Daniel Kaluuya, who played W'Kabi in Black Panther, is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the sequel and feels Marvel Studios must honor Chadwick Boseman's memory over the legacy of his superhero character. Boseman died in 2020 from an illness he kept secret from almost everyone, leaving his colleagues in shock. Kaluuya spoke to The Ringer in support of his latest film, Judas and the Black Messiah. During the interview, Kaluuya shared his feelings about the Black Panther sequel and Marvel's responsibility towards Boseman to put the man and his life's work well above his now-iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero role.
"For me, what's important to me is not the Black Panther legacy, it's the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, because that's a human being and a spirit that is real," Kaluuya said. "How can we honor that? Black Panther is going to do what Black Panther does, but that's a man that lived for us. He did it for us, did it our nephews, our nieces, our kids. It's our duty to honor that man the way he honored us."
Kaluuya's Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan also reflected on how Boseman's legacy affected him when asked in a recent interview about returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "That's something that is very, very near and dear to my heart for a lot of obvious reasons," Jordan told People, "[I] had a really tough year losing somebody close to me. And what that means for that franchise is it was devastating. But being in that world in a character that I loved playing, and working with [writer/director Ryan Coogler] and all that good stuff, it's family. We created a family over there. So to be able to be in that world again is something that, I think, will always be on the table in some capacity."
He echoed that sentiment again during an appearance on Good Morning America. "With the year that we've had, and the loss of a dear friend, they were figuring out whatever they need to do and what was best for the franchise," he said. "But they're family, so if I ever had the opportunity to get back into that franchise, I would."
Marvel Studios is pushing ahead with Black Panther II. However, during Disney's Investor Day presentation in December, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed the studio would not recast T'Challa after losing Boseman. Feige stated that Boseman's performance was "is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel's past. "It's for that reason that we will not recast the character. However, to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film."
Black Panther II opens in theaters on July 8, 2022.