Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been one of the most anticipated Marvel movies in the MCU since it was first announced. It’s going to be a bittersweet watch for everyone as we say our final goodbye’s to T’Challa and the man who brought him to life, Chadwick Boseman, but we also say hello to the new characters Marvel is introducing to the big screen in Black Panther 2.
After the events of Black Panther, King T’Challa made the decision to stop hiding Wakanda from the world and reveal the truth: they are thriving, technologically advanced people. What he may not have anticipated was that by revealing Wakanda he may also have accidentally revealed an ancient underwater civilization of Mayan origin known as Talocan.
While the kingdom of Wakanda is busy grieving the loss of their king they get an unexpected visitor. The ruler of Talocon, Namor the Sub-Mariner (making his MCU debut).
Besides a couple of comments from the actor responsible for bringing Namor to life (Tenoch Huerta), there has been no news from anyone else working on the film about what is going to happen in the larger plot. We don’t even know who is going to be donning the mantle of the Black Panther, but there have been plenty of guesses. The most popular, and most likely, option has been T’Challa’s sister Shuri, who takes up the mantle in the comics.
But who is Namor the Sub-Mariner and why is he attacking Wakanda?
In the comics, Namor is an anti-hero, the ruler of Atlantis born to a human father and an Atlantean Princess. His allegiance will forever be to his people and their safety, so when that safety is threatened, he reacts accordingly.
While his origin in the new film will be changing slightly, there are a few key aspects to his character that Marvel kept. The first, and what has been commented on by Tenoch Huerta, are his morals and loyalties. His kingdom and people come first, so it would make sense that he would attack the kingdom of the person that exposed the existence of Talocon to the world, no matter how accidental it might have been. The second, and the thing that fans have been most excited about, is that he is considered to be Marvel’s first mutant (in the comics).
Marvel’s Black Panther 2 will be helmed by Ryan Coogler, with a script by Joe Robert Cole and Coogler.
Namor is the Perfect Antagonist For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The introduction of Namor the Sub-Mariner (played by Tenoch Huerta) as the antagonist in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a brilliant choice by Marvel. Ryan Coogler stated in an interview that Namor is a “dream antagonist” and the absolute perfect bad guy to bring on after the loss of T’Challa.
With the loss of their king so fresh in the Wakandans’ minds, there could not be a better moment for another kingdom to take advantage of the weakness and attack. Namor and T’Challa are similar in so many ways. They are both rulers of very powerful, secret kingdoms (or, formerly secret in Wakanda’s case) and both will do whatever they must to keep their people safe.
When we first met T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, we saw a character consumed with anger and ready to kill the man he thought was responsible for killing his father. Once he recognised his mistake and rid himself of his anger he became a character that many fans would look up to.
When we meet Namor, he is going to be coming in swinging, probably looking for someone to punish for jeopardising the safety of his kingdom. It’s almost poetic that the two characters will have such similar introductions. The real question will be, is Namor going to be able to look past his anger?
Who is Going to Deal with Namor?
Unfortunately, due to Chadwick Boseman’s passing back in 2020, T’Challa will no longer be in Black Panther 2. This means that fans will not be able to see the two kings clash the way they did in the comics. Instead, we will get to watch as Namor heads on a collision course for the surface world and the people of Wakanda will have to deal with the consequences of the attack.
With Namor’s background as a mutant and his extensive selections of powers (super-strength, -speed and -stamina, the ability to survive underwater and flight – made possible by the vestigial “wings” that he has on both ankles) it doesn’t seem likely that he will be easily defeated.
Those who were closest to T’Challa (Nakia (a War Dog and the love interest of T’Challa played by Lupita Nyong’o), Princess Shuri (T’Challa’s sister played by Letitia Wright), M’Baku (the leader of the Jabari clan and eventual friend of T’Challa played by Winston Duke), Okoye (the leader of the Dora Milaje played by Danai Gurira), Queen Ramonda (T’Challa’s mother played by Angela Bassett), the Dora Milaje (of which will include Florence Kasumba) and Everett Ross (a CIA operative and one of the first outsiders to see the true Wakanda played by Martin Freeman)) will have to band together against him.
