When the Black Panther sequel hits movie theaters sometime in 2022, there won’t be another actor stepping in as T'Challa, the character made famous by Chadwick Boseman. The actor died suddenly in August at age 43, after a private fight with colon cancer, leaving behind a cinematic universe that means the world to legions of fans. Even Disney was blindsided by Boseman’s untimely passing and said at the time they frankly weren’t sure how they’d continue the Black Panther storyline.
But on Thursday, Marvel Studios announced they definitively weren’t going to replace Boseman. "His portrayal of T'Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any 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," Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios head, said during Disney Investor Day.
It sounds like future Black Panther movies will focus on other characters introduced in the first film. "To honor the legacy that Chad helped us build, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film,” Feige said. Perhaps, as many have speculated, T'Challa’s sister Shuri will assume the Black Panther mantle.
Anyhow, Disney’s not going to abandon the Black Panther series anytime soon. The first film made over $1 billion globally within a month of its release in 2018. The sequel will be both written and directed by Ryan Coogler. Notably, the Black Panther director said his star never told him about his cancer battle. "Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering," Coogler wrote in a tribute to Boseman. "He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art."