Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected passing resulted in a huge blow to the Hollywood world and his loved ones. The star died at the age of 43 after losing a four-year-long battle to colon cancer, something he had never revealed to the world before. Soon after the news of Boseman’s death made headlines, his fans requested Marvel Studios to not cast another actor in Boseman’s world famous Black Panther role, causing a major setback for the American media company which was already planning a sequel to Hollywood’s first big superhero film with a predominantly Black cast, reported Reuters. From writers to activists and academics, they believe that Marvel and Walt Disney Co must honour Boseman’s legacy.
“They should really consider following the storyline of the comic book and advancing Letitia Wright (who plays Shuri, the tech genius sister of Boseman’s character) into that central role,” said Jamil Smith, a senior writer at Rolling Stone. “We’ve seen her in action. We’ve seen her in the middle of these fights. Why would we not think she’d have the courage and strength to become the next Black Panther?”
April Reign, #OscarsSoWhite creator and vice president of content strategy for Ensemble, added, “Maybe the answer, for those of us who aren’t yet ready to see someone else in that suit, is to pass the reins a little earlier than they had expected and allow Shuri to take on the mantle maybe for a Black Panther 2.” Others suggested on how to carry forward Boseman’s legacy. “Does (his character) come back as little Black Panther?” said Nicol Turner Lee, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Does Disney honour the imagination of the young boys and girls who looked up to him?”
Disney and Marvel declined to comment. The studio is currently focused on paying tribute to Boseman, broadcasting the film commercial-free last Sunday on Disney-owned ABC, followed by an ABC News special about the actor. It has now been reported that senior executives did not know about Boseman’s ailing health either. Black Panther, based on the Marvel Comics character that first debuted in 1966, collected $1.35 billion at the box office, bagged three Academy Awards and a Best Picture Oscar nomination, soon after it first hit cinema screens. Marvel was planning to begin production of Black Panther 2 in March and was eyeing a May 6, 2022, release. Wakanda Forever!