Lupita Nyong'o Defends Marvel's Decision Not To Recast Chadwick Boseman's Role For Black Panther 2

The death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 was a tragedy in all aspects. He was only 43 years old. He was not only a fantastically talented actor but an extremely kind soul as well. It feels callous to discuss the continuation of a superhero movie franchise in the wake of a man's untimely death, but the gears of corporate profit must continue to turn, and the "Black Panther" movies must go on.

Boseman's death left a massive hole at the center of one of Marvel's most successful movies, as well as in the future plans for their massive web of sequels and crossovers. Marvel quickly decided that the role would not be recast with another actor, leaving a huge question mark in the franchise's future.

When Boseman died, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" was already in production, with the first film's director, Ryan Coogler, already having a script in mind for the sequel. "The script we wrote before Chadwick passed was very much rooted in T'Challa's perspective," Coogler said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into his psyche and situation."

Without Boseman's T'Challa to anchor the movie, that script obviously could not happen. Production went on, however, and "Wakanda Forever" would have to adapt. This meant increased roles for Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright, as the new trailer shows. In the THR piece, Nyong'o defended Marvel's decision not to recast the role of T'Challa for the sequel, which hits theaters November 11.

Continuing the legacy

More than any other Marvel movie, "Black Panther" meant a lot to audiences. It was the first Marvel movie headed up by a Black hero, and its mostly Black cast set an entirely new standard for representation in superhero movies. To many young Black kids, T'Challa was the sort of on-screen role model they'd never had before.

This is another especially tragic aspect of Boseman's death. He was a role model to many, a hero on and off the silver screen. With him gone, many kids have lost their favorite Avenger, and the Avengers movie lost a character who was going to play a huge role going forward.

Marvel's decision not to recast the role is a relieving one, as any attempt to recapture the organic magic of Boseman's performance would have seemed like a cheap imitation, all about recovering the studios' lost money. Nyong'o feels the same way in The Hollywood Reporter interview.

"That is not the death of the Black Panther, that's the whole point. It's laying to rest [T'Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don't have the patience. I don't have the presence of mind, or I don't have the objectivity to argue with that. I don't. I'm very biased."

So while the absence of Boseman in the movie and on set would certainly be felt, I do believe it's right to keep the franchise going. Not because of its impact on the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but because of what it means to so many Black kids and adults out there who finally have superheroes that look like them.