Chadwick Boseman is and will always be Black Panther King T’Challa but after Boseman’s shocking death in August 2020 due to colon cancer, fans wondered if the role would be recast for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While the actor does not appear in the upcoming movie, Wakanda Forever will pay tribute to Boseman, which is hinted in the trailer.
While the trailer does point to some aspects of the movie’s plot and new characters, namely the introduction of antagonist Namor and the debut of hero Ironheart, it largely establishes a mournful tone. Beyond simply advertising a movie, the trailer captures the feeling of great loss following the death of an incredibly talented actor who embodied one of the most compelling on-screen heroes. The audience relates to Nakia’s sadness, to Ramonda’s anger, to Okoye’s resilience because we have responded similarly to Boseman’s death.
In an interview with Empire, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained the decision to not recast T’Challa, at least yet. “It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” he said. “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 [director] Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”
Feige continued, “The conversations were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next?’ And how could the legacy of Chadwick — and what he had done to help Wakanda, and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas — continue? That’s what it was all about.”
Choosing not to recast T’Challa, Wakanda Forever will tackle what does it mean to be a hero as characters struggle to carry on his mission and care for his family. As heard in the speech delivered by Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, carrying on the mantle and leading the country is not an easy task.
While someone wearing the Black Panther suit was teased, it’s not known if this is permanant, temporary or a flashback during the events of the snap.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters on Nov. 11.