Marvel Boss Kevin Feige Addresses Black Panther Recasting as Backlash, Boycott Action Grows

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marvel boss kevin feige under fire

As we speed towards November and the upcoming release of Ryan Coogler’s follow-up to Black Panther (2018), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), tensions continue to rise over the apparent dismissal of King T’Challa due to the late Chadwick Boseman’s untimely passing.

Now, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, orchestrator of the billion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe, has weighed in again on the controversy.

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

Black Panther dominated the box office when it was released four years ago. A first for the comic book movie genre, at least on the scale of the MCU, Black Panther saw a Black superhero take centerstage, surrounded by a largely Black cast. Along with the titular role occupied by Boseman, and supported by the likes of Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), Michael B. Jordan (Erik “Killmonger” Stevens), and Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), the film was laden with stellar talent.

The franchise looked set to be one of the MCU’s most powerful and poignant, but the unfortunate death of Boseman in 2020 after suffering from colon cancer, and the subsequent news that Marvel Studios would not be recasting the role of King T’Challa soured many fans’ expectations.

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

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will instead see a new character take on the role of the Black Panther with all fingers pointing to Letitia Wright’s Shuri – T’Challa’s sister. Other names that could be in line to become the Wakandan protector are Nyong’o’s Nakia or Danai Gurira’s Don Milaje general, Okoye.

While some, including the cast and the creative forces behind the Black Panther sequel, have seen the non-recasting of T’Challa as a tribute to the late Boseman, many have been outspoken in their despair and annoyance that the MCU will now be without a T’Challa – the most famous Black Panther in Marvel history. 

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

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Producer Nate Moore recently said that the Marvel studio’s decision allowed for the mantle of Black Panther to continue instead of T’Challa as a singular character. It’s safe to say that that analogy did not go down well with fans.

Now, Marvel boss Kevin Feige has once again addressed the recasting discourse surrounding T’Challa. Feige was clear that T’Challa would not be recast, a decision that saw the #RecastTChalla movement begin in the first place, and is now doubling down on the studio’s choice to not carry on the character’s story in the more literal sense.

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

Speaking to Empire, Feige said:

“It just felt like it was much too soon to recast […] 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.”

The Marvel Studios President stated what was the driving force behind the development of the sequel:

“…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?”

ryan coogler (left) and kevin feige (right)
Credit: Marvel.com

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Even with a sentimental approach to preserving and celebrating Boseman’s legacy, many fans are still calling this the ”biggest attack in MCU history”, and it seems no matter what Coogler, Feige, or the cast say, the general consensus is that Marvel made a bad decision when it came to the role of T’Challa.

Boseman made his debut as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War (2016) before later going on to star in his solo Marvel movie, and then in the Avengers two-parter, Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

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

The late actor made his final performance in the MCU in the animated series, What If…?. For his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), Boseman was nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role award at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts on November 11, 2022, as the final movie in Marvel Phase Four. Along with Wright, Bassett, Nyong’o, and Gurira, the Black Panther sequel also stars Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, and Michaela Coel as Aneka. Dominique Thorne makes her MCU debut as Riri Williams AKA Ironheart ahead of her own Disney+ series, and Tenoch Huerta stars as this film’s main antagonist, Namor.

What are your thoughts on the recasting of Black Panther? Let us know in the comments down below!

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