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Explaining why the character of Black Panther is not dead in fiction and in real life.

Black Panther is not dead.

Since the death of Chadwick Boseman and the president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige announcing they will not be recasting the titular character in the MCU, many people have been divided on the choice made by the head of Marvel Studios himself. Some people believe Black Panther shouldn’t be recast, some people believe he should be recast, some people believe his sister should be the new Black Panther, and others think that another character, a part of the Black Panther lore, should take over the mantle. But I believe that these could be plausible outcomes, along with the multiverse being a way to do so. Let’s dive into why BLACK PANTHER IS NOT DEAD.

First, the people who say that BLACK PANTHER IS DEAD are “BLACK PEOPLE”, period. I keep reading comments from articles online about Black People telling their children that BLACK PANTHER IS DEAD, which is the more ridiculous [or “dumbest”] thing I have ever heard. It’s not like Black Panther died from cancer in the months or years after the events from AVENGERS: ENDGAME, it’s not like he is dead in the comics. The ACTOR that portrayed him in 4 MCU films is the one who unfortunately has succumbed to a life-threatening illness.

For anybody - not just Black People - to make kids believe that an actual character has died is CRAZY. It’s like saying all the Looney Toons characters from Bugs Bunny to Yosemite Sam died when Mel Blanc died or Superman died when Christopher Reeve died or Mickey Mouse should be dead after Walt Disney died or a guy wearing a Santa outfit breaks into the home and is shot dead in self-defense by the homeowner. Does that mean that Santa is dead? The guy dressed like them possibly is (Laughs). But the point that I am making is that there is a clear distinction between the character and the actor that is portraying the said character, and the actor that played T’Challa is unfortunately no longer here.

I get that his portrayal was powerful, and it symbolized something significant in the hearts and minds of one of the most marginalized groups (especially everything that the majority has been through) and I am one of many people who were happy to see someone that talented bring that character to life. But BLACK PARENTS, you all have to stop being so extreme and telling your kids an unnecessary lie that a character has died. In summary with this point, BLACK PANTHER IS ALIVE, and the ACTOR is unfortunately DEAD.

Now if I was an anti-recaster of Black Panther, my reasonings for not recasting Mr. Boseman is because “it would mess with the continuity of the MCU''. Mr. Boseman was a powerful actor and is the “definitive portrayal of the character”, and that I wouldn’t believe that “anybody else could portray T’Challa as Chadwick Boseman did”. It’s like if someone else recast Blade because Wesley Snipes is the definitive version of the character (OH WAIT, they are). But I am very much “pro-casting” and my reasoning is probably obvious. I believe that someone else should have the chance to play the character to bring something new to the role, I believe Black Panther is too valuable as a character to retire, and I believe Black Panther has so many adventures ahead of him.

A lot of anti-recasters think that “Shuri should take the mantle of Black Panther'' and I agree but not in the way you think I agree. Shuri has become the Black Panther in the comics periodically and I believe she is being set up to eventually become Black Panther in the MCU just not prematurely (there is a clear process to the MCU connective storytelling formula). Hearing Black People, or in this case, some black women, saying that “Shuri should be the next Black Panther because she can be a good role model for young black girls'' is narrow-minded because as a mother you should be your little girl's role models or even better, THEIR SUPERHERO. But I also get it as well, white little girls have “Wonder Woman”, “Captain Marvel'', “Black Widow'', and colored girls do not have that (CW’s Batwoman doesn't count). So instead of focusing on Shuri being a role model, we should protest for more colored girls or women superheroes to be placed on the big screen (luckily we are about to get the original “Female Captain Marvel'' soon because of “WandaVision” so that should be exciting).

Also, Black People, you don’t own Black Panther, his lore, his supporting cast, nor the aesthetic the world is based on. Black Panther was created by two Jewish males - Jack Kirby and Stan Lee - for a “white-owned” “comic publication” company. Black Panther and his world are their ideas of a non-colonized African City (I also have a post in the works about “A Black Utopia” you should look out for).

So summing up my point from the last few paragraphs:

  • anti-recasters want one thing, pro-recasters want the opposite of what anti-recasters want,

  • Shuri shouldn’t be Black Panther right away

  • Black Panther wasn’t created by or is owned by Black People so “stop acting like you all do” (also I would love to do a piece on Blaxploitation since Black Panther falls in this category)

So how can we make everybody happy? My theory is that Marvel Studios is going to be using an interesting story device to preserve Chadwick Boseman's portrayal and recast panther at the same time, and that is by using the multiverse. In "Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'' I theorize the Multiverse will implode itself (especially from the events of WandaVision) and will break the current reality of the MCU. This will make a new prime Earth (not to confuse people who know DC comics mythos/lore) where some elements will be changed, altered, or even erased from the main timeline. In theory, Chadwick Boseman Black Panther will be replaced with the same character from another dimension that is still T'Challa but looks different, and it doesn't take away from Chadwick Boseman's portrayal of the character. I honestly hope this could be a way to do the replacement actor justice. Plus this would be smart on Marvel Studios' part from a business standpoint because by doing this Chadwick Boseman is still T'Challa in a newly created timeline, the same character is in the newly altered MCU but looks much different with many characters not noticing the difference, and Marvel Studios can move forward with using T'Challa in their upcoming stories with no interference.

Also, Daniel Kuluuya's character in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan's "Killmonger" being resurrected and turned retroactively into the new Black Panther, and having a newly created character become Black Panther are all plausible, but "less likely". I believe Marvel Studios is trying to keep Black Panther in the MCU and to explain how Black Panther looks different if they do the Multiverse route. Plus, can you blame them for not knowing what to do with a character after the actor dies unexpectedly that even the studio didn't even know he was sick? So in summary, the Multiverse recon Chadwick Boseman Black Panther portrayal in a way it doesn't affect continuity, and the likelihood of another character to become Panther is slim to none.

I know that Chadwick Boseman left a legacy portrayal from a character and many other characters that have changed the way a marginalized group of people who have had a history of injustice in a country was forced to be in to see themselves through this particular film that portrays them in such a powerful light (and basing it off of the dream of an African kingdom not colonized by European Caucasians). To think "there is a character that looks like me," says the little black boy who is going to grow up in a land that doesn't see you in the same way as the hero you idolize on film or the little black girl who sees an intelligent, confident, powerful and skilled black princess that makes her want to be just like her in a way when she grows up. Chadwick Boseman died unexpectedly and without telling the public of his hidden battle, hoping to recover in time to do Black Panther II (now entitled "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever") and other projects he was going to be in.

I can’t imagine how so many people - friends and fans alike - were caught off guard because of the way he died and the decision to keep his condition within his small trusted circle so the public's opinion as to what happened to the character was based on a time of morning where emotions were running high. I know we see the film BLACK PANTHER through multiple lenses as people of color, comic book fans, film critics, or even black nationalization and pride. But what I can ensure you is that despite the disagreement and controversy about the handling of a character after the actor dies, the steps or decisions we fans, moviegoers, and film critics may think the action that the studio should take from a sudden loss of a talent that evoked such debate, all I can just is that "BLACK PANTHER IS NOT DEAD".

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