Wakandans, rejoice! A petition to recast Black Panther’s T’Challa is gaining traction. While Marvel announced in late 2020 that the character would be retired upon the death of the late, great Chadwick Boseman, fans are calling for the role to be recast as a tribute to his legacy.
In a statement by Marvel president Kevin Feige, the gavel was seemingly laid down with finality.
“I wanted to acknowledge the devastating loss of a dear friend and member of the Marvel Studios family,” Feige said. “Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally. His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past.”
In April of 2021 however, Chicago film critic and lifelong Marvel fan, Emmanuel Noisette launched a petition to bring the character back to life. The petition reads in part:
“By not recasting, it could stifle the opportunity for one of the most popular, leading Black superheroes to add on to their legacy. The #1 way to kill a legend, is to stop telling their story. “
As of today, the petition has over 50,000 signatures, a huge bite taken out of its 75,000 signature goal.
“Recast T’Challa to honor Chadwick Boseman in the Black Panther Franchise,” the petition additionally reads. “If Marvel Studios removes T’Challa, it would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him. That includes the millions of fans who were inspired by the character as well.”
“T’Challa was the “epitome of positive Black representation,” Noisette told HuffPost. “We’re asking Marvel to eventually recast the character to allow Chadwick Boseman to hopefully be the first of many” T’Challas to follow.”
He expressed that even though he never explicitly stated his wishes before his death, that Chadwick thought T’Challa was bigger than just himself as one guy, and that “Chadwick knew the power of the character, and the positive influence it carries.”
While we’re not sure what impact the petition will ultimately have on the final decision made by Marvel studios, we know that Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, and the evidence of his dedication to the craft will live on, both on and off of the screen.