and additional outlets have said, the best way to honor the actor is to honor T’Challa. More information may be to come when production resumes in 2022.