The King has fallen in real life, and so too has his character on screen. On Thursday, Disney confirmed that the great Chadwick Boseman will not be recast in the upcoming sequel to Black Panther. It’s still unclear how T’Challa’s absence will be addressed in the film and whether the king of Wakanda will also die in the fictional world, but fans do know that Boseman’s legacy of playing the superhero will remain intact.
News that T’Challa would not be replaced for the upcoming Black Panther II was confirmed on Thursday during Disney Investor Day. Marvel head Kevin Feige spoke about Boseman’s legacy during the presentation and said that he left a role that was impossible to fill. “I wanted to acknowledge the devastating loss of a dear friend and member of the Marvel Studios family,” said Feige. “Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally. His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past.”
Feige continued, confirming that Black Panther II will still move forward with its July 8, 2022 release date, albeit without King T’Challa. “To honor the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the king of Wakanda, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film,” said Feige.
Fan reaction to Feige’s announcement is mixed, with some applauding Disney’s decision to not recast Boseman while others believed the late actor would have wanted the opportunity to go to another Black actor.
In November, Marvel Studios Executive Vice President Victoria Alonso spoke about the possibility of Boseman reprising his role in CGI form and said that it was not something the studio was considering. “There’s only one Chadwick, and he’s not with us,” Alonso told Clarin. “Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to history and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected, so painful, and terrible to be honest. Chadwick wasn’t only a wonderful human being every day of the five years we spent together, but also, I believe, that what he did as a character elevated us as a company, and has left his moment on history.”
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler will return to write and direct the sequel. No information on the script or casting has been revealed at this time.
Last week, Boseman’s fellow Marvel superheroes Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle honoured the late actor during the MTV Greatest of all Time Awards. Boseman was posthumously presented the Hero for the Ages award at the ceremony where his co-stars spoke of his enduring legacy. “Each time he stepped on the set he inspired and influenced everyone there. And with every role he created a new legion of fans,” said Cheadle. “He had an incredible power to unify people in their love for his work, in their respect for him as a person. The way he lived his life united people for a higher purpose, and that will be his legacy.”
Boseman’s death was announced on August 28. The 43-year-old actor had been privately battling colon cancer for four years. Boseman’s final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, will be released on December 25.