The following post contains SPOILERS for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Although it seems like Shuri was the most obvious choice to pick up T’Challa’s mantle as Black Panther in Wakanda forever, others were considered. After the tragic and untimely death Chadwick BosemanManager Ryan Cooler and screenwriter Joe Robert Cole faced a series of difficult decisions about the character’s future.
There were a number of potentials after Boseman’s passing. The first option was that Marvel abandoned the grade entirely. Considering which cultural landmark the first Black Panther was, it wasn’t really much of an option. Second, they could have moved the story away from the character and instead focused on the aftermath for other Wakandans. Third, they could have just casually hired another actor to play T’Challa. Instead of using either of those tactics, they decided to honor Boseman and his portrayal of the character while also choosing another character to pass the torch to.
That character ended up being Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. She is established as a scientific genius, skilled in inventions and technology. She’s also directly related to T’Challa, making her an obvious choice. Having said that, i a recent interview with Rolling stones, Joe Robert Cole explained that she was not the only character under consideration. Of course, every fan probably has a potential favorite character, but it looks like Cole had one too. Besides Shuri, M’Baku was also a frontrunner. Cole shared the following:
We would kick around the ideas and try to extrapolate where the story is going and what is the most impactful choice – what is the best journey? And where do you go after the film in terms of those characters? M’Baku was definitely one that got kicked around a bit. I think you’re right, because in the comics, Shuri is Black Panther, and there’s a natural organicity, I guess is the best way to put it, to her becoming the Panther. But you kick the tires on all sorts of ideas. And you just want to make the best decision and do what’s best for the story.
Just like with writing Namor, the writing team decided to stay true to the story and focus on where it led. When deciding on a sequel to T’Challa, they paid attention to what made sense from a plot perspective, rather than choosing a sequel first and then writing a story around them.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever now playing in theaters everywhere.
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