Lupita Nyong'o Stands Against Recasting Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther

The loss of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 came as a surprise to many as the actor had quietly been battling colon cancer for years. Boseman passed away over the summer, just a few months before he was expected on the set of a Black Panther sequel which had been written with his T'Challa character as the centerpiece. Following Boseman's death, the Black Panther sequel continued to move forward but in a different direction. Announced during Disney's Investor Day event, the Marvel movie would not recast the actor. It has since been revealed that T'Challa will have died as a part of the story in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While this story point has drummed up debates among some fans, Black Panther star Lupita Nyong'o stands firmly by the decision not to recast the character. 

"That is not the death of the Black Panther, that's the whole point," Nyong'o told THR. "It's laying to rest [T'Challa] and allowing for real life to inform the story of the movies. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why people want him to be recast, but I don't have the patience. I don't have the presence of mind, or I don't have the objectivity to argue with that. I don't. I'm very biased."

Playing Nakia in the Marvel Cinematic Universe meant Nyong'o would work closely with Boseman on several occasions. The Nakia character is not only a brilliant member of Wakanda's War Dogs but also romantically involved with Boseman's T'Challa. Having spent so much time with Boseman on and off the set of Black Panther, the loss of the actor shocked Nyong'o. "I couldn't believe it," Nyong'o she said, having learned of Boseman's death in a text message from Viola Davis. "I was paralyzed." Today, she has more praise to offer the actor. "He had an aura," Nyong'o said. "He was the leader, and we were all good with it."

"There were moments when Chadwick said no to me, and I was not happy with him," Nyong'o recalled. "I fought tooth and nail to change his mind, and he would ever so quietly be like, 'I know, but no,' with love." She tried to invite Boseman on a trip to Africa, not knowing that he was battling cancer. "I felt it was important to have him on the continent, as an African American coming to South Africa. I thought that was a potent symbol, and he wouldn't go," Nyong'o said. "Now I understand he was battling cancer and probably had medical reasons. I tried everything. I tried charm. I debated him on the political front, and he smiled, he sighed, and he was just like, 'I know, Lupita. I can't go.'"

 "He affected how I move in the world," Nyong'o says. "But that's the thing about Chadwick. Chadwick wasn't trying to have everyone be like him. What he inspired was you to be your best self. So how I'm going to lead a set is nowhere near – I'm not that person. I'm not Chadwick at all. I'll never be."

Nyongo's reprises her role on Nakia in the Black Panther sequel later this year. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will open in theaters in November 11.