Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirmed today that the upcoming Black Panther sequel, known as Black Panther II, will not recast the central role of T’Challa, originally embodied by Chadwick Boseman.
The announcement came near the tail end of Marvel’s presentation during Disney Investor Day, in which the multimedia conglomerate plotted out its ambitious upcoming schedule of movies and TV series for investors (and the world at large). Feige set aside some time to honor the life and legacy of Boseman, who died this August following a protracted, yet mostly private battle with colon cancer. According to Feige, the sequel will acknowledge T’Challa while also taking time to “explore the world of Wakanda and the rich characters introduced in the first film.”
Boseman first appeared as eventual king of Wakanda T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. He then reprised the role for Marvel’s groundbreaking Black Panther in 2018, directed by Ryan Coogler. Ultimately Boseman was a part of four Marvel films, appearing in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Black Panther II was announced shortly after the premiere of the first film. It is set to be the thirtieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and kick off Marvel’s “Phase Five.” Ryan Coogler will return as writer and director as will cast members Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Martin Freeman. Initially marked for a May 6, 2022 release, the film is now scheduled for July 8, 2022.
Outside the Marvel universe, Boseman was well-known for possessing the gravitas to portray titanic real life figures such as Jackie Robinson (42), James Brown (Get On Up), and Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). He also received praise for his ethereal role in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and can be seen in his final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Dec. 18.
In the time since Boseman’s tragic passing, fans have naturally speculated who would take over the role as Black Panther. Many theorized that T’Challa’s sister Shuri (played by Wright) would take on the Black Panther mantle, as the character does in the comics. That’s a conversation for another time but for now it’s nice to see that Marvel has decided to let T’Challa rest. Long live the king.