Marvel Studios and director Ryan Coogler will have to tread very carefully when dealing with Chadwick Boseman’s death in Black Panther 2. T’Challa is considered the defining role of his career and it seems the sequel (and the wider MCU) will address his passing. However, the way they’re going about it remains a mystery.
We have some clues, though. Earlier this year, Kevin Feige shed some light on the situation, saying: “We’re not going to have a CG Chadwick and we’re not recasting T’Challa.” That considerably narrows down their options and the most likely route is that T’Challa will die off screen and the Black Panther mantle will be taken up by his younger sister Shuri, as played by Letitia Wright.
Whatever they’ve decided, it’s now set in stone, as the cast apparently has knowledge of the Black Panther 2 story. Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, recently appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she discussed Boseman’s death and said:
“It’s still so hard for me to come to terms with his passing…His leadership… He led the movie with such compassion and just presence. When Chadwick came on set, he was present and he brought his entire being to that movie. And he was just so humble as well. That leadership will be missed.”
When asked about the sequel, she stated:
“I do know for certain he would want us to do this and I feel what Ryan Coogler has planned very much honors him and his legacy. So I feel good about going back.”
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But while Black Panther 2 wasn’t even close to filming while Boseman was alive, he still has one more performance as T’Challa in the can. Feige confirmed that he completed work on Disney+ MCU animated show What If…?, with the actor set to play the role in several episodes and star in one that imagines what would have happened if T’Challa had become the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. As the producer explained:
“These are all sorts of stories we couldn’t explore through live action. Chadwick Boseman came in about four times and recorded numerous episodes. In hindsight, it’s very moving.”
The ten-episode first season of What If…? will be released mid-2021, Black Panther 2 is set to film in Atlanta this summer, and Ryan Coogler is also developing a Disney+ spinoff set in Wakanda. Suffice it to say, there’s much more from the particular corner of the franchise to come.