Disney needs to honor Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther 2’
When Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away on August 28th, the world mourned one of the most talented actors of his generation. Playing roles like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and of course, his most famous role, T’Challa of Black Panther, Boseman’s influential career has inspired millions.
After Chadwick Boseman’s death, many fans of his character in Black Panther are wondering what Disney & Marvel are going to do. Thankfully, for once, Disney’s plan is more focused on how they can properly honor Chadwick Boseman – and not on how to replace him in Black Panther 2, according to insiders.
Black Panther’s legacy
It’s no secret Chadwick Boseman left a huge hole behind in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther grossed more money in the U.S. than Infinity War, and the titular character became a symbol of hope for black kids, seeing a superhero that looked like them on screen.
Not only did Black Panther offer representation, but also a look at Africa that very few films explore. Many have circulated stories of how Chadwick Boseman fought to keep the Xhosa dialect in Black Panther, and how its costumes were derived from authentic designs from African tribes like the Maasai and the Tuareg. They wanted every part of the movie to represent often overlooked African cultures.
Even after Boseman’s death, his work to bring the magic of Black Panther and character T’Challa to life will live on. But as with most comic book franchises, there’s still a way to honor the leading hero without recasting: passing the mantra.
Same title, different character
Sony just passed the mantra with Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Heck, the MCU just did this with Falcon in Endgame, and are probably doing it with Jane Foster in Thor 4. “Passing the mantra” describes an already established character in a franchise taking over the title of a given superhero. If the MCU doesn’t want to retire Black Panther just yet, they need to pass on his title.
There’s no better character to take over the role from T’Challa than his little sister, Shuri. Played by Letitia Wright, the younger daughter of T’Chaka & Ramonda is just as much of an action hero as her brother. She also embraces technology & development, and has accompanied T’Challa on some of his most dangerous missions.
If Marvel wants to honor Chadwick Boseman properly, Black Panther 2 kills T’Challa off-screen and Shuri not only takes over the crown of Wakanda, but the mantra of the Black Panther. The best part? This actually follows the original Marvel comic books.
Following the comics
In the Black Panther comics, Doctor Doom attacks T’Challa after declines joining the Cabal. Leaving him in a coma, Shuri has no choice but to take over for her brother as the leader of Wakanda, and more importantly, the Black Panther mantra. But it’s no easy journey. When Shuri consumes the heart-shaped herb, the Panther God denies her the powers – because Shuri spent her life jealous of her brother.
But Shuri takes the mantra anyway, and after nearly sacrificing herself for her brother and Wakanda, the Panther God grants her the powers of the Black Panther.
Of course, Doctor Doom has yet to be introduced in the MCU, and T’Challa continues to live on after losing his powers. So this exact storyline cannot be adapted for Black Panther 2. But it’s still proof that Shuri taking over as Black Panther is a relatively canonical approach for Black Panther 2.
Cancelling Black Panther 2?
Another option for Disney and Marvel is simply cancelling the possibility of any future solo Black Panther films, out of respect for Chadwick Boseman. While it’s understandable that Disney wouldn’t want to rewrite the story, some consider it unfair to the black community to shelve the story because of Boseman’s death.
Black Panther tried to be the perfect form of positive representation for the black community; from presenting Africa in a positive light to offering a black superhero for people to root for, there’s plenty to love about Black Panther – which can still continue without Boseman.
Boseman spent his career taking on roles that gave people a black hero to root for. Many believe the best way to honor Boseman’s legacy is to continue with Black Panther without recasting T’Challa. If Disney truly wants to honor Chadwick Boseman, let his character T’Challa also rest in peace – if they ever do move forward with a Black Panther 2.