Chadwick Boseman’s lead role in the superhero movie sequel to Black Panther will not be recast following the actor’s death, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said on Thursday. Feige told a Disney presentation for investors that Boseman’s performance as the proud Black leader of the fictional land of Wakanda was iconic, and that he would not be replaced.
Boseman died in August of colon cancer at age 43 after a four year battle with the disease that he had kept private.
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Feige said the sequel would honor Boseman’s legacy by continuing to “explore the world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.” He did not give details but said the sequel was due to arrive in movie theatres in July 2022.
Black Panther executive producer Victoria Alonso last month denied speculation that the filmmakers planned to use a digital double for Boseman in the sequel. Alonso was quoted as telling Argentine newspaper Clarin in a November interview that the filmmakers were taking time to decide how to continue the story.
Boseman’s final film, drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” will be released by Netflix on Dec. 18.
In a virtual presentation for investors, Disney chief executive Bob Chapek laid out super-sized ambitions for its direct-to-consumer efforts, leaning heavily on some of the company’s biggest brands. Over the next few years, Disney is planning to premiere directly on Disney+ not just an armada of Star Wars and Marvel series but 15 live-action, Pixar and animated series, and 15 live-action, Pixar and animated movies.
Chapek said Disney+ subscribers worldwide have reached 86.8 million, up from 74 million last month. The service has easily exceeded most forecasts, reaching that number 13 months after its launch in November 2019. Disney will increase the monthly price by $1 to $8 a month in March. The company forecasts 230-260 million subscribers by 2024.