Following the Tragic Death of Iconic Star Chadwick Boseman, Disney and Marvel Will Struggle With Next Steps.
The death of Chadwick Boseman rocked Hollywood, Marvel fans and the general public. Dead at age 43 after suffering in silence from colon cancer. The world was shocked to find out that Boseman had filmed a number of high profile films including Black Panther and 42 while undergoing treatment for stage 3 colon cancer.
If you would like to learn more about colorectal cancer, do your part to find a cure and find additional information on what you can do in the wake of this tragedy check out the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website.
On Aug. 28, Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige received an urgent email regarding Chadwick Boseman. Neither Feige nor anyone else at Marvel knew that the star had been battling the disease for over 4 years.
According to sources, by the time Feige read the message, Boseman had passed away.
A source close to Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter that the 43-year-old actor was convinced until about a week before his death that he was going to beat cancer and would be able to gain the weight back for a Black Panther sequel that was scheduled to go into production in March. The actor was even set to prepare for the new film beginning in September.
Now, with Boseman gone, can Black Panther move forward? How does Marvel and Disney pay tribute to this incredible man and actor and re-cast this iconic Marvel hero?
Boseman was beloved on and off screen. He dedicated time, money and passion to helping black children see their own hero potential. He worked closely with a number of children’s charities.
When Black Panther was released in 2018, Boseman said, “T’Challa is smart. He’s a strategist and that has always been something that stood out to me, even in the comic books… He’s a world leader and with that comes the responsibility for an entire nation and considering its place in the world. That’s something that other Super Heroes don’t commonly have, but he must also uphold his legacy. It’s an interesting combination.”Chadwick Boseman via Walt Disney Company website
The reality for the studio and for fans is that the series and the story will move forward. The economic reality is that Marvel and Black Panther bring in a lot of money and the studio will have to find a way to honor the original hero who played T’Challa while taking the storyline forward.
Black Panther is interwoven through Marvel Universe. Boseman has already appeared in several other big name films for the franchise: Captain America: Civil War, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and last year’s all-time top box office grosser, Avengers: Endgame.
Disney has stated that they are not focusing on the production of the Black Panther prequel at this time and instead are focused on paying tribute to Boseman.
Disney sources say the company is processing its grief and that its focus at this stage is to pay tribute to Boseman and not on the making of a Black Panther sequel. Only a select few at Disney or Marvel were aware of Boseman’s illness prior to his passing as far as we know and the company’s are reeling from the loss.
According to a statement released by Disney:
“We are all heartbroken by the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman—an extraordinary talent, and one of the most gentle and giving souls I have ever met. He brought enormous strength, dignity and depth to his groundbreaking role of Black Panther; shattering myths and stereotypes, becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo. We mourn all that he was, as well as everything he was destined to become. For his friends and millions of fans, his absence from the screen is only eclipsed by his absence from our lives. All of us at Disney send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family.”Bob Iger
Still, despite deaths in other franchises, the death of Boseman is in many ways unprecedented. Much of that is due to Boseman being the primary in the story and it’s namesake.
So, what are the options?
- Re-cast Black Panther
- Write T’Challa out of the story and adjust the storyline to make Shuri, T’Challa’s sister the superhero Black Panther.
Regardless of the direction that the studio takes, there will be pushback and the franchise and series will be highly scrutinized for whatever decision is made.
However, the story should be told and we find it hard to believe that Boseman would want the story and impact of Black Panther to stop with him. The show must go on. Wakanda Forever.