Here’s What the #RecastTChalla Movement Means (And What It Doesn’t)

The passing of Chadwick Boseman was a tragic event that still resonates in the hearts of many fans. Marvel Studios has made the bold decision not to recast the character of T’Challa that Boseman portrayed. People have carried the assumption that Marvel’s decision was temporary, and that T’Challa will eventually be recast in the future. However, President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has made no attempt to suggest that their decision is temporary or conditional. This ultimately could mean that Marvel Studios will make the decision to kill the character off the character of T’Challa in the MCU. There is currently an active petition urging Marvel to reconsider this possible course action. 

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

As with any movement that lives on social media or the media in general, often times that movement’s narrative can get hijacked or misunderstood. To avoid that, this article will be the definitive narrative and definition of the #RecastTChalla movement. If any new misinterpretations or objections are formed over time, then this document will be updated to necessarily address them as such.

What Is #RecastTChalla All About?

This is a call for the President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, and Writer/Director Ryan Coogler to reconsider their decision, and recast the role of “T’Challa” in the Black Panther franchise.  Since it’s unlikely that Marvel will reboot the entire MCU, there’s a strong likelihood that Marvel will kill off the character of T’Challa. This call supports the idea of continuing the portrayal of the character that Chadwick Boseman worked so hard to build up. 

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Is It Too Soon To #RecastTChalla?

#RecastTChalla is not calling for an immediate recasting of the role. It is simply asking for the portrayal of the role not to be stopped or substituted by other characters. Marvel Studios can take whatever time they need to give audiences and those closer to the situation time to emotionally heal. Marvel Studios could even shuffle their dates around and use this idea to replace Black Panther 2 with the now greenlit Wanda series on Disney+. Either way, it is not necessary to kill off the character. There is no need to double down on the already tragic pain of losing Chadwick, only to compound that with losing the character of T’Challa as well.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Is It Disrespectful To Recast With Another Actor?

Not at all. Recasting the role of T’Challa is actually a move to show even more respect. Roles get recast when the character and their story are deemed too important to lose. Marvel’s demonstrated that with the character of “Bruce Banner” (Mark Ruffalo for Ed Norton) and “James Rhodes” (Don Cheadle for Terrence Howard). Unlike in sports where you can retire one’s jersey, the greatest honor is to be part of a linage of character portrayals as we’ve seen with other popular fictional characters. (e.g. Bond, Superman, Batman, etc.) When you do not recast, it gives off the indication that the character is expendable and replaceable.

Chadwick Boseman was fighting cancer while still trying to keep the role of T’Challa going. If anything, it shows more respect to all his hard work to recast the role and let another talented actor grab the baton. It respects and honors the work Chadwick Boseman poured into the role, which ultimately made the character so popular. We shouldn’t let Chadwick’s work be for nothing. Boseman’s career and memory should not be confined to the one role in Black Panther.  He believed in helping other actors, as he himself was once helped by Denzel Washington and others.

Fictional characters have always been made to live well beyond our lifetimes and the actors who portray them. There’s no better way to do that than to allow another talented Black actor to have an opportunity. Recasting ensures that future generations will not forget who T’Challa is nor will they ever forget that Chadwick Boseman was the very first to play T’Challa was on screen. Recasting allows for T’Challa to build his legacy as a character, and to keep Chadwick forever in our memories. #RecastTChalla believes we should honor Chadwick Boseman for what he’s done on and off the screen, without compromising the role of T’Challa.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

What About Those Closest to Chadwick Boseman That May Feel Differently? 

Chadwick’s impact in this world has effected not only his friends and family, but also the entire world who felt the impact of the Black Panther movie. This conversation is akin to loved ones trying to figure out how to best honor another loved one. There are no right or wrong answers here. More importantly, there is no disrespect intended with this call to recast either.

It is understandable how emotionally difficult it may be in the short-term to think of the notion of recasting, but that is why this call is not for immediate action. It is simply to request that Marvel not make a permanent move of killing off the character. The long term honor comes in the character being able to live on just like other popular characters (e.g. Superman, Batman, etc)

Hollywood has shown us that the best way to remember a person and their role is when it is recast. This way the character lives on, and so does the memory of the actor(s) who played the role. Chadwick made T’Challa so popular that the character has all the potential to become a household name like Iron Man’s Tony Stark or Steve Rogers’ Captain America. This call wants to respectfully preserve Boseman’s efforts, and keep that legacy going. The #1 way to kill any legend is to stop telling their story. Recasting T’Challa allows that legend to continue and honor Chadwick Boseman’s memory at the same time.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

What If I Can’t See Anyone Else Replacing Chadwick Boseman? 

