OpEd: AI Should Never Replace Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther
Credit: Marvel Studios

While the world of technology and Hollywood’s forefront of revolutionary production methods reform the way companies and individuals go about creating new media and content, it’s clear that artificial intelligence is dominating the VFX industry faster than originally hoped. With this new technology quickly being perfected, should it ever replace actors who are no longer with us?

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther

Credit: Marvel Studios

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is growing with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), and every Marvel fan is ready to see what lies ahead of the Wakandan Kingdom as they’re exploited by the world for its vibranium.

Though most of the original cast is returning for this superhero sequel, fans know that the hole left by legendary actor Chadwick Boseman can never be replaced.

Black Panther Marvel

Credit: Marvel Studios

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Much like Robert Downey, Jr. is Iron Man, Chadwick Boseman is and forever will be King T’Challa/Black Panther. With his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), potentially taking the mantle of the next Black Panther, fans are curious about how writer/director Ryan Coogler is going about honoring Boseman’s legacy while continuing one of the most vital storylines in the current MCU.

michael b jordan chadwick boseman black panther

Credit: Marvel Studios

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With screen acting legend and Hollywood giant James Earl Jones recently signing away the rights for the future use of his voice as Darth Vader in the Star Wars universe and entering into retirement, could Disney use artificial intelligence to bring Chadwick Boseman back to the Marvel collection?

Not Another James Dean

In 2019, pop culture exploded with news that the late James Dean would be digitally resurrected for a new film titled Finding Jack. While Dean lives on as the “Teen King” and true Rebel Without a Cause (1955), virtually everyone made aware of this shocking and even distasteful business move shot the idea down immediately and wrote off the movie.

James Dean

Credit: James Dean Estate

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The Hollywood Reporter wrote:

James Dean, who died in a 1955 car crash at the age of 24, is making an unexpected return to the big screen.

The cultural icon, known for Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, has been posthumously cast in the Vietnam era action-drama Finding Jack.

Directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, the project comes from the filmmakers’ own recently launched production house Magic City Films, which obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family. Canadian VFX banner Imagine Engine will be working alongside South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to re-create what the filmmakers describe as “a realistic version of James Dean.”

James Dean

Credit: Warner Bros.

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Passing away at the age of 24 due to a fatal car accident in California, James Dean became a silver screen legend with only three films under his belt: the aforementioned Rebel, East of Eden (1955), and Giant (1956).

While James Dean was quickly becoming the, well, next, “James Dean” of Hollywood, the actor’s life was immediately cut short, and the young man faded into legend.

Having his likeness used in a modern film with artificial intelligence and costly VFX would not only insult the man’s legacy but those who hold Dean close to their movie-loving hearts.

Could Marvel Pull it Off?

Nonetheless, with the rise of Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios digitally de-aging their stars (Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+), the Mouse House and more are quickly getting to the point (with enough capital and dedication to perfecting the craft as they did in the early installments of their Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) that they can bring whomever they want into their new stories.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker (left) and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Credit: Lucasfilm

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Does that warrant the resurrection of Chadwick Boseman? In short, no.

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther

Credit: Marvel Studios

The resurrection of screen actors in contemporary media is an incredibly new and controversial subject, and anything regarding the matter in the Marvel universe would divide fans like never before.

However, while looking at the other side of the coin, the use of this technology would allow various actors to remain in the MCU for far longer than originally planned. For example, 71-year-old Mark Hamill is still the only Luke Skywalker actor after 45 years due to Lucasfilm’s brilliant use of “deepfake” technology to digitally cast the actor’s face on that of another actor.

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther

Credit: Marvel Studios

Nonetheless, the craft is not perfected, and results have even become subjects of social media ridicule.

While it’s clear that technology is catching up to the wildest of dreams, it might not be the time to bring back the Marvel legend that so many hold dear to their hearts.

Official Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Synopsis

‘BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER’ follows Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation in the wake of King T’Challa’s death and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will reportedly have a 2-hour and 41-minute runtime, making it the longest film in the MCU’s Phase Four.

Letitia Wright as Shuri

Credit: Marvel Studios

Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Lupita Nyong’o are set to reprise their respective roles, while Dominique Thorne joins the Marvel Universe as Riri Williams/Iron Heart in the Black Panther sequel set after Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and more. The new Black Panther Marvel film debuts in theaters on November 11, 2022.

The Marvel Universe is becoming much more than iconic characters/Earth’s Mightiest Heroes like Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Thanos (Josh Brolin).

Tom Holland’s Avenger is leading the way for Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomers Kate Bishop, Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany), Eternals’ Thena (Angelina Jolie), and more — especially with his next Spider-Man trilogy that’s currently in the works.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About Alex Lue

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