Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige fielded questions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe's future on Sunday, including some about Black Panther 2. After the passing of star Chadwick Boseman, many wondered what the future holds for the afro-futurist franchise. Feige confirmed that the sequel will not recast Boseman, and will try its best to honor him.
"So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda. Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story," Feige said in an interview with Deadline. He then directly addressed speculation that Black Panther 2 would use a CGI image of Boseman in the movie, or else focus on different characters.
"We're not going to have a CG Chadwick and we're not recasting T'Challa," Feige said bluntly. "[Director] Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There's also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well."
Boseman passed away on Aug. 28, 2020, at the age of 43. Fans were taken by surprise when his family revealed that Boseman had been battling cancer for years, without ever revealing it. It gave many a newfound reverence for the pioneering superhero star that helped Black Americans see themselves in these beloved movies.
Black Panther came out in 2018, and fans have been impatiently awaiting a sequel ever since. The movie was more successful than the studio dared hope, and touched all of the cross-over movies after it. However, upon Boseman's death, fans were warned that plans for a sequel would be changed so as to honor his memory and serve the canon at the same time.
At the time of Boseman's death, Coogler wrote an essay about his feelings for The Hollywood Reporter, remarking on how integral the star was to this beloved project. He related Boseman's real-life death to the movie's representation of ancestor reverence in Wakandan culture, writing: "It's no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again." Black Panther 2 is currently slated for release on July 8, 2022.