Chadwick Boseman was nothing short of a phenomenal actor. His talent, career, and personal achievements far exceed what he’s contributed to the role of T’Challa in Black Panther. The call to #RecastTChalla is not to replace Chadwick because NO ONE could ever replace Chadwick Boseman. The call is to fulfill the fictional role of T’Challa that Boseman brought to prominence. 

It’s understandable that emotional, recency-bias may prevent us from seeing anyone else in the role. It’s also understandable that for the time being, fans can’t imagine anyone else taking on the role. History has demonstrated time and time again that fans tend to be skeptical of new castings for roles. Despite that, when a super talented, well known actor is put into the role, fans eventually become more accepting. Let us not forget the ridicule Heath Ledger received before he blew every one away with his legendary performance as Joker.

Chadwick Boseman believed that the roles he took on were bigger than himself. He knew how important the role of T’Challa was, and that was the primary reason he took on the role. (See him talk about T’Challa here) It seems highly unlikely that he would want the role to stop with him. The call is to allow another Black actor the opportunity to continue the work that Boseman heroically put into the character. If anything, recasting T’Challa honors everything Chadwick did and allows it to continue for generations to come.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Can’t Someone Else Be Black Panther Like Shuri? 

Yes, but that’s not the point. This is not about the mantle of who is the Black Panther. It is about the role and character of T’Challa. It doesn’t matter who Marvel wants to give the mantle to; T’Challa can still be present. This has even been the case in the comics too. Even if we are to draw from the comics, while Shuri was Queen and Black Panther, the character of T’Challa was still around. Both T’Challa and Shuri can coexist, and elevate, regardless of who’s technically the Black Panther.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Is #RecastTChalla Sexist In Preventing A Woman Or Others To Become The Next Black Panther?

Absolutely not. To the contrary, T’Challa’s presence was a perfect mechanism of demonstrating a strong Black man uplifting a strong Black woman. (And vice versa) There is no better form of representation for Black culture than to perpetuate the image of a Black man and woman being seen together, powerful, and supportive of one another. This call is not exclusionary to seeing anyone else take up the mantle of Black Panther. As a matter of fact, this is a call to allow T’Challa and anyone else (of any gender orientation) to excel at the same time.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Why Is the Role of T’Challa So Important?

The character was originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be an uplifting anti-stereotype during the late 1960s Civil Rights era. During that time, black characters were regulated to being just supporting characters or sidekicks playing up to simplistic stereotypes. T’Challa was specifically created to be the anti-stereotype to current depiction of Black characters at the time. He was the King of an independent, tech-advanced, uninfluenced, and never colonized African country. He was the epitome of what inclusion and representation means today. T’Challa was the very first Black superhero in mainstream comics. He’s also the very first leading Black MCU character that isn’t a supporting character. Thus, making T’Challa literally Black history. The character is similar to that of Jackie Robinson whereas he broke the barrier in allowing other Black comic characters to be leads in their own stories. T’Challa still has over 55 years worth of fantastic stories left to tell, and the MCU only scratched the surface with his arc.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Won’t Marvel Recast Or Reboot At A Later Time?

Currently, there is no indication that would happen. Marvel doesn’t even really reboot in their comic books. They do “soft retcons” such as killing off a character, going back in time, and getting a different version of that character. Nevertheless, the MCU continues. If Marvel wanted to do something like that with T’Challa, then that may work. However, the simplest option is to just recast rather than jumping through more hoops with a complex plot or explanation.

Click Here To Sign the #RecastTChalla Petition

Additional Resources:

        1. Video – Is Marvel Making a Mistake: Why They Should Recast T’Challa
        2. Podcast Video – Jason Johnson: Why ‘they need to recast T’challa’ | Brother From Another
        3. Article (The Grio) – How do we reconcile Black Panther without our King Chadwick Boseman?
        4. Article (Yahoo Entertainment) –  Marvel Should Recast T’Challa in ‘Black Panther’ to Honor Chadwick Boseman
        5. Article (BallstateDaily.com) – Why ‘Black Panther’ Should Be Recast
        6. Article (TheGww.com) – Making The Case For Recasting Black Panther
        7. Petition – Recast T’Challa and *continue* the hero Chadwick gave for young boys!
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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]