How ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Became the Latest Franchise Film to Survive Its Star’s Untimely Death

Without Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, the MCU sequel stands apart from even the likes of ”Furious 7“ and ”The Dark Knight“

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” began its domestic box office run with $28 million in Thursday night preview screenings. That’s above the $25 million preview gross of “Black Panther” four years ago (and the $36 million advance-night showings for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” last spring) — an impressive achievement for a big-budget franchise sequel arriving without both the actor (Chadwick Boseman) and the character (King T’Challa) who headlined its 2018 predecessor.

It’s just the latest case of a tentpole film landing in theaters after the sudden death of one of its stars, following such high-profile examples as 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” 2015’s “Furious 7” and 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond” and 2017’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Unlike “Wakanda Forever,” all four of those films included their deceased actors — though “Furious 7” required extensive retooling to include Paul Walker.

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Scott Mendelson

Before joining The Wrap, Scott Mendelson got his industry start in 2008 with a self-piloted film blog titled "Mendelson's Memos." In 2013, he was recruited to write for Forbes.com where he wrote almost exclusively for nearly a decade. In that time he published copious in-depth analytical and editorialized entertainment industry articles specializing in (but not exclusively focused upon) theatrical box office. A well-known industry pundit, Mendelson has appeared on numerous podcasts and been featured as a talking head on NPR, CNN, Fox and BBC.