On Friday, Aug. 28, actor Chadwick Boseman passed away after his long battle with colon cancer. This came as a shock to the world, as he never publicly announced it, choosing instead to keep the news to himself and his family. Boseman played the titular role of Black Panther in Marvel’s popular film. The movie is so popular that it is on the list of “Top ten highest-grossing movies of all time,” making over $1.3 billion in worldwide box offices.
Black Panther came out in 2018, and Marvel quickly announced their plans to create a second film after the original’s success. The sequel is currently set for a release date in 2022; however, with COVID-19 being so unpredictable, the filming times could quickly shift. While the world mourns the loss of a legend, most can’t help but wonder what this sequel would look like without him, and if it will even still happen. An article by Forbes mentions that Marvel almost always has a backup plan for their casting, writing, “One of the benefits of Marvel’s commitment to large supporting casts of heroes and helpers is that almost every marquee character has a potential sub waiting in the wings.” This would mean that there is most likely a backup plan already in store for Boseman. Of course, these circumstances are very different and much more serious than an actor simply backing out of a contract.
Fans were quick to make it clear they do not want the role of Black Panther to be recast. To honor Boseman’s legacy, many wish for Marvel to create an alternate storyline for which a new Black Panther character would be named. Some ideas for this include making someone else in the series’ original cast or doing the same for a hero already in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some fans have mentioned wanting to see Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, to step up and become the newly named hero in the upcoming film. Shuri remains a fan favorite, being the teen Girl Boss that many fans see her portray. Before Boseman’s passing, many were speculating she would become the next Black Panther at some point in MCU’s timeline. While Boseman’s death came unexpectedly to most of the world, Marvel has dealt with deaths before and they always find a way to move forward.
After the death of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, the franchise has kept honoring his legacy by continuing to include a nod to him in each film. Lee had a cameo in every Marvel film that had been filmed up until his death. It is expected that Marvel will continue to find ways to honor Lee without his iconic cameos. There has been no confirmation of what will happen with the upcoming Black Panther sequel, but if Disney does move forward with production, there is no doubt they would make it nothing short of a special tribute to the late actor.
The original Black Panther is available for streaming on Disney+.