The actor who plays M’Baku, Winston Duke, has officially weighed in on the Recast T’Challa controversy. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set for release on November 11th, 2022 and there is a controversy surrounding the mantle of the Black Panther in the film. Kevin Feige himself said that it was too soon to recast T’challa; however, many believe that a non-immediate recast of T’Challa is necessary to continue the legacy of the character. The Recast T’Challa movement has spread across the internet but it seems that Marvel has no plans to recast Black Panther.
M’Baku himself, Winston Duke has shared his opinion on the Recast T’Challa controversy on the “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” podcast (via ComicBook). The actor states that in his mind the role of the Black Panther belongs to Chadwick Boseman and the character wouldn’t be the same without him. He believes that Boseman was quintessential in the formation of the character as we know him. He also states that as an actor, everything you are is poured into the character. So, in his mind the role of the Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman are one in the same. You can see Winston Duke’s full comment below:
“I think for this iteration of Black Panther, it’s very hard for me to really comment on something like that. Because, I’m of the mind that this is Chadwick’s role. Chadwick created this and ‘Black Panther’ wouldn’t be the same without Chadwick Boseman, who stood for the things that he stood for. When you cast a person, you’re also casting their experiences, you’re casting their politics, you’re casting their all of these thing. ‘Black Panther’ was heavily defined by the actor that did it, in my opinion.”
I really understand where Winston Duke is coming from, but I feel like I respectfully disagree. While Boseman was paramount in the formation of the character of T’Challa and the mantle of the Black Panther, another actor could easily put their own spin on the character and extend the legacy.
Sure, we haven’t officially seen Black Panther: Wakanda Forever yet so we don’t know how they are going to handle Chadwick Boseman’s passing, but based on the trailers it seems like it is a driving force in the film. If that is the case, then it will be really hard to recast T’Challa in the future. For now, it looks like the mantle will be passed on to another character. Make sure you check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever when it hits theaters on November 11th, 2022.