The tragic and sudden death of actor Chadwick Boseman shook Hollywood to its core.
“He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career,” actor Denzel Washington said.
Boseman was just 43 years old when he died earlier this year. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer. The actor kept his condition from the public, continuing to perform in films while receiving treatment. Following a four-year battle, he died from complications related to the illness.
Born in Anderson, S.C., Boseman gained a presence as an actor portraying historical figures. He delivered a compelling performance as Jackie Robinson, the first black player in MLB history, in the 2013 film 42. He followed up by taking on roles as singing legend James Brown and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
However, it was as the Marvel Superhero Black Panther in 2018 that Boseman gained worldwide fame. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther,” his family said in a statement following Boseman’s death.
The plan going forward is to continue the Black Panther series of films. Disney was already in pre-production for Black Panther II at the time of Boseman’s death and the studio intends on continuing plans for the movie. The character is a key figure in the Marvel Comic Universe. Shooting is supposed to begin next March. The film is slated for a May 2022 release date.
Of course, that means the studio must find an actor to follow in Boseman’s imposing footsteps in the role of Black Panther. And already, there are betting odds as to just who that might be. You can go to any of the top Canadian betting sites to place a bet on this prop wager.
Let’s look at some of the top contenders in this betting market.
Letitia Wright (+100)
This might be the easiest way to transition the story and explain the departure of Boseman’s character, so it’s logical that Wright would be given the favorite’s odds. Wright co-starred in the original Black Panther, playing the role of Shuri, King T’Challa’s sister and princess of Wakanda.
She won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture for her work in the film. Wright reprised the role in Avengers: Infinity War, which was released two months after Black Panther.
In the comic book version of the story, she becomes Queen of Wakanda and takes over, so going with Wright’s character would be staying faithful to the original Black Panther story.
Atandwa Kani (+175)
The South African actor also appeared in the original Black Panther. Kani portrayed the younger King T’Chaka, a dual part shared with his father John Kani.
Kani also bears an uncanny resemblance to Boseman. Considering what filmmakers can do with CGI these days, it might not be all that hard to make him into a reasonable facsimile of Boseman.
Lupita Nyong’o (+200)
Another member of the original Black Panther cast, Nyong’o portrayed Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest. Her character was a spy who uses Wakanda’s technology and resources to go undercover on humanitarian missions.
If the filmmakers opt to kill off Boseman’s character, the chances are strong that a female will take over the role of Black Panther. An actor with Nyong’o’s chops would be a natural to fill the lead role.
Winston Duke (+300)
In Black Panther, Duke portrayed M’Baku, leader of the Jabari mountain tribe. At the outset of the film he’s T’Challa’s rival, but they grow to become close allies, leading Wakanda’s armies into battle.
Duke, though, is 6-foot-5. His physique really doesn’t fit into the mold of the sleek, elusive Black Panther character.
Could Boseman Portray Himself?
One option that is reportedly being considered for Black Panther II is to digitally recreate Boseman and put him in the film. It would likely be done as a cameo role in the film to give the character’s storyline closure.
Lucasfilm employed similar technology after Carrie Fisher had died to give Princess Leia a proper sendoff in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.