As much fun as it will be to see them all working together as a team someone, probably Shuri, will have to take on the mantle of the Black Panther and face Namor head-on.
First Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Teaser Trailer – 5 Easter Eggs You Missed
The first teaser trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released in July 2022 and the internet is already full of theories, ideas and rumours as eagle-eyed fans spotted Easter eggs.
Black Panther, which is based on one of the most popular black superheroes, took the world by storm in 2018, making a total of US$1.3 billion worldwide and scoring a 96% Critics Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Since the movie’s events, fans have been eagerly awaiting the next bit of news about what will happen in or to the technologically advanced city in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That day finally came as a teaser trailer was released during the Marvel Studios’ Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, finally giving fans some much-needed closure.
Did you spot these Easter eggs in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer?
1. The Death of King T’Challa
Since Black Panther’s lead actor Chadwick Boseman’s passing in 2020, fans have wondered how the sequel would move forward without him in such a memorable role.
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever teaser trailer confirmed that his character, King T’Challa, has passed. His sister, portrayed by Letitia Wright, and Mother Queen Ramonda, portrayed by Angela Basset, can be seen walking side-by-side along with a dancing procession of people all wearing white. Shuri can be seen carrying her brother’s suit’s helmet. A large mural of Boseman’s character can also be seen later in the trailer.
In some cultures, such as Ethiopian and some Buddhist cultures, white is the colour of mourning, indicating that they are walking to King T’Challa’s funeral. The logline for Black Panther 2 confirms this, stating that Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku (portrayed by Winston Duke), Okoye (portrayed by Dania Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (an elite military force) “fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.”
2. Pre-Avengers: Endgame Flashback
In the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer, Queen Ramonda addresses her nation saying, “I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone.” It is believed that this moment is a flashback that took place after Thanos (portrayed by Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers using the infinity gauntlet and wiped-out half of all life in Avengers: Infinity War.
Shuri was amongst those who were erased from existence but was resurrected when Tony Stark/Iron Man managed to reverse the snap in Avengers: Endgame.
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer also features a few short moments of a heavily pregnant woman underwater with another person shortly before she gives birth, and we see the new baby floating in the water – umbilical cord and all. This scene depicts the birth of Namor the Sub-mariner, a character in the comics that is the mutant son of a human man and an Atlantean princess but seems to have Aztec origins in the movie but far be it for us mere mortals to question Marvel Studios.
Namor is set to be portrayed by Tenoch Huerta and it is yet unknown how he will fit into the Wakandan story.
Dominique Thorne is shown in the trailer making her debut in the MCU by building her suit, in a classic tribute to Iron Man himself like how he built his first suit in his first standalone movie in 2008. Ironheart is a relatively new character, having been created in 2016 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and illustrator Mike Deodato.
Aside from appearing in Black Panther 2, Ironheart will also be getting her own series on Disney+ in 2023.
5. The Next Black Panther
All hope is not lost for the character of Black Panther, as someone else takes up the mantle in the Wakanda Forever trailer in its concluding shot. A person, concealed from the waist up, can be seen wearing a black and gold suit and unsheathing their claws. There is plenty of speculation about who the next Black Panther will be, but with the movie being released in November this year, there isn’t too long of a wait left before all will be revealed.
Black Panther 2 Mystery Role For UFC Champion Kamaru Usman
MMA Fighting has reported that UFC Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in a mystery role.
During the UFC 277 weigh-in show it was reported by MMA Fighting that the Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier let slip that Kamaru Usman is set to be involved in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe addition, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
While the confirmation of his involvement didn’t come from his mouth, it also hasn’t been disclosed by Marvel Studios which role he might be playing in the movie.
While the identity of the next Black Panther is still a mystery and there are many theories about who will wear the mask next, between Shuri, Queen Ramonda, M’Baku, and even a resurrected Killmonger (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan), it is probably a good guess that Kamaru Usman won’t be playing King T’Challa (as many have suggested).
