This Black Panther star does not think it’s a good idea to recast King T’Challa, despite many fans’ calls to do so!
The “Recast T’Challa Movement” has taken to the internet to call for the recasting of Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa as of late. In fact, the late Chadwick Boseman still remains the current Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever addresses the future of Wakanda’s protector this November 11, 2022, that is.
Now, that the Black Panther role is “up for grabs” in a sense, the speculation has swirled as to whether Marvel Studios and the MCU will truly move ahead with replacing Black Panther — and how they may go about it.
There are already indications both early on and in the recent Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer, that Letitia Wright’s Princess Shuri may take on the mantle of Wakanda’s vibranium-coated guardian, instead of Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige recasting a new actor directly into the role of King T’Challa. Other rumored “new Black Panthers” are all-female special forces member, Okoye (Danai Gurira) of the Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and even Wakandan Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), T’Challa’s mother.
There is actually precedent for recasting within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios have actually done this before, quietly replacing the actor for War Machine/James Rhodes AKA “Rhodey”, from the Iron Man franchise, originally played by Terrence Howard, and now played by current MCU actor Don Cheadle.
Because of this, fans have begun the #RecastTChalla movement in the hopes that Marvel Studios will eventually consider recasting the iconic role. There was even a change.org petition, and statements from Chadwick Boseman’s brother supporting #RecastTChalla. The movement itself is predicated on the idea of Black Panther as a character standing for a lot more to Black society, culture and history. That by not recasting another actor in the role, the world is being robbed of one of the greatest Black lead roles in existence with the ending of this story.
Interestingly, one of Chadwick Boseman’s co-stars disagrees with this sentiment.
The actor for M’Baku in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther franchise, Winston Duke, has come forward in an interview on the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast.
In it, Duke shares his stance that “this was Chadwick’s role”, and ought not to be recast, as Black Panther just would not be the same without the iconic actor, as “Chadwick created this”:
I think for this iteration of Black Panther, it’s very hard for me to really comment on something like that. Because, 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.
Duke goes on to explain his position, talking about how casting a role goes beyond the character on screen, and especially “Black Panther was defined by the actor that did it”, along with his “experiences, [and] politics”:
When you cast a person, you’re also casting their experiences, their politics, all of these things. Black Panther was defined by the actor that did it, in my opinion. So, I feel, as-is, the decision that’s been made to keep T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is one that has a lot of nobility in it.
This is not all he has to say, however.
Duke expands even further, clarifying his point of view. He uses the concept of parallel dimensions, that the MCU has been exploring of late in the Multiverse Saga, stating that he has a “level of trust” in the medium being able to “support a diverse amount of interpretations that can make us all happy”:
I think there’s a level of trust that we should all have for a comic book world. For a comic book world that has multiple dimensions and parallel dimensions and multiple stories that have possible futures and possible reimaginations. Just, multiple universes that they’re actually experimenting with. My level of trust is that the medium can support a diverse amount of interpretations that can make us all happy.
The original clip of the podcast can be viewed here:
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 4, 2022
It seems like Black Panther star Winston Duke does have his own reasons for not supporting #RecastTChalla.
It appears that it is in fact his trust in the Multiverse-based story that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been exploring to give us more interpretations of the Black Panther character.
With upcoming films like Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars coming to theaters in the future, and even the merging of properties like Daredevil (2015) into new IPs like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022), it appears that the MCU has a lot of room for new variations and stories.
What do you think of recasting T’Challa and the Black Panther role? Are you excited for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Share your thoughts in the comments below!