Concerns ahead of “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever”

By Farah Bassyouni Nov 11, 2022

On Aug. 28, 2020, star actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancer. Boseman was known by most for his role as T’Challa, the Black Panther and king of the hidden civilization of Wakanda. 

Aided by the stellar direction and writing of Ryan Coogler, “Black Panther” had more depth than most MCU films. While the influence of Disney was still felt in some scenes, Coogler made up for that by writing some of the most well-developed characters in the franchise.

As a result of Coogler’s expertise, Boseman’s charismatic performance and the appeal of the film to a more diverse audience, “Black Panther” achieved more commercial success than any other origin superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 

Marvel Studios, of course, wants to continue to profit off of the success of the first film. After Boseman’s death, returning writer-director Ryan Coogler had to restructure the script for “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever.” 

Coogler has consistently defended his decision not to recast T’Challa in the face of a change.org petition that’s garnered over 62,000 signatures. Critic Emmanuel Noisette started the petition and says, “The #1 way to kill a legend is to stop telling their story.”

Recast or not, Marvel will have to be careful not to disrespect Boseman’s memory. President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said it’s too soon to recast the iconic character. If it’s too soon to recast the character, then is it also too soon to make this sequel? I think so.

I trust Ryan Coogler to make a movie that memorializes Chadwick Boseman and the character of T’Challa in a tasteful way. Who would be better to make a memorial film than the man who directed “Fruitvale Station?” My issue is, I do not trust Disney and Marvel Studios to allow Coogler to make the film that Boseman deserves.

The MCU is characterized by their now-infamous formula. The same, tired one-liners litter the dialogue, shallow villains have plans that don’t make much sense and over-the-top computer-generated fights are used to keep the audience’s attention.

Can Coogler make a film that pays homage to the actor while still meeting Marvel’s quotas? I don’t think anyone could. The MCU kills directorial vision and we’ve seen that in the past. 

Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors of all time. His fast-paced, cartoonish style always keeps me engaged. I was actually excited to see “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” when it was announced he would direct the film. When it was released, my friends told me not to see the film because it was completely devoid of his style.

The same can be said for Marvel’s “Eternals.” I couldn’t see a single aspect of Chloe Zhao’s auteurism in the film and was left severely disappointed. Nothing has changed since the release of those films, so why should fans believe that Marvel and Disney will allow Ryan Coogler to make the film that he wants to make? 

With Chadwick Boseman’s death, I fear that the release of “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” will use his death as a plot device and nothing more. If you care about Boseman and T’Challa’s legacy, I recommend rewatching the original film and checking out some of Boseman’s other work. “42,” “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” truly showcase the talent of the beloved star.

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