Letitia Wright Reportedly Leaving MCU Because Of Disney Vaccine Mandates
After the tragic surprise and shock when Chadwick Boseman died of cancer in summer of 2020, all fans had an insensitive question. Not taking away from the work Boseman did nor the immeasurable loss, fans wondered what would happen to Black Panther. Some folks, myself included, thought Marvel Studios should simply recast T’Challa. He’s such an important character. However, once that was ruled out, I assumed that his sister Shuri would take on the mantle. If she does, it seems like it won’t be for a long. A new report says that Letitia Wright will be leaving the MCU because of the COVID vaccine mandate in place at Disney. This report relies on unnamed sources, so take this all with a grain of vibranium.
Previously, Wright took to Twitter to express skepticism about the COVID vaccine and vaccines in general. While nothing is without risk, vaccines are safe and scientifically sound, yet in this age of information overload, conspiracy theories take root quicker than ever. Currently, Wright is recovering from an injury that shut down production on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Also, because this movie began filming before the vaccine mandate from Disney, its cast and crew are, technically, exempt from it. While it’s not a matter of public record, we suspect from her statements that Wright is not vaccinated.
Some actors have proven reticent to Hollywood’s vaccine mandates, leaving projects because of them. Yet so far this has not impacted the MCU, that is unless the reports of Wright leaving are true. Whether she becomes the new Black Panther or not, Shuri is a character that will have a long future with Marvel Studios, especially since we lost our T’Challa.
Is Letitia Wright Really Leaving the MCU Over Vaccine Mandates?
Image via Marvel Studios
As we often mention, the “inside scoop” community on the internet is a not always reliable. Some make educated guesses about what’s going to happen, claiming inside info. Yet this report comes from Giant Freakin Robot, one of the few scoop blogs that keeps track of what ends up confirmed and what doesn’t.
Their source for this is an insider who reportedly delivered accurate casting information about Marvel and Sony projects in the past. It does seem that Wright will finish this film, but her future with Disney remains an open question. Of course, it’s also always possible that Wright will do some soul-searching and choose the bag of money with “Marvel” written on the side. More than 3 billion people across the globe have taken myriad COVID-19 vaccines, and with no significant side-effects, Wright might just hold her nose and get the shot. Personally, I hope she does because, ironic science denial aside, I think Wright made Shuri the exact right combination of confident, charming, tough, and silly.
Yet, this report also says that fan-favorite M’Baku, played by Winston Duke, will actually take up the Black Panther mantle in this film. This makes sense, since Shuri and T’Challa’s allies went to him in the first film after Killmonger defeated the rightful King of Wakanda. Also, it will be interesting to see Duke’s take on Black Panther, with M’Baku likely being less warm as T’Challa. Still, it’s one kernel of good news amidst the bad.
Also, Ryan Coogler helped bring about a very vivid and dynamic Wakanda, where almost any citizen could support their own spinoff. Even if we end up losing Shuri (and Marvel Studios doesn’t recast), the roster of potential characters is deep and full of potential.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever resumes production in January and is (for now) set to debut on November 11, 2022.
What do you think? Would you be okay with Letitia Wright leaving the MCU? Would you want them to recast Shuri? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories for where they can go next in the comments below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.