Marvel Originally Wanted Two Black Panthers In Wakanda Forever?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was at one point intended to have both Shuri and T'Challa as Black Panther.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

marvel black panther 2 mutant

After Marvel’s Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died following a long battle with colon cancer, the question immediately turned to how any upcoming sequels would deal with the star’s death. Eventually, we learned that his character’s sister, Shuri, would take over the role in Wakanda Forever — mirroring the plot of the comic books. However, a new episode of Empire Podcast has revealed that Shuri was always going to don the iconic costume. In an interview with actress Letitia Wright, we find out that Marvel Studios planned on having both Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright take on the role of the Black Panther at the same time, effectively making there two Black Panthers in the MCU.

“Shuri was always gonna do it,” Wright told Empire. “But it was gonna be done in a different way where her brother was gonna be alongside her, really explore that, like the comic books, the ways that T’Challa and Shuri would be Black Panther alongside each other and try to figure out how to defend their nation.”

With the death of Boseman, Marvel was left with only one person to fill the role of Black Panther. While it became an outstanding opportunity for Letitia Wright, making her the first black woman to lead a superhero film, the circumstances surrounding this accomplishment meant that Wright was in low spirits when she accepted the role.

“I knew the responsibility. I knew the weight of it. But it was just bittersweet, something I struggled with a lot,” said Wright.

chadwick boseman black panther 2
Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected death shocked fans of Marvel films and inspired Disney to change the intro for the original Black Panther movie into a tribute to the actor. This feeling of reverence towards Boseman continues in Marvel’s latest Black Panther film. Wakanda Forever opens with the news that Boseman’s character, T’Challa, has died despite Shuri’s best efforts to save him. The film continues with a touching tribute to Boseman’s character, which reportedly caused audiences to fall completely silent out of respect. The movie was highly praised for its poignant and emotional content, with Giant Freakin Robot’s own reviewer stating that it might be Marvel’s best movie

Aside from Shuri taking up the role, fans also thought that Marvel might digitally recreate Chadwick Boseman for future Black Panther films. After all, Disney had digitally recreated Peter Cushing in Rogue One and chose to replace Carrie Fisher with a digital duplicate in The Rise of Skywalker after her unexpected death. However, the crew of Wakanda Forever reportedly never even considered creating a digital replacement for the late actor. In fact, the idea was considered so inappropriate that they never even had a conversation about the possibility. 

Meanwhile, the question remains about whether the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to use Letitia Wright for the Black Panther role. While there is no official statement about whether she’ll reprise the role, she reportedly was injured on the set of Wakanda Forever, and she has previously come out against Disney’s mandatory vaccination policy. Inside sources have told Giant Freakin Robot that she does not want to return to the MCU.

Even if she chooses not to appear in Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther films, Letitia Wright likely has a promising film career ahead of her. This year alone, she has appeared in The Silent TwinsAishaDeath on the Nile along with Wakanda Forever. She’s also scheduled to star in the upcoming western film Surrounded, playing a Buffalo Soldier who is ambushed while traveling to stake a mining claim. Anthony Mandler, who created the 2018 legal drama Monster, is set to direct the film.