Marvel Wanted A Crazy Number Of Black Panthers Before Chadwick Boseman Died

Shuri was always going to become a Black Panther, but in the original plan for Black Panther 2, she would have teamed up with Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa.

By Danyell Marshall | Published

black panther 2

According to MovieWeb, Emmy-nominated actress, and producer, Letitia Wright recently told the Empire Movie Podcast how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever originally included two Black Panthers working together. The film was meant to follow T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his sister Shuri as they battled side by side, each as the Black Panther. However, before the actor’s tragic death, Boseman was supposed to reprise his character and do more than just fight beside his sister, he was meant to step into his role as a father as well.

Director Ryan Coogler has publicly discussed his original vision for a Black Panther sequel that put the focus of Boseman’s character onto his family life. Coogler said that the film had to address the blip, the moment Thanos snapped his fingers, half of the population was destroyed. Five years later, when the fallen were resurrected, T’Challa’s family and kingdom would have had to navigate his return while he shared his role with his sister, however, the completed story shifted focus after Chadwick Bosman’s battle with cancer and tragic death.

The Black Panther first appeared in the 52nd Fantastic Four issue, published in July 1966, and in 2018 audiences were ready for its screen adaptation. The first Black Panther film grossed over 1 billion dollars and ignited a passionate fan base worldwide. Audiences tired of European and anglicized characters dominating media were hungry for a comic book action film that showcased a different world, with Chadwick Boseman becoming the face of this world.

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda to bring a black protagonist to American comic books. Black Panther predates The Falcon, Luke Cage, Blade, and most other classic comic book black protagonists. In a famously white-washed industry, Black Panther was intentionally pushing boundaries and bringing the wonder of representation in comics to new fans worldwide.

new black panther
Letitia Wright (Shuri), as the new Black Panther in Wakanda Forever

T’Challa and the Black Panther are such legendary characters that any actor would likely be intimidated to take on the iconic role. However, Chadwick Boseman was so popular in the 2018 film that replacing him with a new actor would have been daunting. Thankfully, the studio moved differently, giving Shuri the weight of carrying her brother’s legacy.

This isn’t the first time the character Shuri has taken over for her brother canonically, so the choice to feature her in the second film makes sense. In the comics, when T’Challa is put into a comatose state by Dr. Doom, Shuri takes on the role of Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda. When her brother awoke from his coma, Shuri retained the title and position for some time, establishing a precedent for two Black Panthers to serve side by side.

T’Challa and Shuri are two of a long list of Black Panthers. Mosi, Olumo Bashenga, Nehanda, Chanda (Azzuri), T’Chaka, S’Yan, and Erik Killmonger / N’Jadaka have all held the title in the Marvel Comics Universe. Shuri and T’Challa embodying Bast onscreen side by side would have been a cinematic triumph. Unfortunately, without Chadwick Boseman’s talent, we’ll never know, though Leticia Wright has a significant legacy to carry, but the talented actor and producer is up for the challenge like her late co-star.