With the notable exceptions of Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner and Terrence Howard’s Rhodey, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has never been keen on the idea of recasting major characters, but one of the driving forces of the franchise’s Phase Four is the idea of legacy, with a new generation set to follow in the footsteps of the original Avengers.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier already appears to have Sam Wilson and John Walker vying for the title of Captain America, Black Widow director Cate Shortland all but confirmed that Yelena Belova is picking up the mantle, Kate Bishop is taking over from Clint Barton in Hawkeye, Riri Williams is on her way to Disney Plus in Ironheart and Jane Foster is set to become the Mighty Thor, but the most painful transition will happen in Black Panther 2.
After leading man Chadwick Boseman passed away, the sequel was thrown into chaos under the most tragic of circumstances, but shooting is penciled in to begin this summer with Wakanda set to name a new guardian superhero. And in a recent interview, Anthony Mackie revealed his belief that Boseman wouldn’t want to see T’Challa recast with another actor.
“No [he wouldn’t]. You can’t recast it. I mean, he did that role in a way that’ll never be done again, and I would hate for an actor to have to pick up the baton that he left behind, because, you know, there was no question he was a dynamic figure and amazing actor. And just looking at the reaction to Black Panther, there’s nobody that could bring the grace to that role that he did, so I wouldn’t want to see, you know, ‘Anthony Mackie as Black Panther’. That would be awful.”
Mackie is in a better position that most of the MCU’s stars to comment on what Boseman would have wanted, with the two having been friends for over 20 years, to the point that he recently admitted he’s still not emotionally ready to watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which looks set to land the late actor a posthumous Academy Award win. As for who the next Black Panther turns out to be, that’s still up for debate, but those are definitely big shoes to fill.