Black Panther fans finally have an answer to how the beloved franchise once led by Chadwick Boseman will continue within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During Disney’s Investor Day presentation, which featured a slew of Marvel-centric movie and streaming news, Marvel CEO and president Kevin Fiege finally revealed at least part of how the studio planned to move forward following the death of Boseman, the lead in their most profitable stand-alone film so far.
The news, which was re-confirmed in a tweet-thread from the official Disney Twitter account, delivered Marvel’s final decision on whether Boseman would be re-cast as King T’Challa and hero Black Panther. The tweet read:
Black Panther 2, opening July 8, 2022, is being written & directed by Ryan Coogler. Honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy & portrayal of T’Challa, @MarvelStudios will not recast the character, but will explore the world of Wakanda & the rich characters introduced in the first film.
— Disney (@Disney) December 11, 2020
There were no other details about how the story will explore the world of Wakanda, but the mention of “rich characters” seemingly hints towards the long-discussed passing of the Black Panther mantle. The studio, which also revealed that the currently untitled Black Panther 2 will open July 8, 2022, could also opt to take the Ryan Coogler written-and-directed film in a broader direction, carrying on the legacy of the beloved superhero through multiple characters.
Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa will appear in Marvel’s What If…? series for Disney+
The passing of Boseman was difficult for the industry and fans alike. The actor had proven himself to be a truly admirable person on and off-screen, leveraging his fame to increase co-stars pay and visiting young cancer patients during their treatment. For many, he was a real-life hero, which has made the issue of whether to recast T’Challa a tough one for a studio looking to carry on with its billion-dollar-franchise.
While many may take comfort in the fact that Marvel headed their pleas not to replace the late actor — including zero plans to recreate Boseman’s likeness digitally, according to GamesRadar — they may be even happier to know that their one and only T’Challa was able to get in one more Marvel appearance before his passing.
It was previously thought that Black Panther’s return from the snap at the end of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame may have been his last appearance in the MCU. But as the first trailer for the upcoming Disney+ animated series Marvel’s What If…? confirms, the King of Wakanda had one more appearance set. And wildly, it’s not exactly as the Black Panther.
The What If…? series posits what would happen to the MCU and its characters if there were slight variations in a timeline’s events. In T’Challa’s case, the trailer posted to Marvel’s Twitter account poses what might have happened if Michael Rooker’s Yondu had picked up the future Black Panther from Wakanda instead of Peter Quill. The result, it appears, is a Wakandan Star-Lord.
The episode is sure to be bittersweet, much like the Black Panther sequel when it hits theaters on July 22, 2022.