It seems the MCU almost had two Black Panthers as the story goes, and it’s easy to believe. Letitia Wright, star of the franchise, revealed the plans for this in an interview with Empire Film Podcast. Perhaps if this idea was introduced in Wakanda Forever, it would have changed the film a bit, but it might have made the movie stand out in a way that would have silenced a lot of criticism. Sadly, Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020, which put an end to the idea quickly.
Many think that two Black Panthers would have been an interesting development in the story, and they’re not wrong; it’s certainly interesting to think of how much would have changed. Would Talokan remain Atlantis? Namor and T’Challa have had a couple of scraps over the years in the comics, so it feels right to say a few aspects of this movie would have come through in a much different way. There is no denying that Wakanda Forever is a great action movie, but it lost a lot of its soul when Boseman passed away. While we can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose a friend a have the world call for their replacement on a project you both worked on, recasting T’Challa would have still been the right choice. A second actor taking over the mantle of Black Panther would have silenced a lot of haters. The reason for this is that T’Challa has far more world experience compared to Shuri. Not only that, but while they’ve both taken on the mantle of Black Panther in the comics, T’Challa still stands out more than his sister.
Two Black Panthers Would Have Decimated Namor
The fight between Namor and Shuri felt a bit dicey, but against two Black Panthers, there’s no way that Namor would have won. It’s fair to say that Namor is arrogant enough, but not dumb enough, to take on Shuri and T’Challa at the same time.
Many fans still think that even with the Black Panther powers, Shuri doesn’t have the combat training and experience it takes to dominate Namor on her own. Her intellect and her fighting skills paired together are impressive but with a second Black Panther by her side, the king of Talokan would have stood no chance.
Recasting T’Challa Would Have Been the Right Choice
The fact is that Boseman’s family was ready to see this happen. But for whatever reason it was scrapped as an idea, and Shuri took over the mantle of Black Panther. There’s only one issue here, Shuri wasn’t given the adequate tools needed to take over as lead. For instance, much of the first half of the film was seemingly led by Angela Bassett, and most of the character’s most dynamic scenes were shared with Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s Namor, with very little of that dynamism on her own. However, this is not a reflection on Wright, a great actress who did an excellent job with the role. This could also likely point to the fact that the character was not ready to assume the mantle of lead yet. If the role of T’Challa had been recast, Shuri would have had enough time to come into her own as a superhero and franchise leader. There’s no doubt that she’ll grow if there’s another movie, but right now it feels as though she hasn’t escaped the supporting actor role.
The Two Black Panthers Idea Can Still Happen
Given a time jump and the maturation of Shuri’s nephew, Toussaint/T’Challa, the possibility of having two Black Panthers could occur in the MCU. Whether this idea is still in consideration or not is unknown, but it does sound as though it could keep things rolling. The fact that there is still a young T’Challa is a good sign since it could mean that the MCU is ready to think about replacing Boseman’s character in a natural manner.
Wright has been expanding her résumé with many new roles including in Small Axe and The Silent Twins, so it will be interesting to see if she stays with the MCU long term. Many MCU actors come and go as they find other projects to work on. However, if she’s tied to the MCU at this point it’s very likely that fans can expect to see more of her in the foreseeable future. If another project comes along that takes her a while, it could benefit the idea of a time jump. Either way, young T’Challa is the key to seeing two Black Panthers in a movie.
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