After the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, it seems everybody is calling for the Black Panther’s little sister Shuri to assume the role for future films. Here is an eloquent, well-reasoned argument—from Jason Johnson, professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University, who is a black man—on why she shouldn’t. “The Black Panther is a 50-year-old comic book character that has been written, drawn and voice acted by dozens of people over the years, and the character is bigger than one actor no matter how amazing he was…As low as I feel about his passing, I’m encouraged by the doors this will open for some other deserving actor…[Recasting] will empower Black actors in ways we’ve never seen before. A new Black face will take on the awesome responsibility of not just the Black Panther role, but Chadwick Boseman’s legacy of activism, charity and dignity.” I have to say that I’m kinda in agreement with him. I think it’s important that the character live on, and the character, the Black Panther, is King T’Challa, not Shuri.
It would be nice in many ways for them to retire the jersey. But it’s not like Disney will just have T’Challa go off on a mission to space or something and leave Shuri in charge. The only way they could do it would be to kill off the T’Challa character. And I don’t think they should do that.
There is no “replacing” Chadwick Boseman in the role. No one could be worthier. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find someone else who is also worthy, if they really try. It won’t be easy. It’s a big responsibility. May the Panther God guide them in making the right decisions.