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The Change.org Team

Apr 9, 2021 — 

*FAQ in response to #RecastTChalla*

Is It Too Soon To #RecastTChalla?

#RecastTChalla is not calling for an immediate recasting of the role. It is simply asking for the portrayal of T'Challa not to be stopped or substituted by other characters. (e.g. Having a random son named T'Challa Jr.) Marvel Studios can take whatever time they need to give audiences and those closer to the situation time to emotionally heal. Marvel Studios could even shuffle their dates around and use this idea to replace Black Panther 2 with the now greenlit Wanda series on Disney+. Either way, it is not necessary to kill off the character. There is no need to double down on the already tragic pain of losing Chadwick, only to compound that with losing the character of T'Challa as well.

Is It Disrespectful To Recast With Another Actor?

Not at all. Recasting the role of T'Challa is actually a move to show even more respect. Roles get recast when the character is deemed too important to lose. Marvel's demonstrated that with the character of "Bruce Banner" (Mark Ruffalo for Ed Norton) and "James Rhodes" (Don Cheadle for Terrence Howard). Even if those recasts were under different circumstances, the point still remains that the studio deemed them important enough to continue. Unlike in sports where you can retire one's jersey, the greatest honor is to be part of a linage of character portrayals as we've seen with other popular fictional characters. (e.g. Bond, Superman, Batman, etc.) When you do not recast, it gives off the indication that the character is expendable, replaceable and less significant. 

Recasting respects and honors the work Chadwick Boseman poured into the role that he made so popular. Boseman was fighting cancer while still trying to keep the role of T'Challa going which indicates that he really believed in the impact and longevity of the role. (He was even signed on for a Black Panther 3 despite his health at the time.) We shouldn't let Chadwick's work be for nothing.  He believed in helping other actors, as he himself was once helped by Denzel Washington and others.

Fictional characters have always been made to live well beyond our lifetimes and the actors who portray them. There's no better way to do that than to allow another talented Black actor to have an opportunity. Recasting ensures that future generations will not forget who T'Challa is nor will they ever forget that Chadwick Boseman was the very first to play the role on screen. Recasting allows for T'Challa to build his legacy as a character, and to keep Chadwick forever in our memories. #RecastTChalla believes we should honor Chadwick Boseman for what he's done on and off the screen, without compromising the role of T'Challa.

What If I Can't See Anyone Else Replacing Chadwick Boseman?

Chadwick Boseman was nothing short of a phenomenal actor. His talent, career, and personal achievements far exceed what he's contributed to the role of T'Challa in Black Panther. The call to #RecastTChalla is not to replace Chadwick because NO ONE could ever replace Chadwick Boseman. The call is to fulfill the fictional role of T'Challa that Boseman brought to prominence. 

It's understandable that emotional, recency-bias may prevent us from seeing anyone else in the role. It's also understandable that for the time being, fans can't imagine anyone else taking on the role. History has demonstrated several times that fans tend to be skeptical of new castings for roles. Despite that, when a super talented, well known actor is put into the role, fans eventually become more accepting. Let us not forget the ridicule Heath Ledger received before he blew every one away with his legendary performance as Joker.

Chadwick Boseman believed that the roles he took on were bigger than himself. He knew how important the role of T'Challa was, and that was the primary reason he took on the role. (See him talk about T'Challa here) It seems highly unlikely that he would want the role to stop with him. The call is to allow another Black actor the opportunity to continue the work that Boseman heroically put into the character. If anything, recasting T'Challa honors everything Chadwick did and allows it to continue for generations to come.

Can't Someone Else Be Black Panther Like Shuri? 

Yes, but that's not the point. This is not about the mantle of who is the Black Panther. It is about the role and character of T'Challa. It doesn't matter who Marvel wants to give the mantle to; T'Challa can still be present and exist. This has been the case in the comics too. Even if we are to draw from the comics, while Shuri was Queen and Black Panther, T'Challa was still around. Both T'Challa and Shuri can coexist, and elevate, regardless of who's technically the Black Panther.

Is #RecastTChalla Sexist In Preventing A Woman Or Others To Become The Next Black Panther?

Absolutely not. To the contrary, T'Challa's presence was a perfect mechanism of demonstrating a strong Black man uplifting a strong Black woman. (And vice versa) There is no better form of representation for Black culture than to perpetuate the image of a Black man and woman being seen together, powerful, and supportive of one another. This call is not exclusionary to seeing anyone else take up the mantle of Black Panther. As a matter of fact, this is a call to allow T'Challa and anyone else (of any gender/orientation) to excel at the same time.

Why Is the Role of T'Challa So Important?

The character was originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be an uplifting anti-stereotype during the late 1960s Civil Rights era. During that time, black characters were regulated to being just supporting characters or sidekicks playing up to simplistic stereotypes. T'Challa was specifically created to be the anti-stereotype to current depiction of Black characters at the time. He was the King of an independent, tech-advanced, uninfluenced, and never colonized African country. He was the epitome of what inclusion and representation strives for today. Hence why stopping his portrayal seems like a step backwards.

T’Challa was the very first Black superhero in mainstream comics. He's also the very first leading Black MCU character that isn't a supporting character. Thus, making T'Challa literally Black history. The character is similar to that of Jackie Robinson whereas he broke the barrier in allowing other Black comic characters to be leads in their own stories. T’Challa still has over 55 years worth of fantastic stories left to tell, and the MCU only scratched the surface with his arc.

Won't Marvel Recast Or Reboot At A Later Time?

Currently, there is no indication that would happen. Marvel doesn't even really reboot in their comic books. They do "soft retcons" such as killing off a character, going back in time, and getting a different version of that character. Nevertheless, the MCU continues. If Marvel wanted to do something like that with T'Challa, then that may work. However, the simplest option is to just recast rather than jumping through more hoops with a complex plot or explanation.

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Additional Resources:

1. Article - Here's What #RecastTChalla Means (What It Doesn't)
2. Video - Is Marvel Making a Mistake: Why They Should Recast T'Challa
3. Podcast Video - Jason Johnson: Why 'they need to recast T'challa' | Brother From Another
4. Article (The Grio) - How do we reconcile Black Panther without our King Chadwick Boseman?
5. Article (Yahoo Entertainment) -  Marvel Should Recast T’Challa in ‘Black Panther’ to Honor Chadwick Boseman
6. Article (BallstateDaily.com) - Why ‘Black Panther’ Should Be Recast
7. Article (TheGww.com) - Making The Case For Recasting Black Panther
8. Petition - Recast T'Challa and *continue* the hero Chadwick gave for young boys!


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