Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has opened up about not recasting the role of T’Challa in the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever after Chadwick Boseman’s death.
In an interview with Empire, Feige insisted Boseman needed to be honored, not replaced, in Ryan Coogler’s follow-up film.
“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,” the Marvel Studios boss told Empire.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the character of T’Challa/Black Panther in 1966. After Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020, Marvel and the filmmakers were forced to reconceive Black Panther 2.
“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,” Feige said.
Wakanda Forever is Coogler’s follow-up to his 2018 film that became a cultural touchstone and earned a best picture Oscar nomination. Coogler wrote a sequel for Black Panther star Boseman that pre-dated his untimely death.
So Coogler and Marvel Studios got to work on how to move forward while honoring Boseman’s legacy.
Wakanda Forever stars Lupita Nyong’o, Wright, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba, Bassett and Martin Freeman, as well as Marvel newcomer Tenoch Huerta as Namor and Dominique Thorne as the hero Riri Williams.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to hit theaters on Nov. 11.