Disney is reportedly having to re-evaluate plans for Marvel's Black Panther 2, following the death of Chadwick Boseman. Boseman's secret battle with colon cancer caught the entire world off guard, including his Marvel movie co-stars and collaborators. While in truth, the wounds of Boseman's loss are still too fresh for anything about Black Panther 2 to be of much concern, Disney and Marvel do have a ticking clock over their respective heads. After all, Chadwick Boseman was apparently set to start prepping for his return as T'Challa soon, with Black Panther 2 set to start production early next year, for its 2022 release.
THR has an in-depth breakdown of how the ramifications of Chadwick Boseman's death are now reverberating through Marvel Studios. Kevin Feige only learned that Boseman was fighting his cancer battle hours before the actor's death. Boseman apparently never gave up the belief that he would beat cancer and film Black Panther 2 and was reportedly going to start prepping as early of September, to gain back the significant weight he lost.
Not surprisingly, the teams at Disney and Marvel Studios are now trying to process Boseman's loss on a personal level, as he was as respected off-screen as he was for his performances. Lingering at the edges of that grief is the looming business of what to do about the billion-dollar Black Panther franchise, which is now without its headlining star. There's also an indication that Marvel had plans for T'Challa/Black Panther to cross over into other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, which mean entire storylines of the franchise may now have to be reconsidered.
At the end of all the dilemma and debate, there are only two ways that Disney can handle things: recast T'Challa or hand the mantle of Black Panther to a new character. Most fans are already starting a rallying cry for Marvel Studios to follow Marvel Comics canon and make T'Challa's sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) the new Black Panther.
In the comics, T'Challa was left comatose when he rejects recruitment into "The Cabal," a group of supervillains schemers whose ranks include Doctor Doom, Norman Osborn, and Namor (all characters Marvel may introduce to the MCU). Shuri must step up and take on the mantle of Black Panther - despite being rejected by the Panther Gods. Letitia Wright was both a fan-favorite breakout of Black Panther and just about the only person Marvel fans would almost universally embrace to take over as Black Panther, at this particular point in time. In fact, putting the ladies of Wakanda in the spotlight for Black Panther's sequel may be the best way to honor Chadwick Boseman, and the franchise phenomenon he helped build.
Black Panther II has been set for release on May 6, 2022.