Before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was made, Marvel Studios initially planned on having more than one Black Panther in the MCU at once.
Black Panther 2 served as an emotional tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman and his T’Challa after his passing, leading to Letitia Wright’s Shuri taking over the superhero mantle to honor her late brother. Leading up to the sequel’s release, the question of who would take over that mantle was one that drove conversations amongst fans, especially with a few worthy options on the table.
Following Boseman’s passing, Marvel Studios had some difficult choices to make with regard to his character and the Black Panther title, having to change most of the plot to focus on Shuri, Ramonda, Okoye, and M’Baku as a leading quartet.
But before those changes came to be, Marvel wasn’t actually limiting the number of leading heroes in the sequel to only one.
Two Black Panthers Originally in Black Panther 2
Speaking on the Empire Podcast, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Letitia Wright revealed that Marvel Studios originally planned to have both Shuri and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa serve as the Black Panther simultaneously.
When asked about her emotions putting the suit on for the first time, Wright looked back on it being a bittersweet moment while sharing that “Shuri was always gonna do it.” She explained that she and Boseman would have suited up alongside each other, trying to figure out how to best defend Wakanda together:
Empire: “I imagine there’s a lot of weight attached to that suit for many reasons. Can you talk me through your emotions putting on that suit and stepping onto set, and what the reaction was?
Wright: “It was bittersweet. Shuri was always gonna do it. But it was gonna be done in a different way where her brother was gonna be alongside her, really explore that, like the comic books, the ways that T’Challa and Shuri would be Black Panther alongside each other and try to figure out how to defend their nation.”
Wright understood the responsibility of this moment after Boseman’s passing, even though she struggled with coming to terms with it, feeling “extremely proud” of what she accomplished:
“But unfortunately that’s not how it panned out. I knew the responsibility, I knew the weight of it, but it was just bittersweet, something I struggled with a lot. But I’m extremely proud of myself, had great support.”
She specifically touched on being “the first superhero that’s a black woman in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film” to earn the success that Black Panther 2 has earned, sharing her pride in being able to open the door for future stars as well:
“But now we’ve come to a full circle of the film being out, I’m just really proud of myself. As a black woman, being the first superhero that’s a black woman in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do those numbers, history’s being made as we sit here, and I’m a part of it, and that feels surreal. And that door has just been opened for another black woman to go and do that so I’m just proud, and I know my brother would be really proud of me too.”
Boseman and Wright Almost Teamed Up
Even though Letitia Wright had to take on the challenge of being the Black Panther on her own in this sequel, it appears that she was going to have to play a similar role no matter what happened in real life. After seeing the bond develop between Shuri and T’Challa in the MCU, particularly in 2018’s Black Panther, this would have added a new level of emotion and depth to their relationship as siblings as they would try to protect Wakanda in a post-Avengers: Endgame world.
While this plot point didn’t have the opportunity to be fully realized, fans saw how close Shuri and T’Challa were from start to finish in Black Panther 2, particularly as she learned that her hidden nephew was named after her late brother in the post-credits scene.
Now, Wright’s journey will go down new paths as she fully embraces her place as Wakanda’s leader, particularly as future movies pit her alongside some other heavy-hitters from other corners of the MCU. After all, her powers and Vibranium suit will certainly come in handy in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, as she’s already rumored to be part of the proceedings in 2025.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.