Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected passing last year after a long battle with cancer left everyone in shock. The Marvel fandom and MCU cast were left reeling in the wake of the news. But as the fog of sadness slowly began to recede, people began to ask questions about the future of the Black Panther franchise.
The first Black Panther movie was highly successful and a sequel was confirmed more than a year ago. In the original plan, Boseman was going to lead the movie. But his death left Marvel with questions. And all of these questions were tough. One option was to recast the role and the other was to cancel the sequel.
But neither of these questions had satisfactory answers. After all, recasting would diminish Boseman’s contribution to the role, and cancelling the sequel would be a disaster for the MCU from monetary as well as social fronts. Thankfully, there was a third option- to move forward by shifting the focus of the movie to other Wakandian heroes.
Fast forward a year later and a sequel is going forward with the title Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Apart from the late Chadwick Boseman, the rest of the cast are going to reprise their roles in the movie. This includes Danai Gurira’s Okoye, Letitia Wright’s Shuri, and Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross.
However, people are still skeptical of Ryan Coogler’s sequel. Yet shooting is about to begin in Atlanta. In such uncertain times, fans have looked towards Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige for directions, and he has cleared up the air regarding sequel plans.
In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige discussed Phase 4 as well as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. He said:
“The death of Chad [Boseman] had hit all of us extremely hard — and at the same time as it hit the world, because we didn’t know either. And there were all sorts of questions, and our first thought for many weeks afterward had nothing to do with the movie, it had to do with him and his family and his wife and his legacy.”
With unending uncertainty, Feige looked at Ryan Coogler for guidance. Here’s what Feige said about that meeting:
“And really we were looking to Ryan Coogler for guidance — as one frankly always should about almost everything in life, I’d recommend following Ryan Coogler for guidance. The discussions essentially came down to continuing the legacy of Wakanda and continuing with that storyline in a very meaningful, respectful, and yet still hopeful and fun and exciting way, which was difficult after losing Chad.”
Kevin Feige also said that production was going to begin soon and that the team was obviously going to be extremely emotional all across the board:
“And I will say that Ryan and our producer, Nate Moore, and the entire cast, and our co-writer Joe Robert Cole, have done some remarkable things in the story and the draft. The team is assembling once again and cameras roll in the not-too-distant future on that. And it will be extremely emotional across the board, but I think they have something very special in mind.”
Marvel’s Phase 4 has begun with WandaVision, Loki, and more. While we didn’t have any idea at first about how these shows would proceed, but that mystery is deeper with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. But, whatever the new direction of the franchise, it will need to emit the charisma, hope, and strength that Boseman brought on screen.
Right now, the most popular theory is that Letitia Wright’s Shuri will don the suit of the Black Panther. After all, the throne now needs an heir and the Wakandan people need a leader. As T’Challa’s younger sister, tech genius Shuri is next in line to the throne and so her being the next Black Panther makes sense.
But apart from this, another issue that the MCU will have to address is T’Challa’s absence. Many people think that it will be for the best if they kill the character off-screen or just briefly get a stunt actor to wear the suit for a death sequence. But we think that it’s unlikely that Marvel will kill off T’Challa in any way out of respect to Chadwick Boseman.
What they might do is let the character live on and offer another explanation for his absence. For now, whatever the future of the franchise, it will likely get clarified in the very first act of the movie. As for the villain, it has been rumored that Namor, an Atlantean King will serve that role. So Wakandans surely will have their hands full.
What happens next will be seen when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on July 8, 2022.
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