In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death, Marvel Studios were left with difficult decisions to make. As proven by the many moving tributes, Boseman was Black Panther to a generation of filmgoers and the problem is that in the MCU, T’Challa is very much alive after Avengers: Endgame. As far as I can see, then, they have three options: the first is to recast the role, the second is to attempt a posthumous digital performance and the third is to have the character die offscreen and pass down the mantle.
The first two choices would be problematic, as having another actor stepping into Boseman’s shoes seems disrespectful and bringing him back digitally is just creepy and tasteless. After all, all of Lucasfilm’s money and digital expertise didn’t stop Carrie Fisher’s Leia in The Rise of Skywalker from falling into the uncanny valley. And so, everything we’re hearing suggests that they’re going with the third choice, with the new Black Panther set to be Letitia Wright’s Shuri.
This passing down of the mantle to her would probably have happened anyway, of course, and it’s now looking like Shuri is going to be a key part of the next Avengers team. According to sources close to WGTC – the same ones who said Ben Affleck is returning as Batman in The Flash and the Fast & Furious franchise is heading into outer space – the lineup for the New Avengers will be Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, War Machine, Sam Wilson’s Captain America, Shang-Chi, Yelena Belova’s Black Widow, Wolverine and Shuri’s Black Panther.
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Of course, plans can always change for some of these heroes, but Shuri should definitely be a lock, filling the tech genius role vacated by Tony Stark with a cool Wakandan twist. Perhaps, as we saw in some recent fan art, she could even play a version of Marvel Comics character Ironheart and combine the Black Panther and Iron Man armor into something new? Iron Panther, anyone?
Whatever the case, don’t expect a new Avengers movie for some time yet. Marvel Studios has said they currently have no immediate plans for a major superhero crossover after Avengers: Endgame and all future films being pushed back because of COVID-19 means it’ll be the mid-2020s before we see this team in action. In any case, we’ll be sure to keep you posted as and when we learn more.