Scoop: Who Is the Next Black Panther?
Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner
The King is dead; long live the Princess.
After Chadwick Boseman passed away on August 28, 2020 from colon cancer, it broke the world's heart. He was such a gifted, charismatic actor taken down in his prime. Since then, I have been silent on the future of the Black Panther franchise from Marvel Studios.
A large part of my reason for doing so was that I felt it would be in poor taste to discuss what could possibly happen to the character. I was so shocked by Boseman's death, so saddened by it, that there was no way I could possibly contact anyone and ask them what they knew. A few months later, my father would suddenly die from cancer, and the shadow of death loomed over like a dark cloud. When Boseman died, his work, his life, needed to be celebrated, his loss mourned. Black Panther 2 seemed irrelevant at that point. I was going to write a tribute to Boseman at Geekosity, and I couldn't find the words. I couldn't accept that he was gone already; it was so soon.
But as the months flew by, I started hearing things. No, not the speculation or gossip online; I avoided all of that but I did see headlines and received questions from people wondering what was going to happen next.
After discussing if this was an appropriate time with the members of my Geekosity private Facebook page, they, for the most part, agreed it was time for me to reveal what I know.
Because I waited this long, and I have no regrets about that, what I'm about to say probably won't shock you.
First, Marvel Studios hasn't made the final decision yet on who will be the next Black Panther. However, they are leaning towards Letitia Wright, who played T'Challa's sister Shuri. I say "leaning" because they contemplated other options but there is no doubt in my mind, nor those of the insiders I spoke to, that she is the one.
Second, she won't automatically be Black Panther. She has to prove herself in the sequel. Is she worthy of being the next Black Panther? The Black Panther is not really a specific character but a title that is passed on from one generation to another like another jungle-based superhero, the comic-strip icon the Phantom.
Third, people have asked me if Doctor Doom or Namor will be the ones who kill T'Challa. No. Namor may start off as somewhat of a bad guy - misunderstood, really - but no character who will have his own superhero franchise eventually will be T'Challa's murderer. He'd be the most despised person in the MCU. Similarly, Doom will reside in that "gray" area of good and evil. T'Challa is such a beloved character that it'd remove any empathy that audiences would have for Doom. Who, then? I do not know, and I'm told Marvel Studios doesn't know yet, either.
Fourth, every source I contacted was firm in T'Challa not being recast. He is a significant part of Boseman's legacy. He will always be T'Challa, forever in our hearts.
Now it's Wright's turn to create a legacy of her own, one that is rooted in the comic books as well when Shuri became Black Panther.
Your answer has been there all along.
Black Panther title card graphic by Montajesasgaya