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Marvel Studios Exec Weighs In On The Return Of T'Challa To The MCU

One of Hollywood's most sudden and shocking losses of 2020 was the death of Chadwick Boseman at the young age of 43. Sadly, Boseman had quietly battled colon cancer for more than four years. According to family and friends, the talented young actor had expected to survive his illness, until just shortly before his death in August (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

In the aftermath of the actor's death, fan thoughts eventually turned to the impact his loss could have on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Could T'Challa be recast? Many argued that this was not a viable option and, ultimately, Kevin Feige agreed with them. In December 2020, Feige used Disney's Investor Day presentation to announce that while plans for the "Black Panther" sequel were still in development, the role of T'Challa would not be recast. Since May, we've known that the next "Black Panther" film will be called "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and will focus on other Wakandan characters (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

So, what does a "Black Panther" movie look like with out T'Challa?  In a recent interview, Marvel Studios Vice President of Production and Development Nate Moore was asked about the chances that audiences will see T'Challa in some form again and how the franchise will move on without the beloved Chadwick Boseman.

Recasting was never an option

Marvel Studios Vice President of Production and Development Nate Moore made clear in a recent interview on the Ringer-Verse podcast that recasting the part of T'Challa was never an option for the franchise. 

"You will not see T'Challa in the MCU 616 [main] universe. We couldn't do it," Moore said. "I will say when Chad passed, it was a real conversation we had with [Black Panther director Ryan] Coogler about 'What do we do?' And it was a fast conversation. It wasn't weeks, it was minutes of 'We have to figure out how to move this franchise on without that character.'

Moore said that Marvel Studios believes the success of the film version of the character was innately tied to Boseman's performance in a way that simply was not duplicatable by having another actor step into the role. "Because I think we all feel so much of T'Challa in the MCU on the screen, not in comics, is tied to Chadwick's performance [and] what he brought to that role both on and off-screen, I would argue," Moore said. "So, as hard it is to narratively to figure out what to do because it's a big hole, at no point did we consider recasting."

Moore further stated that the task of moving the popular franchise into the future without Boseman is a struggle, but something that he believes the team at Marvel Studios is up for. "The challenge of the movie, I think, is to entertain people, but there will be a level of, I think, catharsis in people coming back to this universe without that guy," Moore noted. "Because that guy and that universe, to me, are one and the same. So, as filmmakers and storytellers, you have to figure out how people are going to feel going into your movie and what you want that movie to say about that guy who's not going to be in your movie."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" recently suffered a production delay as a result of Letitia Wright's on-set injury, but is currently scheduled for release on November 11, 2022.