Chadwick Boseman’s brother Derrick is in support of Marvel recasting the ‘Black Panther’ role of T’Challa so the character can continue to inspire Black kids around the world.
Derrick told TMZ Tuesday that though Boseman didn’t specifically say before his death that he would want his role to continue with another actor, he is confident the actor was aware the character was bigger than himself.
In November, Marvel VP of Development Nate Moore reflected on the decision not to recast Boseman’s character for the franchise’s future films during an appearance on the Ringer-Verse podcast. “I’m being quite honest: You will not see T’Challa in the MCU 616 universe,” he said at the time, referencing the primary timeline for the events in Marvel comics. “We couldn’t do it.”
Moore added, “When Chad passed, it was a real conversation we had with [director Ryan] Coogler about, ‘What do we do?’ and it was a fast conversation. It wasn’t weeks, it was minutes of we had to figure out how to move that franchise on without that character. Because I think we all feel so much of T’Challa in the MCU on the screen… is tied to Chadwick’s performance.”
An online petition, however, has attracted more than 43,000 people who want the role to continue on and not be retired. Derrick supports the Change.org petition, which was started by film critic Emmanuel “E-Man” Noisette.
“If Marvel Studios removes T’Challa, it would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him. That also includes the millions of fans who were inspired by the character as well,” wrote Noisette.
“#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,” Noisette clarified. “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.”
While it’s been “hard” to plot the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without Boseman, Moore said last month that “at no point did we consider recasting.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever began filming in June, 10 months after Boseman died at age 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. At the time, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Variety that beginning production on the film was “clearly very emotional without” the actor. He added, “We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.”
Coogler was working on the sequel script at the time of Boseman’s death. In April, he reflected on restructuring the story without his close friend.
“It’s difficult,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “You’ve got to keep going when you lose loved ones. I know Chad wouldn’t have wanted us to stop. He was somebody who was so about the collective. Black Panther, that was his movie. He was hired to play that role before anybody else was even thought of, before I was hired, before any of the actresses were hired.”
“On that set, he was all about everybody else,” Coogler continued. “Even though he was going through what he was going through, he was checking in on them, making sure they were good. If we cut his coverage, he would stick around and read lines off camera [to help other actors with their performances]. So it would be harder for me to stop. Truthfully. I’d feel him yelling at me, like, ‘What are you doing?’ So you keep going.”
With Letitia Wright acting up, recasting T’Challa might be the franchise’s best hope moving forward.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is expected to hit theaters Nov. 11, 2022.