Chadwick Boseman’s character T’Challa will not be recast in the upcoming Black Panther sequel, with Marvel president Kevin Feige calling the actor’s performance in the superhero flick too “iconic” to be replaced.
In August, it was announced that the actor, who was only 43 years old, had died following a four-year battle with colon cancer, which he was said to have kept a secret from his colleagues, who were completely stunned by his passing.
The script for Black Panther 2 was already said to have been in development, but after Boseman’s death, Marvel is said to have placed the project on an indefinite hiatus until screenwriters had a clear idea of how they were going to tackle the tragedy in the upcoming motion picture.
During Disney’s Investor Day summit on Thursday, December 10, Feige expressed his sadness over Boseman’s death in a candid conversation, before confirming that Marvel has ruled out the possibility of recasting the late star's character but wanting to carry on with the superhero franchise to honor the star’s legacy.
“I wanted to acknowledge the devastating loss of a dear friend and member of the Marvel Studios family,” he explained.
“Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally.
"His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past. And it’s for that reason that we will not recast the character.”
During the summit, it was also mentioned that the upcoming film will evolve by exploring other characters in the Black Panther universe, which appeared to confirm a theory by fans that Letitia Wright, who played Boseman's on-screen sister Shuri, could very well end up taking a more prominent role in the franchise.
Feige continued: “However, to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the king of Wakanda, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.”
Prior to the summit, Victoria Alonso, who worked as an executive producer on the 2018 action film denied claims that Marvel had plans to use a digital replica of Boseman for the sequel, asserting that there was “only one Chadwick, and he’s no longer with us.”
Black Panther 2’s release date has been postponed until July 8, 2022, the studio has confirmed, with filming expected to commence in Atlanta over the summer of 2021.
The entire supporting cast is expected to return for the sequel, according to Screen Rant, while Ryan Coogler — who helmed the first installment — will return to direct and co-write the second phase of the popular film, which had grossed an astounding $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office.