Fortunately, this doesn’t just sound like studio-talk that tries to assuage audiences who’d very much like to see Boseman remain in the role, but more of a narrative in-world explanation that suggests the Black Panther is just as much of a symbol as it is tied to one man. Think The Dark Knight Rises, in which the Batman is an idea and a figure who could—and should—be commanded by more than one individual.
Moore spoke with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler about this concept, and it certainly seems like we’ll be getting future sequels that won’t necessarily have Boseman don the panther suit—but eventually pass the baton to a yet-unspecified fellow Wakandan.
“One thing I like to tell Ryan is, the Black Panther is a mantle as much as it is a person, so we’re not restricted by anything, because the truth is, there’s a lot of different ways to go back to Wakanda and have a good time and continue to explore the themes that made the first film so resonant,” said Moore.
To be clear, there currently is no official plan to deviate from having Boseman play the role—the man just joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after all, and was a big part of the reason that movie broke box office records. I think it’s safe to say we’d all like to see the dude onscreen in a Marvel film more than once or twice. However, this is arguably a testament to how impressive and admirable a cinematic universe Marvel has created over the past ten years.
The fact that a multi-million dollar comic book movie, which explores ideas of heritage, race, and identity—featuring a mostly black cast—has become a beloved, mainstream movie that children and grandparents alike can enjoy together, is a feat of tremendous effort and talent worth applauding.
In case you’ve had superhero fatigue or unwisely preemptively decided Black Panther wasn’t your cup of tea, the movie was just released on Blu-ray and DVD. Do yourself a favor and pick it up—it’s one of the better ones, with a tremendous villain, engaging themes, and a huge heart.