Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected death has left the whole world in grief and shock. But more so, the Marvel franchise.
The late actor played the role of King T’Challa of Wakanda, the Black Panther in the MCU. And now with him gone, the mantle of Black Panther is left empty.
When the news broke of his death, many fans expressed their grief. But the one message that rose loud was for the franchise to not cast any other actor to replace Boseman.
Sources have said that Boseman was sure that he would be able to beat his illness and be ready to shoot the next movie in the franchise.
He was planning on getting back to his fitness regime soon and gain back the significant weight loss he had gone through.
Chadwick Boseman was set to start preparing for the role of T’Challa by early September as Black Panther 2 was set to start production early next year for its release in 2022.
But the actor’s sudden death has left quite a void in people’s lives as well as in the MCU.
But the question still remains: Who will be the next Black Panther?
Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Black Panther in itself has become a franchise on its own.
The success of the movie was so massive that the plans for a second movie started as soon as the first was completed.
Now that the franchise is without its leading star, Marvel Studios are trying to figure out how to move forward.
Rumors also indicate that King T’Challa/Black Panther was set to traverse into other MCU movies as well, which means whole storylines now have to be reevaluated.
Still… there are only a few ways that this can go – One, they recast T’Challa, an issue which has already been raised by fans, asking the franchise to refrain from this course of action.
Two, as some fans on social media platforms, have asked that they bring back Michael B. Jordan as Black Panther (who had already played the role of Killmonger in the franchise), which seems highly unlikely.
And Three, have T’Challa’s sister, Princess Shuri take up the mantle of Black Panther.
In the comics too it has happened once – when the character of T’Challa is in a coma, his sister becomes the Black Panther, despite being rejected by the Panther gods.
T’Challa had fallen victim to “The Cabal”, a group of supervillains that included characters like Doctor Doom and Namor.
And now that the Fantastic Four are back into the fold, Marvel has the right to include Doctor Doom in their future plans, regardless of what they end up deciding for the Black Panther franchise.
Letitia Wright, who plays the role of Shuri in Black Panther, is already a fan-favorite in the Marvel world.
And a choice that will most probably be accepted by the audience whole-heartedly.
Putting Letitia at the helm will bring forth the women of Wakanda into more limelight.
The Dora Milaje are already a prominent part of the Wakandan society, but having a female Black Panther might just be the best way to honor Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.
With Boseman gone, the whole script will have to be re-written, and that will inevitably push back the date for production as well as release.
For now, Black Panther 2 is set to release on May 6 of 2022.