'#RecastTchalla' Continues To Trend On Twitter As Journalist Claims Chadwick Boseman Wanted People To 'See The Role And Not See Me'
After the MCU VP of Development, Nate Moore, announced on the Ringer-Verse Podcast last week that they would not be recasting T'Challa in the next Black Panther film, or for the foreseeable future, there were a lot of polarized reactions from fans.
"I will say the chances that you see T'Challa in our -- I'm not hedging my bets, I'm being quite honest -- T'Challa -- you will not see T'Challa in The MCU in the 616 Universe. We couldn't do it."
This announcement sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy, and #RecastTChalla quickly began trending, followed by a petition to recast the character.
There isn't a more accomplished black character in Marvel or DC. He isn't a race swap. He isn't anyone's former sidekick. He isn't a side character. He is a true GENUINELY BLACK A-list character in Marvel. The character cannot be replaced. We deserve to see him #RecastTchalla pic.twitter.com/z2MdfH2rol— T'Challa: The Black Panther facts (@Ekie0) November 11, 2021
The main issue is that there really is no clear right answer to this question: Does the MCU preserve the legacy of an incomparable an actor as Chadwick Boseman, possibly taking away a character that has quickly become a cultural touchstone, or do they simply spin the story off in some way and introduce a new, similar hero, preserving the legacy but effectively killing T'Challa?
Some have wished that they could simply ask Boseman what he would have wanted - and yesterday, they sort of got their wish, when journalist Rowland Martin said this on his show:
"It's always tough when we lose someone that we greatly respected, but the value of the work really means that they live forever. And that was one of the things that when Chadwick Boseman and I were texting - this was April last year, he had been ill, people were commenting on his weight loss - and he said to me... 'I want them to see the role and not see me.' He said, 'That is the job of an actor. Where it's not about me, it's about the role, and people remember the role.'"
It's not necessarily a clear directive, but the tone of that quotation has led many to believe that even Chadwick Boseman himself would have wanted the role of T'Challa recast after he died.
I started the #RecastTChalla petition because Chadwick wanted us to see the role. He believed it was bigger than him (via @rolandsmartin). If he believed the role was so important, then it shouldn't be stopped forever.— E-Man's Movie Reviews - #RecastTChalla (@EmansReviews) April 20, 2021
👉🏿: https://t.co/nVFbxKgVEF@Kevfeige @louisde2 @RobertIger pic.twitter.com/f7UwvZRoAf
This is certainly not a decision the result of which will be oppressive, and there is no hint of prejudice or malice from anyone involved - but this is still a case where a Black superhero is being treated differently than a white one would be. If something had happened to Chris Evans or Mark Ruffalo early on in their movie series, their roles would have been recast so that the series could continue the way it was planned. It is the nature of show business for those involved to simply say, "the show must go on."
That being said, it is also very possible that the reason for this hesitancy to recast is even more human than any of the critics are thinking. It's possible that the casting and production team is simply too saddened by Boseman's passing to consider having to film a whole movie with another man in his shoes. Though their petitions are impassioned and their pleas are well-backed, fans may be forgetting that the producers may simply not be able to emotionally handle the recasting process at this time, on top of the emotional investment that must go into making a movie as big and beloved as this. They are, after all, human.
The show may have to go on - but if it is going to result in actual pain for the production team, the movie will inevitably suffer for it. If they must wait, they should wait - but to never recast T'Challa, everyone seems to agree, would be a mistake.