Warning: Spoilers for Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War ahead, plus speculation for Black Panther 2.
Wakanda forever! Since Black Panther proved such a blockbuster, a sequel was inevitable, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed one in March.
But with the sequel announced so close to the release of the original film, it’ll be a while before many details begin to trickle out. Plus, just two months after the release of Black Panther, we visited Wakanda again in Avengers: Infinity War, which featured T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and others in an enormous battle scene set in the African country (poor Okoye just wanted a Starbucks, or maybe the Olympics).
As information about Marvel’s Black Panther 2 rolls out, we’ll collect it here, and try and separate the confirmed facts from the rumors and theories. (Right now, rumors and theories are almost all we have, but truths will inevitably trickle out.) We’ll update this page as we learn more.
When Feige confirmed Black Panther 2, telling Entertainment Weekly, “we absolutely will do (a sequel),” he didn’t give many specifics, and certainly not a release date. But one look at the jam-packed Marvel movie schedule gives some clues. Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 are coming in 2019, and that’s way too early to film a second trip to Wakanda anyway. Even 2020 seems like a reach.
Striking while the hero is hot is a great idea, but our guess is that 2021 is the earliest we’ll see Black Panther 2, whatever it ends up being named. Also, Marvel has an open date for an unnamed movie on Feb. 18, 2022. That’s almost exactly four years after the first Black Panther and would give the series a nice symmetry.
In the director’s chair
Although nothing’s official, it seems clear Marvel will do what it takes to get director Ryan Coogler back behind the camera. When asked by Variety if Coogler would direct the sequel, Feige said, “I hope so,” and that he “absolutely” wanted him back. Barring some contact-talk collapse, he’ll be back.
“We definitely want Ryan to come back and that’s actively being worked out right now,” Feige told Collider. “When will it be? A lot of it will be when Ryan wants to and not rushing anything, but I think we have an idea of when it will be.” Feige went on to say Marvel won’t be announcing any post-Avengers 4 movies until Avengers 4 comes out in 2019.
“We have ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one,” Feige told EW. Of course, he’s not saying what those ideas are, but fans might look to the comics for especially popular storylines.
“Panther has been around for more than half a century in the comic books and there are many, many stories to tell,” Feige told Variety. Panther has a rich history. He’s fought the KKK, battled a coup from within Wakanda, dealt with a Skrull invasion, and saved Queen Ramonda from a white supremacist. Many of the stories from the comics would translate well to the big screen.
Wakanda forever, or at least awhile
We can guess where the film will be set. In finally showing T’Challa’s homeland of Wakanda on screen, Black Panther handed Marvel a new and creative setting not just for Black Panther solo movies, but for visits from his colleagues in the Avengers. Almost the entire third act of Avengers: Infinity War was set in the fictional African nation. The sequel’s bound to go back.
“Anchor point is a good way of (describing Wakanda), particularly as some of our other anchor points, Asgard for instance, are gone,” Feige told EW. Wakanda’s a fascinating land that fans have only begun to experience, and Marvel’s well aware the country has many more secrets to unfold.
Who’ll be back for the sequel?
If you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War (last spoiler warning), you know T’Challa is one of the many characters who fades into a weird kind of dusty death when Thanos rebalances the universe. (Did Thanos kill you? Find out here.) But you also know that long before Black Panther 2 comes out, Avengers 4 will hit theaters in 2019. We have guesses as to what will happen in that movie, and there’s just no way T’Challa isn’t going to be somehow saved. Like The Terminator, he’ll be back.
It’s possible, however, that not all of the Wakandans will return. No way will Marvel get rid of Okoye or T’Challa’s tech wizard sister Shuri. But M’Baku (Winston Duke) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya – we just learned he’s Okoye’s husband) are possibly in danger. Someone has to go to ratchet up the drama and make the whole Thanos battle meaningful, and while they’re both great characters, they’re more expendable than the big names.
Some suggest that if T’Challa is ever killed, the Black Panther mantle will simply pass to sister Shuri, but there’s no way Boseman doesn’t get to headline at least one (likely many) more movies.
Returning cast we think we know
Naturally, nothing is confirmed, but as we just mentioned, you can bet your Vibranium holdings Chadwick Boseman will be back, and likely most of the first film’s cast. Here’s a reminder of who they are:
What about the villain?
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) was a great villain in the first Black Panther movie. His fate seems pretty final, but you never know in the Marvel universe. Kendrick Lamar, who curated and produced the Black Panther soundtrack, has said he’d love to play Killmonger or someone like him.
Director Ryan Coogler told Yahoo Movies he had interest in another Panther villain, Kraven the Hunter, but it sounds as if the Sony series of movies has plans for Kraven, likely in a Spider-Man movie.
“I’ve always loved Kraven the Hunter in almost every iteration,” Coogler said. “So there was a moment – ‘Can I grab Kraven?’ – and they were ‘Nah, you don’t have Kraven.’ He was one where I thought ‘Oh, man.’ But I don’t even know if he would have worked in the movie we ended up with, this was the early days.”
That’s OK – Black Panther has plenty of other juicy villains, including Doctor Doom, Achebe, King Cadaver and others.
In the comics, Black Panther marries Storm of the X-Men, and if the Disney-Fox merger proceeds as planned, the X-Men could enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Storm could set off some thunder and lightning in Wakanda and threaten Nakia and T’Challa’s relationship.
Who’s Storm? She’s an Africa-born mutant raised in America and credited as the first major female character of African descent in comics. Her powers include flight and the ability to control weather, and she’s an expert markswoman, thief and skilled fighter. Halle Berry has played her in four films. In the comics, Storm and Black Panther are childhood sweethearts who marry and eventually divorce. In the movies, marriage is likely out of the question, but romance is always on the table.
More than one sequel?
With the enormous success of Black Panther, it seems safe to say there’ll be as many sequels as fans are willing to watch. Producer Nate Moore says the Wakanda characters will show up in other films as well.
“Panther obviously is a big swing that we hope to continue through many sequels and take some of these characters and put them in other franchises because I do think there’s a way to cross-pollinate in an interesting way,” he told Screen Rant.
How to watch every MCU property in the perfect order: From Marvel films to the shows on Netflix, here’s the best order to experience the MCU.
Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a huge risk: As Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War smash box office records, it’s strange to think Marvel’s movies were a gamble 10 years ago.
Featured Image: Getty Images
Inset Image: AP Photo/File