Chadwick Boseman Kept Illness Private, Thought He’d Be Ready For ‘Black Panther 2’

If you’ve been following me on social media, you know I’ve been against any discussion of Black Panther sequels in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death. I just feel like it’s too soon, when there’s so much about the man beyond Marvel to remember and celebrate. ,Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t bother posting this, but it does relate directly to the future of Black Panther, and Boseman’s state of mind right up until the end.

In the days since Boseman’s death, we’ve seen scores of his friends and co-stars come out to pay their respects. If there’s one thing that was made abundantly clear, it’s that almost nobody knew Boseman had been struggling with colon cancer for more than four years.  I’m still astounded by the amount of physically-challenging roles he did while keeping silent about the illness.

It turns out that Boseman believed until the day he died that he would defeat cancer, and return to shoot Black Panther 2 next March. Nobody at Marvel knew about the illness, or at least few understood the extent of what Boseman was going through. There was never any indication from Boseman that he would miss the sequel.

The report comes from THR, who add that Marvel is focused on celebrating Boseman right now, and  concerns about Black Panther 2 can wait. Obviously, there aren’t a lot of palatable options here. Boseman means so much to people that recasting T’Challa would be disastrous and lead to an inevitable backlash. The torch could be passed to Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, who takes over the mantle for a time in the comics.

The most obvious thing that will happen, though, is a delay of the movie’s 2022 release date. I would almost be in favor of ending the franchise where it is, and instead have Coogler work on an entirely new hero tied to Wakanda.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.