Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman would want T'Challa role recast, brother says

More than 43,000 people have signed an online petition encouraging Marvel to keep the character of T'Challa.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa could live on.

Matt Kennedy/Marvel

When Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020 of colon cancer, there was no question the actor couldn't be replaced in fans' hearts. Disney, which owns Marvel Entertainment, was quick to say that while the studio might use the superhero title Black Panther for another character, they'd honor Boseman by not casting anyone to play T'Challa, the Wakandan king who held the Black Panther title in the 2018 film

That's not exactly new to superhero lore. Hero titles get bounced around from person to person all the time, especially in comics. But now that more than a year has passed since Boseman's death, some fans seem to be willing to consider the idea of another actor playing not just Black Panther, but T'Challa himself. One of those people is Boseman's own brother, Derrick, who told TMZ that he thinks his brother would be OK with a new T'Challa.

According to TMZ, Boseman's brother says Chadwick "thought T'Challa was bigger than just himself," and "knew the power of the character, and the positive influence it carries."

And though he says his brother never overtly expressed what he thought should happen with the character, he's sure Chadwick would want the influential T'Challa to live on.

Some fans want that too. A Change.org petition urging Marvel Studios to recast T'Challa has more than 43,000 signatures as of Tuesday. Of course, such petitions have no real power, but they can reveal whether fans would be supportive of such a big change.

The petition notes that recasting T'Challa "is not a call to replace Chadwick Boseman," adding, "No one could ever do that." And it's open to characters such as Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister, taking up the Black Panther title. But it argues that T'Challa has history and significance in Black culture. 

"T'Challa's character was only scratching the surface with his story in the MCU, and there is so much more left to tell," the petition reads.

The Black Panther sequel, Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever, is far enough along in production that it wouldn't be affected by any decision about a new T'Challa. That film is scheduled for a Nov. 11, 2022 release.

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos