Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Winston Duke wishes some fans hadn’t pushed so hard to recast T’Challa after Chadwick Boseman passed unexpectedly in 2020.
The fan campaigns to recast Boseman included the trending hashtag #RecastTChalla over the summer. And a Change.org petition argued that recasting T’Challa would be a way to honor Boseman’s legacy.
But in a new Esquire profile, Duke, who plays M’Baku in the Black Panther films, notes that when fans demand a new actor in the role Boseman brought to life, “they center their own need for a character when none of this would be possible if the people who brought this to life didn’t participate, from behind the scenes to in front of it.”
The entire Black Panther creative team made Black Panther: Wakanda Forever while mourning Boseman, and the film is a tribute to his memory. Everyone involved with the production has said since Boseman’s death that no one could replace him as T’Challa in the sequel — and that not recasting the role was a matter of honoring and respecting their friend.
As Duke said in an interview with Jemele Hill last month, “I’m of the mind that this is Chadwick’s role. Chadwick created this. Black Panther wouldn’t be the same without Chadwick Boseman.”
But in his conversation with Hill, and his Esquire interview, Winston Duke noted that the character of T’Challa will probably rejoin the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some form, given the frequent reboots and endless multiverses in the realm of comic-book movies. He just asked fans to give it a little more time.
“There’s no way they’ll never remake Black Panther in the future,” Duke told Esquire. “There’s no way that the saga and interpretation of T’Challa, King of Wakanda, will end. He is canon. So trust that it’ll come. But allow this to be a human experience.”
The entire Esquire profile, by Hunter Harris, is very worth reading.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters.
Main image: Winston Duke as M’Baku.