Marvel Reimagining ‘Black Panther’: “Our Apex Black Superhero as He Was Truly Meant to Be”

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Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa looking at the Black Panther suit

Credit: Marvel Studios

For the past two years, fans of Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe have wondered how the blockbuster franchise would handle the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman in its future Black Panther projects. While the live-action is seemingly moving on from King T’Challa, other facets of the Marvel Universe are keeping the most well-known Black Panther front and center.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Merch Leak Seemingly Confirms Who Will Be the Next MCU Black Panther

The late Chadwick Boseman originated the role of T’Challa AKA the Black Panther in the MCU six years ago in the ensemble venture Captain America: Civil War (2016) from directing duo, the Russo Brothers. The movie acted as a precursor to the events that would come just two years later in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), when Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) Blip caused chaos throughout the Universe.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa in 'Black Panther'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Despite the immensity of the Avengers climax, it would be 2018’s Black Panther from Ryan Coogler that would demonstrate the true power of superhero movies. A first for the genre, at least in this type of global franchise, Black Panther saw a Black superhero headline their own movie in a capacity not seen before. Boseman’s performance as the King of Wakanda, King T’Challa, as well as Michael B. Jordan’s villain Killmonger, helped the Marvel movie gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

michael b jordan killmonger
Credit: Marvel

However, the plans to continue T’Challa’s story in the MCU were derailed in 2020 after the unfortunate passing of Boseman; the actor had faced a four-year battle with colon cancer with his last performance as the beloved Avenger coming posthumously in Marvel’s animated series, What If…?. Following Boseman’s passing, Feige and other executives like Nate Moore made the decision that the role of T’Challa would not be recast, leaving questions over how the studio planned on dealing with the in-Universe character of the Wakandan King.

King T'Challa mural in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Over the last year, Coogler has been open about the development of his sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), saying it will pay tribute to Boseman’s legacy. Despite multiple petitions to #RecastTChalla, it wasn’t until the trailer for the Black Panther sequel dropped at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) that fan furor really gained momentum with some calling the removal of T’Challa from the MCU “the biggest attack in Marvel history”, seeing the move as an erasure of the iconic Marvel Comics character as opposed to a tribute to Boseman — the actor’s family wished for the character to also be recast, after all.

Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) talking in Wakanda
Credit: Marvel Studios

Many fans have denounced Marvel Studios’ decision not to recast and keep such an iconic character in comic book history as T’Challa alive in the MCU. Conversely, T’Challa does still exist in the Marvel Universe as one of the company’s most popular heroes. So popular in fact that author Sheree Renée Thomas is reimagining the famous Pather’s Rage comic arc by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, and Billy Graham, in a new prose, hardcover edition debuting this October. Fellow science-fiction author, Paul Di Filippo, says the story features “[o]ur apex Black superhero as he was truly meant to be.”

Cover of "Black Panther: Panther's Rage"
Credit: Marvel

The official description of “Black Panther: Panther’s Rage” by Sheree Renée Thomas is:

T’Challa, the Black Panther, returns to Wakanda to show long time love interest, Monica Lynne, his home. But he finds violence in the streets, discontent brewing in his people, and the name Killmonger following him everywhere he goes. When a revered storyteller—and T’Challa’s mentor—is murdered, he uncovers the first threads of a growing rebellion that threatens to engulf his beloved Wakanda.

Wakanda’s high-tech king must travel the savannah, into the deepest jungles and up the snow-topped mountains of his homeland in this prose adaptation of the landmark comics series by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler and Billy Graham. Discover the life and culture of the Wakandans, and see T’Challa channel the strength of his ancient bloodline to take out foes such as Venomm, Malice and the fearsome Erik Killmonger!

Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: MCU Actress Weighs In On How ‘Black Panther 2’ Handles Chadwick Boseman’s Death

It is interesting that Marvel will be releasing an adaptation of such a well-known comic book story just one month before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s release in movie theaters, especially with so much discontent over the removal of T’Challa from the MCU. And while the comics and the live-action products exist separately, there is seemingly a lack of synergy here. Just as Nate Moore incited anger when he said that Black Panther was a mantle, the decision to then release a T’Challa-centric story weeks before Wakanda Forever is certainly an odd decision.

Will you be picking up “Black Panther: Panther’s Rage”? Let us know in the comments down below!

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Michaela Coel (Aneka), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), and Tenoch Huerta (Namor).

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