What we’re not going to do is this. I won’t stand for it. I don’t even want to entertain the thought of this but because it’s apparently a thing, here we go.
According to People, thousands of Black Panther fans have put together and signed a petition asking for Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Co-President Louis D’Esposito, and writer and director Ryan Coogler to “reconsider their decision and recast the role of ‘T’Challa’ in the Black Panther franchise.” The Change.org petition, which was started by E-Man’s Movie Reviews using the hashtag #RecastTchalla, cites alleged rumors of Marvel’s plans to kill off Boseman’s character and consequently the franchise as its impetus and asserts that doing so “would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him.” So far, it’s already garnered nearly 15,000 signatures.
More details via the petition:
#RecastTChalla is not a call to replace Chadwick Boseman. (No one could ever do that.) It is not asking for an immediate replacement either. Nor is this calling for the prevention of other characters to take up the mantle of Black Panther like Shuri or anyone else. This petition is merely asking to continue the portrayal of T’Challa in the MCU. #RecastTChalla is a call to fulfill the role that Chadwick Boseman worked so hard for the world to see.
Chadwick Boseman wanted people to see the role, and not himself. He believed that the roles he took on were bigger than himself, and the role of T’Challa was no exception. (Listen here) He took on the role of T’Challa because he knew the history and significance of both the character and the Black Panther franchise. (Listen to his own words here.) Even despite his cancer diagnosis, he still signed on for a Black Panther 3 film. We all should honor Chadwick Boseman for what he’s done on and off-screen because he was a superhero in real life. Marvel should continue to honor and celebrate Chadwick Boseman in as many ways as they wish without compromising the legendary character of T’Challa.
OK. So maybe I can sort of pick up what they’re putting down but I think the hashtag is making the overall message get lost. Though Kevin Feige already made it clear that they weren’t going to recast T’Challa in Black Panther 2, there is still a possibility that Boseman’s character will still live on thanks to the upcoming drama series on Disney+ that’s set to explore the vibranium-filled world of Wakanda. And because Ryan Coogler is phenomenal, I have no doubt that he and the rest of the folks at Marvel will make the best decision.
Long live King T’Challa. Chadwick Boseman Forever.
Black Panther 2 is slated to drop July 8, 2022.