‘Panther’ tribute was better than recasting roll of T’Challa

Gage Martinez, Editorialist

With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever being released to Disney Plus this month, we can now talk about the decision Marvel made to write Chadwick Boseman’s performance as T’challa out of the current story.  They attempted to do this to honor and make the film a tribute to the late actor. This was honestly probably the best thing that they could have done due to Boseman’s very unfortunate and untimely passing. However, the decision resulted in  #RecastTchalla trending on social media outlets.  How could people have such outrage if the film was made in dedication to Boseman?

One of the reasons that people are upset is the way they represented the death of the actor in the movie, seeing it as more of a business decision than an actual tribute. This is due to the fact that they made the death of T’Challa as close as they could to Boseman’s actual death (where he kept his cancer secret to a select few), as he died of an “Unknown Disease,” and didn’t let him die in a heroic way like many know the character would have.  Instead,  Marvel made viewers feel the same feeling they had as the moment they heard of Boseman’s passing on the news. People feel as though Marvel made this decision to get viewers more emotionally attached to the film, and feel more strongly about it as they watched, and when all this put together feels really crummy.

A second reason Marvel fans are frustrated is that dedicated fans know that Boseman himself would have wanted T’Challa to be recast, as his family, more notably his brother Derrick Boseman, would reveal this in interviews. Derrick stated that Chadwick, “Knew the power of the character and the positive influence it carries.” 

One last reason to why Marvel’s final decision to not recast T’Challa is mixed is because Shuri, who is played by Letitia Wright, took over the mantle as the Black Panther and protector of Wakanda.  Though this happened in the comics, it had happened very briefly as T’Challa was recovering and had Shuri take over as the Black Panther in the meantime. Many believe that the move to have Shuri become the Black Panther in the film, was because Marvel saw as a perfect opportunity to make the Black Panther a female role model, and some felt this was a feminist influenced move.  

Even with these negatives, there are good reasons as to why this WAS still the best decision in the end. One being that Kevin Feigi, the president of Marvel Studios,  stated “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.” This was shown and felt in the story, as the legacy of Boseman was present throughout the entire film.

Another reason as to why they chose not to recast, is because it’s only going to be a temporary move for the MCU, as later on as the story continues progresses, they’ll have a different T’Challa to follow in the Black Panther trilogy. This theory is believed by Winston Duke, who plays as M’Baku throughout the trilogy. He stated, “There’s no way they’ll never remake Black Panther in the future.” Duke had told interviewers, also stating that anything is possible in the Marvel world, with all of the multiversal stuff they are doing with their movies. He had also said “There’s no way that the saga and interpretation of T’Challa, King of Wakanda, will end. He is canon. So trust that it’ll come. But allow this to be a human experience.”

Adding to this belief, during the end credit scene of the film, it is revealed that T’Challa’s love interest, Nakia had a child with the character, revealing his name to be Prince T’Challa, named after his father. He could possibly  be the new T’Challa to lead the Black Panther franchise later on into the story once he starts to grow into his role.

I believe that Marvel was stuck between a rock and a hard place with this decision, but I think the way they’re handling it is probably the best way to go about it. I think it’s an almost certainty that Marvel is going to not recast Boseman’s T’Challa, but instead create a new one for us to follow, to preserve his legacy but to also have a main character we can follow in the future.