[This post contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.]
Yes, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now out in the world, but some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are still taking issue with the sequel’s decision to prioritize other characters in the world of Wakanda instead of recasting King T’Challa after the surprising 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman. One person who isn’t particularly concerned with their opinion is Winston Duke, who stars as M’Baku.
“...they center their own need for a character when none of this would be possible if the people who brought this to life didn’t participate, from behind the scenes to in front of it,” the Us actor says in a new interview with Esquire.
Following Boseman’s death, writer/director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige concluded that not recasting the role would be the most respectful way to proceed. Though it meant that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would not bring the established comics rivalry between T’Challa and Namor the Sub-Mariner to the screen, it also spared a new actor the impossible task of having to fill Boseman’s shoes both amongst a grieving cast and crew and the legions of fans who made the first installment over a billion dollars at the box office.
“There’s no way they’ll never remake Black Panther in the future,” Duke tells Esquire. “There’s no way that the saga and interpretation of T’Challa, King of Wakanda, will end. He is canon. So trust that it’ll come. But allow this to be a human experience.”
Sure enough, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concludes with the promise that T’Challa’s story is not over. In the post-credits sequence, it’s revealed that the Wakandan king and Nakia secretly had a son, also named T’Challa. While the new heir to the throne is still a child, there’s no doubt that he’ll be back when the pain of Boseman’s death is not so fresh. This also opens up other possibilities for faithfully depicting other elements from the comics in the future. For example, T’Challa has been married to Storm, and the MCU is just barely starting to introduce mutants, with no hints as to when the X-Men will form.