The New York TimesThe New York Times

We're out of movie stars. Whose fault is that?

By Wesley Morris

01 Dec 2022 · 17 min read

Editor's Note

The New York Times explains how modern superhero franchises are having an impact on how we perceive actors and the role of the modern move star.

Obviously, two of the year’s biggest movies are just the second installments of franchises that could go on long after we’re gone. One of them is actually calling itself “Wakanda Forever.” But I’m watching us devour both it and “Top Gun: Maverick” and see a referendum on a more pressing matter: stars and the movies’ disuse for them.

Heading into “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the stress and suspense, at least as far as I could tell, had everything to do with the absence of the first movie’s star. It made one of Chadwick Boseman. The second lured us in to inspect the void his stardom left. It memorializes, eulogizes, celebrates him — the Marvel logo that flickers by near the start of these movies as montages of its roster (Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and everybody else) has become a light show devoted to Boseman. Then the movie goes on for more than another 2 1/2 hours, plenty of time not simply to mourn this man but to miss him. There’s more to recommend about it than a vacancy. Nonetheless, inquiring minds — millions of them — wanted to know: Who’d dare try to fill that costume?

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