Why T'Challa Wasn't Recast In Black Panther 2

Shortly after the unexpected passing of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020 due to a four-year battle with colon cancer, Kevin Feige revealed that they would not recast T'Challa for the upcoming Phase Four finale "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." At the time, the Marvel Studios President said that the decision not to recast was made "to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the king of Wakanda." This has been a hot-button issue ever since, but after the first trailer dropped, fans couldn't help but be curious about Ryan Coogler's picturesque film about carrying on in the face of insurmountable odds.

Still, no matter how gorgeous the movie looks, many out there still feel like T'Challa is an important character that has a part to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not only narratively, but culturally as well. So to take him off the board entirely was quite the bold move on Marvel's part and Feige has recently elaborated on the decision that none of the people involved took lightly.

In Memoriam

In the latest issue of Empire, the magazine contains a cover feature about the highly anticipated follow-up to Coogler's groundbreaking 2018 feature. While talking about the controversial call not to recast Boseman's part for the sequel, Feige shared that they took a page out of Marvel Comics' patented playbook, which was mostly written by The Man himself, Stan Lee. He explains:

"It just felt like it was much too soon to recast. Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there's a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story."

Despite the studio recasting the roles of Rhodey, Bruce Banner, Red Skull, Fandral the Dashing, and Cassie Lang at various points in the Sacred Timeline, none of those moves were made because of the performer's tragic passing. Boseman's death simply hit differently, and it's absolutely fair to say that it was too soon to recast his Black Panther so soon after his passing. But as the #RecastTChalla Movement says in their widespread petition, "the number 1 way to kill a legend is to stop telling their story." In other words, the history and positive representation embodied by the character of T'Challa are too important to be excluded from the MCU.

Wakanda Forever

There are two important things to note about Feige's latest comments. First, "too soon to recast" sounds like they could be open to the possibility further down the line between now and "Avengers: Secret Wars." But how do you do that if "Wakanda Forever" is specifically about King T'Challa's death? 

Well, that's where the second important thing comes in. The story that's currently being told is called the Multiverse Saga. As we saw in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Loki," our variants in the multiverse don't have to look the same. While this movie tells the story of the loss of Boseman's T'Challa, who's to say that another actor's version of the character can't make his way to Earth-616 (or Earth-199999) and lead the proud African nation from that point forward? Because of the multiverse, that's a perfectly reasonable thing that could happen. Plus, this way still honors Boseman's contributions while another T'Challa takes up the mantle of the Black Panther.

No matter how it all goes down in the history books, the road starts when "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" hits theaters on November 11, 2022.