In a new Empire cover feature surrounding the upcoming release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said the idea of recasting Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa role “felt like it was much too soon” after the actor’s death.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sequel to Ryan Coogler’s 2018 hit movie Black Panther, where Boseman played the led superhero. The actor died in August 2020 at the age of 43 due to his battle with colon cancer. Filming for the sequel began 10 months later.
Feige, 49, mentioned that instead of recasting, he wanted to find a way to honor Boseman along with a different approach in the sequel. “[Marvel legend] Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story,” Feige said.
He stated that once that decision was made, the conversations with Coogler, 36, who co-wrote and directed the sequel as well, “Were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next? And how could the legacy of Chadwick – and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas – continue? That’s what it was all about.”
The original Black Panther film became a historic success for Disney, grossing over $1.3B worldwide and landing seven Oscar nominations, winning in the categories of Best Original Score, Costune Design and Production Design. It came in as the highest-grossing film ever directed by a Black filmmaker by becoming the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time and the third-highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada at the time of its release. Black Panther was also the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11.