Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Producer Addresses "Recast T'Challa" Movement

Amid online calls for Marvel to "recast T'Challa," Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore explains the decision not to replace Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Boseman, who died at age 43 in August 2020 due to colon cancer, played the heir to the Wakandan throne in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, reigning as King T'Challa in director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther before reprising the role in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War and 2019's Avengers: Endgame. Moore makes it clear: there may be a new Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there isn't another Chadwick Boseman. 

"I don't know if anything about it was an easy decision. But it was a decision that, once made, we all believed in, and it led us on a path forward," Moore, Black Panther producer and Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development, told Total Film magazine of the decision not to recast Boseman's T'Challa.

Moore, who served as executive producer on Civil War and Black Panther, is aware of the #RecastTChalla fan campaign urging Marvel Studios to continue the character without Boseman. (The actor does not appear in Wakanda Forever, which takes place one year after T'Challa's death.)

"I could not imagine turning to the best young actor in the world who wasn't Chadwick, and being like, 'OK, so you're T'Challa.' I could not, and cannot, imagine that. I really couldn't," Moore said. "Other people will have a different answer to that question. And we're very aware of the talkback, and how people feel. And I think all of that, to be quite honest, is fair. Everybody's going to have a different opinion. I can just say, after being in it, I couldn't do it. I couldn't get there."

In December 2020, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige formally announced the studio would not replace Boseman in Black Panther 2. It's expected that T'Challa's sister — genius inventor Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) — will inherit her late brother's duties as the Black Panther, protector of the nation of Wakanda. 

"Obviously it was a shock to all of us, the way it was to the world. We found out when the world found out," Feige said of Boseman's private four-year battle with colon cancer. "And for a long time, the focus was just on that — on processing the loss of a colleague, and a friend, and an important creative partner for us."

Boseman developed the sequel and "had conversations" with Boseman, who was expected to return to the role. Marvel redeveloped the Black Panther sequel in the wake of Boseman's death and will pay tribute to both the actor and the character.

"For a long time, the focus was just on processing the loss. And then it quickly shifted to continuing the legacy," Feige told Total Film. "It was important to everybody. And we believed it was important for the world that the positivity and the hope and the vision of Wakanda continued, and that that world, and that incredible ensemble of characters that were brought together on that first movie, were able to continue forward, and continue to put that light of positivity out into the world."

Feige added: "Ryan really began to think of how to do that with every single person going to see the movie knowing what had happened in real life with Chadwick. And, really, that became the starting point for Ryan's new version of this film."

In Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Wright), M'Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T'Challa's death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Facing a future without their king, a new Black Panther must confront a new threat: Namor (Tenoch Huerta), hybrid mutant king of the hidden undersea nation of Talocan.

Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters November 11th.