Black Panther was the Marvel hit that no one saw coming. When Marvel Studios began, they were deprived of their most popular characters and forced to rely on second-stringers. Unless you were a fanatical Marvel zombie, most of the characters available at the MCU's disposal were about as obscure as they could get. Somewhere along the bottom of the list of culturally insignificant characters sat Black Panther. However, through Marvel Studios building a solid brand and correctly timing the film's release with the zeitgeist, Black Panther earned a billion dollars and became a cultural phenomenon. The fictional nation of Wakanda, and its imitable salute, turned into a symbol of solidarity for Black Americans.
Sadly, after the film's success, Chadwick Boseman, the movie's star, passed away after a lengthy and secret bout with cancer. With a sequel already greenlit, Marvel was put in an unenviable position. Do you recast an iconic actor that helped solidify a superhero for Black children everywhere? Or do you kill Black Panther off-screen- after the character just triumphantly came back from the dead in his last appearance- and hobble together a script that retreads the succession plot that dominated the first film?
You can check out Disney take the ill-advised latter option in the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever linked above.