We’re now over two months on from Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death and there have doubtless been more than a few meetings between Kevin Feige and Ryan Coogler about how to proceed with Black Panther 2. Most of the rumors we’ve heard point in the same direction, which is that they’re not going to recast the role. But the other story that’s been doing the rounds concerns who will take on the mantle next.
Fans and sources have all put forward the same name and now scooper Mikey Sutton has joined them. He’s claiming that it’s pretty much certain that Letitia Wright’s Shuri is taking up the mantle. According to him, the studio considered other options, but the fan favorite heroine is definitely the one.
He says that Black Panther 2 will be about her proving that she’s worthy of the title as well, mourning her older brother and feeling like she has impossibly big shoes to fill. Mysteries still remain, though, as Sutton doesn’t know how T’Challa will die or who might kill him, save that Marvel Studios are aware that whoever does the deed will be seen as irredeemable by fans and as such, are avoiding big villains like Namor or Doctor Doom.
She won’t automatically be Black Panther. She has to prove herself in the sequel. Is she worthy of being the next Black Panther? The Black Panther is not really a specific character but a title that is passed on from one generation to another like another jungle-based superhero, the comic-strip icon the Phantom.
People have asked me if Doctor Doom or Namor will be the ones who kill T’Challa. No. Namor may start off as somewhat of a bad guy – misunderstood, really – but no character who will have his own superhero franchise eventually will be T’Challa’s murderer. He’d be the most despised person in the MCU. Similarly, Doom will reside in that “gray” area of good and evil. T’Challa is such a beloved character that it’d remove any empathy that audiences would have for Doom. Who, then? I do not know, and I’m told Marvel Studios doesn’t know yet, either.
None of this will be a surprise to MCU followers, of course. After all, we’ve been hearing for years that Marvel Studios have always been planning for Letitia Wright’s Shuri to eventually step up and inherit the title of Black Panther, just as she did in the original comics. What’s new, however, is that the schedule has been bumped up after Boseman’s passing.
Wright herself has refused to be drawn into the speculation, though, with her sole comment on Black Panther 2 being:
“We’re just still mourning Chad, so it’s not something I even want to think about. The thought of doing it without him is kinda strange. We’re just grieving at the moment, so it’s trying to find the light in the midst of it.”
She’s entirely correct that the future of a superhero franchise is insignificant in comparison to the tragedy of Boseman’s death. Still, judging by his charity work in connection with the role, he clearly cared a lot about how T’Challa inspired young fans. And if Black Panther 2 could continue that process via Shuri, it seems like he would have approved.