When Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020, many fans were shocked and heartbroken, including the cast and crew of Black Panther. The Marvel franchise was gearing up to begin production on the highly-anticipated sequel when it unexpectedly lost its lead.
After various COVID-related delays and controversies, the movie began production last year. When the topic of casting a new lead came up, Marvel president Kevin Feige insisted that they would not recast the title character. Now, Feige has explained his decision.
“It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” Feige told Empire. “Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”
Instead of re-casting, the crew wanted to figure out how they could honor Boseman while producing the movie. “The conversations were entirely about, yes, ‘What do we do next?’” Feige continued. “And how could the legacy of Chadwick – and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas – continue? That’s what it was all about.”
Earlier this year, co-star Lupita Nyong’o opened up about how making the movie without Boseman was ‘therapeutic’ for the cast. “It was very therapeutic. It restored a sense of hope for me in making it, and I think we’ve expanded the world of Wakanda in ways that will blow people’s minds — not just Wakanda, but the Black Panther world. ”
Black Panther 2 also stars Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett as they fight for Wakanda after the death of King T’Challa. The sequel hits theaters on November 11th.