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How Wakanda Forever recast T’Challa without recasting T’Challa

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in theaters worldwide, ready to make a killing at the box office this weekend. The highly-anticipated sequel honors both Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa, without an actual recast. At the same time, the movie advances the overall MCU story with a Wakanda-centric adventure. We get a new Black Panther in the story and a villain who might become a hero in the future.

But by the end of this emotional movie, you realize that Marvel got its cake and ate it too. Wakanda Forever sort of does T’Challa without actually recasting the character.

Before we explain, you should know that massive Wakanda Forever spoilers follow below.

Conflicting opinions on recasting T’Challa in Wakanda Forever

Soon after Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death, fans urged Disney and Marvel not to recast T’Challa in the Black Panther 2 movie. The sequel hadn’t yet begun production when the actor passed away.

Ultimately, Marvel revealed that it would not recast the character, implying that Wakanda Forever would go with a different Black Panther other than T’Challa.

But months passed, and fans demanded a T’Challa recast for the MCU. The reasoning was that T’Challa is too big a character to lose so soon.

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in the first Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

Still, this didn’t change Marvel’s approach to Wakanda Forever. The studio wasn’t about the recast T’Challa. And we heard in recent interviews that Marvel even considered canceling the sequel.

The solution Marvel chose was to tell a story of grief, of moving on with one’s life after losing a loved one. The story fits not just for the cataclysmic events in the MCU between Infinity War and Endgame. But it also resonates with real life, as the world has been dealing with a pandemic that has killed millions.

Wakanda Forever is also a massive homage to T’Challa. It starts right from the film’s opening crawl, which honors T’Challa, to the end of the film, which shows Shuri (Letitia Wright) remembering her brother during a critical ceremony that symbolizes the acceptance of his death.

How did Marvel recast the T’Challa role?

But then, we have Wakanda Forever’s only credits scene. Shuri finds out that T’Challa and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) had a boy who must be at least 5 or 6 by now. They decided to hide him from the world and shield him from the pressures of the throne.

That’s a shocking reveal not just to Shuri but also to the audience. Even more surprising is the boy’s name. He’s also called T’Challa, like his father. And that’s how Marvel recast T’Challa in Wakanda Forever, without actually recasting the character.

Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa will not be replaced, ever. Not in this primary reality of the MCU. We could always see other T’Challa’s from the multiverse if that’s something that will serve the massive MCU story.

New Black Panther suit with a focus on the helmet.
New Black Panther suit with a focus on the helmet. Image source: Marvel Studios

But the MCU’s primary reality does have a new T’Challa whose story is yet to be told. Wakanda Forever gives us a different kind of recast, which lets the studio keep a T’Challa character in place for future adventures.

When will we see T’Challa next?

That said, young T’Challa is still a child. He’s nowhere near ready to be a king, let alone take over as Black Panther. Shuri is now the MCU’s new Black Panther, and she can manufacture as much Heart-Shaped Herb as needed to ensure Wakanda will continue to have Black Panthers. She could make an entire army of superpowered beings, come to think of it.

However, young T’Challa will be a teenager soon, so we could see him take over as Black Panther. Especially if he’ll go through some sort of time-jumping event that will age him accordingly.

Put differently, Wakanda Forever begins a soft reboot of T’Challa, allowing Marvel to use the character in a future Young Avengers lineup. As for Black Panther 3, we have no idea if or when a sequel might happen.

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