Yesterday ( August 28th ) Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman ( aged 43 ) passed away due to a four year long battle against cancer. He first started acting in 2003, landing a role in an episode of Law and Order just a year later. His career first exploded when he played T’Challa/ Black Panther in the 2016 MCU film ‘Captain America: Civil War’ as a supporting character. He proceeded to play the Monarch superhero in an additional three films. Most notably in 2018’s Black Panther. In fact, an untitled Black Panther sequel was planned for 2022, the decision having been made before Infinity War even came out. Due to the passing of it’s main actor, is highly unlikely to happen anymore. Or is it?
Throughout the history of cinema and TV alike, there have been many instances of actors getting replaced. Whether due to scheduling conflicts, studio conflicts, or like in this circumstance an actor dying. A few examples have in fact already happened within the MCU; Edward Norton, replaced with Mark Ruffalo ( Bruce Banner/ Hulk ) and Terrence Howard, replaced with Don Cheadle ( James Rhodes/ War Machine ) and Hugo Weaving being replaced with Ross Marquand ( Red Skull ). So even in the MCU, replacing Chadwick wouldn’t be the first MCU actor to be replaced.
However, one big question remains. What would Chadwick have wanted? The moral debate. The fans seem clear they do NOT wish for Chadwick to be recasted. Another aspect is, that unlike Norton, Howard and Weaving who left after just one film each, Chadwick has been in a total of four. All within the more recent MCU movies. As far as we know, filming also hasn’t already started, let alone finished. A common thing in the movie business. David Carradine for example, who died in 2009, is still having some of his movies released to this day. Though this doesn’t seem to be the case. If it were, Bob Iger, or one of his costars or someone else Marvel or Disney related would most likely have already confirmed so.
Personally, I think it would be best to find a fitting way to have Black Panther ‘go away’ offscreen in the MCU. Maybe he retired? Maybe like his real life counterpart, he got sick somehow? If however, they do decide to recast him, which I honestly don’t think they will, it will upset a great portion of fans. Many yes, would be on board, but it’s those large percentages that can make the difference between a movie being as sucessful as Black Panther was, or flopping worse than the Playmobil movie. It’s not exactly an unknown or even secret fact that movie studios need to make money to keep making more movies, as stated earlier, it won’t likely happen. Maybe someday down the line they’ll start a new multiverse with a standalone Black Panther franchise with an all new actor. Who knows.
Chadwick Boseman, you will be missed. Rest in Peace.
Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons. Photo belongs to Gage Skidmore