Entertainment

Marvel Fans Are Divided on Whether T’Challa Should Have Been Recast in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Audiences are about evenly split on how the Marvel superhero franchise should proceed in the wake of actor Chadwick Boseman’s death

A still image from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which hits theaters on Friday. About 2 in 5 Marvel fans said the role of T’Challa should be recast after the death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the role in 2018's "Black Panther." (Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Co.)

When “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” premieres in U.S. theaters on Friday, it will have the difficult task of not only repeating the success of its predecessor, but also carrying out the legacy of its central hero.

Following the 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular superhero T’Challa in 2018’s “Black Panther” and other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige were faced with a near-impossible decision on how to move the franchise forward, including whether or not to recast the role.

They ultimately decided not to recast T’Challa (the character’s death is a major plot point of the sequel), despite some fans calling for them to do so. Now, new Morning Consult data reveals that audiences are almost evenly split when it comes to the question of recasting the Black Panther in the anticipated sequel. 

Marvel Fans Divided on Recasting T’Challa for ‘Black Panther’ Sequel

Respondents were asked if they think the main character in “Black Panther” should have been recast for the sequel following Chadwick Boseman’s death

Survey conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,217 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

How to honor Chadwick Boseman’s legacy as King T’Challa

  • Nearly equal shares of U.S. adults said the role should have (30%) and should not have (33%) been recast, while 37% had no opinion.
  • Self-identified Marvel fans narrowly preferred recasting the role, with 39% saying it should have been recast and 35% saying it should not have been. 
  • Among generations, Gen Z adults were most likely to say the role should not have been recast, with a slight majority (51%) supporting Marvel’s decision to move forward without a new T’Challa. 
  • Black adults were more likely to say the role should have been recast: 45% said as much, while 34% said it shouldn’t have been recast. Following Boseman’s death, some petitions emerged calling for Marvel to recast King T’Challa to keep the character’s legacy alive on screen.
  • Despite Marvel’s decision not to recast the role, nearly half (49%) of adults said they are interested in seeing the film, while 67% of Marvel fans said they are interested in seeing it.
1 in 3 Marvel Fans Say No Remaining Character Should Wear ‘Black Panther’ Suit Next

Marvel fans were asked to consider the remaining characters in the story and choose whom they would most want to see wear the Black Panther suit next

Survey conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,436 self-identified fans of Marvel films and TV shows, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

Will anyone wear the Black Panther suit next?

  • Morning Consult data shows that 33% of Marvel fans don’t think there should be another Black Panther. 
  • From a list of potential “Black Panther” characters given to respondents, 15% of Marvel fans said Shuri (Letitia Wright) should wear the suit next, followed by Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia (14%) and Winston Duke’s M’Baku (12%), while 19% said it should be another character from the film. The sequel’s trailer confirms someone will be wearing the Black Panther suit, while in the Marvel comics, Shuri eventually steps up to don the suit.

The future of the Black Panther franchise

It’s clear that some Marvel fans have strong feelings about not wanting another character to be the Black Panther following Boseman’s death. But superheroes in other MCU films and Disney+ series, like “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye,” have already hinted at passing their mantles on to other characters. 

Disney+’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” confirmed that Anthony Mackie, who previously portrayed Falcon, will be the next Captain America in an upcoming standalone film, so it’s likely only a matter of time before the Black Panther title is given to another actor and character as well. Probably as soon as this weekend.

The Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,217 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.