As Black Panther: Wakanda Forever approaches the end of its exclusive theatrical window, those who persevered in making the film despite the loss of Chadwick Boseman have continued to share their thoughts on how the film evolved following the actor’s death. Winston Duke, whose M’Baku grew to be a close and trusted ally of Boseman‘s T’Challa, has emerged as a rising star in Hollywood and the conclusion of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever leaves his character in an incredibly important position: as the new King of Wakanda. While M’Baku holds the throne, for now, Duke isn’t afraid to peer pragmatically into the future.
In an interview with Esquire, Duke talked in depth about the passing of his friend, how it shaped the sequel and what he believes the future of the character to be. In Duke‘s mind, it’s not a matter of if Marvel Studios will recast the role of T’Challa, made famous by Boseman, it’s a matter of when.
There’s no way they’ll never remake Black Panther in the future. 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.Winston Duke
While the near future of the cinematic iteration of the World of Wakanda would seem to be prepared to focus on former Dora Milaje General Okoye and the son of T’Challa and heir to the throne of Wakanda introduced in Wakanda Forever, Duke‘s comments are likely in line with some longer-term plans of Marvel Studios. The Multiverse Saga is currently set to wrap up in 2026 with Avengers: Secret Wars, a film that will almost certainly involve familiar heroes from different timelines who may, in some cases, be portrayed by unfamiliar actors. Given that possibility, it’s not hard to imagine Marvel Studios taking the opportunity to cast another actor as T’Challa, a move that would, in a way, not strictly be a recast but still provide the opportunity for more stories about one of Marvel Comics most well-developed characters to be told. Future stories in the MCU could see T’Challa interacting with Reed Richards, Storm and Namor, characters with whom a rich comic book history as been developed. As Duke said, T’Challa “is canon”, but allowing Boseman’s friends and family to go through their own “human experience” rightly took precedent over cinematic stories.