With the passing of Chadwick Boseman, the entire world is now engulfed by the question what yo do with the movie version of The Black Panther character. The main option, of course, would be to lay to rest the current Black Panther and allow Shuri to take over. Disney could also choose to recast the actor playing Black Panther entirely. One option I haven’t seen thrown around as much would require not only bringing back Michael Jordan as Killmonger and have that character take over as Black Panther.
All of these options have comic book precedents. T’Challa has died In the comics, Shuri has become The Black Panther, and indeed Killmonger has not only died but came back numerous times to become The Black Panther.
There are numerous ways to retell and adapt each of these stories in the movies although they all carry the same risks because at the end of the day, replacing an actor of Boseman’s stature and status is an incredibly difficult task whether moving on in the story from T’Challa or replacing the actor with someone who fails to match the passion and essence for the character that Boseman had.
On a side note there is a large amount of the fandom that wants Namor The Submariner to be the next antagonist for Black Panther, introducing him to the MCU audiences. I mention this because it ties into my ideas on what should come next.
While I do think all of these options are good and could work, I think that one of them would be best for the character and his fans going forward although it is also the one that carries the most risk.
Re-Cast the character.
Chadwick Boseman passed believing he would don the garb of the king of Wakanda again. Sadly fate has chosen otherwise and we lost an actor who did exactly what great actors do in this genre: embody the spirit of the character. That is a rare thing and I admit a part of me wants to retire the role of T’Challa as well.
However. T’Challa was the first. The first “Black” superhero. (We can have the discussion of identity and labels later.) The first all the way, honest to goodness, black superhero in the comics and the first in the movies that wasn’t an anti hero (Spawn), a niche genre hybrid (Blade), or simply a nice guy without the gravitas to inspire the audiences (Meteor Man, Steel).
No, Black Panther is the one whom has inspired adults and kids alike and it’s not just the costume….it’s the character of T’Challa himself. There are simply too many stories to tell that should not be silenced. Too much potential to build on to let it pass.
I make the distinction for a reason as I am also a proponent of Shuri becoming Black Panther at a future point as well. She has a powerful tale to the role that would be fantastic to tell and it does not require T’Challa’s death to do so. In fact as in the books the role of Black Panther is only a stepping stone to an even higher status and greatness. There is an entire world that is waiting to be shared and hard as it is to imagine the role being played by anyone else I simply believe it’s for the best.
Lastly-and in the interest of the next antagonist-I believe it should be the madman Achebe. He could be used to bring back Klaw and Killmonger and tie in other major elements of the world of Wakanda. Much better than Namor who deserves a more logical introduction into the MCU. Give both characters time to world build before a confrontation of epic proportions. Still, casting is the key and we shall what happens next.
Until next time. Give us your thoughts below.