It’s NOT that I have anything at all against Shuri. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I think the Shuri character as portrayed by Leitia Wright was one of the MANY highlights of the Black Panther film.
However, regarding the question the title of this blog post poses, I’d have to say NOT YET & YES.
There is a rumor going around that Disney plans to kill the character of T’Challa offscreen and pass the mantle to Shuri in the MCU, due to the recent passing of Black Panther actor, Chadwick Boseman.
While that’s a scenario which keeps the mantle within the family and utilizes an established character from the previous film and others where the character was presented, I don’t think that it’s the best move for Disney to make and here’s why.
The character of T’Challa is much too important to be killed offscreen, simply because Chadwick Boseman died. Let me say that Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa was superb and an extremely difficult act to follow, the exploration of T’Challa’s 50+ year history wasn’t even scratched, and It’s extremely disrespectful to the character’s legacy to simply kill him offscreen and pass the mantle to Shuri, in my opinion.
We have seen nearly every main white, male character fully explored with 3 solo films at least. Yet when we get a fully realized black, male character, on par with his white counterparts, it seems the studio may be ready to write the character off?
How is it that Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, etc… have been recast for far less? Just to be clear, it’s not that I have a problem with Shuri being passed the mantle, per se, it’s how this rumor states Disney would handle it, that I have a huge problem with. So, before anyone gets the idea that my perspective is anti-Shuri or misogynistic in ANY way, know that that’s NOT the case.
I feel passing the mantle to Shuri in the manner suggested in this rumor, will kill the franchise for some, myself included, as surely as an immediate recasting would. I’d rather they recast for two additional films before passing the baton, or…
In the comics Shuri takes over the mantle because T’Challa is in a coma after a battle with Doctor Doom, a character which Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige is planning to introduce into the MCU in the near future. Why not have a scene filmed where it’s believed that Doctor Doom has killed T’Challa in battle, and in the wake of his death, Shuri assumes the mantle. This provides time which allows fans to adjust from Boseman’s death, then eventually recast the character and reintegrate the re-casted T’Challa into the MCU? This also gives the character of Doctor Doom an introduction to the franchise as well and establishes an antagonism between T’Challa and Doom. They could also produce a Black Panther Disney + show which could explore that T’Challa may not be dead and is recovering in secret. Then, debut the NEW T’Challa, (I vote for John David Washington), and after some time has passed, reintegrate the character back into the MCU so that it wouldn’t be such a shock to fans.
It also allows for a Shuri spin-off franchise to be established, as in the comics she has a different power set than T’Challa which deserves to be explored outside of T’Challa’s shadow.
To this long-time fan of the character, it’s a compromise which honors the T’Challa character, Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal and is at least worth a shot.