Marvel Studios handled Chadwick Boseman’s passing in a way befitting of the fan favorite legend.
Chadwick Boseman’s passing hit the world hard. He was known as a kind man with an even kinder soul. It’s one of the reasons why recasting T’Challa was such a hot topic. It felt too soon and in bad taste to bring in a new T’Challa after he passed on. Especially since his role as T’Challa was crucial for people of color.
Chadwick Boseman was the first Black actor to headline a Marvel Studios movie. Something that sometimes gets overlooked. If Black Panther failed, he may have been the last. Thankfully, the film succeeded way above what anyone expected.
Boesman was a big part of that. Marvel was conscious of everything Boseman meant to fans, Black people, and, more importantly, his family. It’s why they made certain that anything regarding T’Challa and the passing of Boseman was handled with class. Especially where Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was concerned.
The first Wakanda Forever trailer
During the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios released the first look at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Fans knew that Boseman wouldn’t be in it. What they didn’t know was how his passing would be handled once the press run began. When the teaser dropped, everyone who watched it shed a tear. We knew that everything was done properly.
First, there was the music. “No Woman No Cry” (performed by Tems for the soundtrack) created a somber mood. It was impossible to not hear them sing while seeing the characters mourn the loss of their loved one. So, right off the bat, viewers were hit in the heart. That was only the beginning of the trailer. It got sadder as the teaser continued.
Ramonda (played by Angela Bassett) had an emotional scene during Wakanda Forever that was used in the teaser. It could have been saved for the movie, but it seemed appropriate for the first look at the project. It showed that the trailer wasn’t the only place where Chadwick Boseman’s memory would be mentioned in a touching way. Hearing Ramonda ask if she hasn’t given up everything was tough to hear. That wasn’t just acting. You could tell Angela Bassett missed Chadwick Boseman. That came from a place of genuine pain.
***WARNING!!! SPOILERS FOR BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER AHEAD!!!***
A tribute for a king
Another thing to note is that Marvel Studios had a job to do. There was going to be another Black Panther movie. While Marvel had a job to do, they made sure everything was handled with care. The same effort was taken when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally debuted.
T’Challa’s passing was the first part of the movie. Shuri was doing whatever she could to keep her brother alive. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Instead of doing something distasteful like showing a CGI body, they focused on the people who felt his loss. Soon after that, there was a ceremony for T’Challa. That’s where viewers see how Wakanda handles the passing of a king. It was both futuristic and paid homage to Wakanda’s culture. Not too sad, but not overly happy either. It was a perfect balance for everyone watching the film.
Then, T’Challa’s Chadwick Boseman was given the entire Marvel Studios intro. Inside the logo were moments from Boseman as both T’Challa and the Black Panther. During this there was a sorrowful stillness in the theater. Everyone knew that this was the last time we’d see T’Challa and Boseman in a Marvel Studios movie. It was a classy move that highlighted him as a warrior, a king, and a person. However, it was also a heartbreaking realization.
A new Black Panther
Ryan Coogler had one of the toughest jobs out of everyone. He had to write Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and bring in a new protector of Wakanda. If you’re a fan of comic books, you were aware that Shuri held the title for a while. People who knew this wanted her to take the mantle. Even while Chadwick Boseman was with us. It seemed like the logical next step. Nevertheless, it still had to be done tastefully. Thankfully, Coogler is one of the elite writers and producers in Hollywood.
Shuri didn’t want to be the Black Panther. She felt that the title went away when T’Challa died and Killmonger destroyed the heart-shaped herb. When circumstances changed, Shuri changed her mind, recreated the heart-shaped herb with science, and became the new Black Panther.
It wasn’t a smooth transition. Even after taking up the title, she didn’t know what kind of leader she wanted to be. After N’Amor killed her mother, she wanted revenge. However, Shuri wasn’t sure if this is who she wanted to be. That internal struggle (with some help from Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger) helped make Shuri take up the mantle in a realistic way. She became the Black Panther on her own terms while honoring T’Challa and Boseman’s memory.
A new T’Challa
Lastly, Ryan Coolger did something genius. He cast T’Challa without recasting him. Instead of bringing in an adult to play T’Challa, he created a new one. The son of T’Challa and Nakia Haitian is named Toussaint (who was likely named after François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture), but his Wakandan name is Prince T’Challa. Now, there’s no recasting because this is a new T’Challa. A new one with a different legacy.
Going forward, we will likely see something happen with the timestream. Prince T’Challa will be aged up to eventually take over as the new Black Panther. Whether he’s an adult or teenager remains to be seen. However, don’t worry. As we’ve seen it won’t be done too soon or without couth. We can trust that Marvel/Disney will treat the adjustment with the care we’ve seen and it deserves. This honors both the memory of T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the man (Chadwick Boseman) who’s sorely missed.
What do you think, readers? Did you appreciate the way Marvel handled Chadwick Boseman’s passing and how the Black Panther legacy was carried? Let us know in the comments below.