When Chadwick Boseman tragically and unexpectedly passed away in 2020, people obviously wondered what would happen with his most famous character – Black Panther – in the future. It became clear fairly early on that the character of T’Challa would not be recast, but Black Panther would be a mantle that could be passed on. This is the same as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) passing the Captain America mantle on to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), or the MCU acknowledging that there could be more than one Spider-Man.
Winston Duke, who plays M’Baku, spoke to Jamele Hill on her podcast and said; “I’m of the mind that this is Chadwick’s role. Chadwick created this and Black Panther wouldn’t be the same without Chadwick Boseman, who stood for the things that he stood for.”
“When you cast a person, you’re also casting their experiences, you’re casting their politics, you’re casting their all of these thing. Black Panther was heavily defined by the actor that did it, in my opinion. So, I feel the decision that’s been made to keep T’Challa as Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is one that has a lot of nobility in it.”
Duke did not rule out T’Challa being reimagined in the future, however. “But you also have to… there’s a level of trust that I think we should all have for a comic book world (laughs). For a comic book world that has multiple dimensions and parallel dimensions and multiple stories and possible futures and possible reimaginations in the past. Just, multiple universes that they’re actually experimenting with. So I feel, my level of trust is that the medium can support a diversity of interpretations that can actually make us all happy.”
We don’t have too long to wait to see how Ryan Coogler has worked Boseman’s passing into the story of Wakanda Forever, and how the mantle will be passed on to the new Black Panther.