The sequel is set to be a heartfelt tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman who played King T’Challa aka Black Panther across four MCU films before passing on. In the official trailer released at the Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio revealed that they had not decided to recast his role, but that T’Challa is now dead in the MCU.
While no one will be allowed to step into his role, someone will be needed to step into the catsuit and take up the mantle.
Ironheart, the New Iron Man, Joins Black Panther 2
After Tony Stark made the ultimate sacrifice, fans were left wondering who would be taking up the mantle of Iron Man. Some thought his daughter might take his place, but after everything that Pepper has endured, that seems unlikely. The question has been answered with the new trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, is joining the MCU.
This genius inventor is said to have created “the most advanced suit of armour since Iron Man,” and is gearing up to take his place. It appears that not only has she built her suit, but she will be upgrading it with the advanced technologies from Wakanda as well as their sacred resource, Vibranium. Chatting to Entertainment Weekly, director Ryan Coogler shared a little bit about Riri’s role in the film, and how she brings the story together.
“The film deals with a lot of things, but one of them is foils – people who exist in contrast, but there’s a thread of similarity. In this film, we get to see Shuri meet someone who has some things in common with her but is also very, very different.”
While debuting in the Black Panther sequel, she will be airing her series, Ironheart, on Disney+ in the later months of 2023. Played by Dominique Thorne in both the movie and the series, her first debut was in the 2016 Marvel Comic Invincible Iron Man. We assume we will get to see her origin as an Engineering student at MIT who reverse-engineers one of Iron Man’s older modelled suits to fight a little crime. In the comics, Tony notices a replica of himself running around town, and she gets to work alongside an AI duplicate of him after he falls into a coma. While all these details might not survive the series, it will be exciting to see her origin brought to life.
Riri Williams will soon be joined on Disney+ by another Iron Man spinoff. Marvel’s Armor Wars will now be a feature film, which sees Don Cheadle return as James Rhodes, aka War Machine. Once a dear friend of Tony’s, he now has to deal with his worst fear, what happens when Stark Tech falls into the wrong hands?
The New Black Panther In Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer showed us who the new Black Panther will be, and it looks like Shuri is taking her brother’s place. We all knew that someone was bound to pick up the mask after king T’Challa’s death. In the first teaser, Shuri was seen walking with her mother in a funeral procession, carrying her brother’s mask. Many assumed this was to lay his mask upon his grave, while others claimed it was so that she could take over the title.
In Marvel Comics, Shuri stepped into the role of Wakanda’s Protector, earning Bast’s blessing, undergoing the trials to eat the heart-shaped herb, and even stopping a war. In the trailer, it is obvious that a more slender, female hero has stepped into the Vibranium suit, and the mask now sports Shuri’s signature dot facial markings, it seems that the little princess is stepping into the role. This would fit perfectly with Ryan Coogler’s comment about Shuri and Riri being similar but different, inheriting the titles of their predecessors, and having to step into very large shoes.
With that being said, nothing is known for sure, until the actual release of the movie, or some kind of official leak, but we at least know that the successor will most likely be a strong woman in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Here are some other options of who could be taking the place of Wakanda’s Protector:
Nakia – Lupita Nyong’o’s character has plenty of experience as one of Wakanda’s covert War Dog operatives and was fiercely loyal to the royal family, and in love with T’Challa. It wouldn’t be too much of a shock if she steps up her loyalty, and takes up the mantle.
Okoye – leader of the Dora Milage, Wakanda’s most elite warriors, played by Danai Gurira. This fierce warrior would be a good fit to pick up the mask, as her warriors are being further explored in Wakanda Forever, including their elite flying troops, the Midnight Angels.
Aneka – although a new cast member and character, Aneka is one of the Midnight Angels, and it wouldn’t be too shocking if Marvel decided to shock fans by bringing a new lady into the role of the new Black Panther. Played by Michaela Coel, very little is known about the MCU version of this character, but in the comics, she is one of the best of the Dora Milaje. She and her lover defected from their group in protest of T’Challa’s unilateral rule over Wakanda and went to fight for the safety of the women in the Wakandan countryside more directly. With such an intense sense of justice for their people, she could step into the boots of the Black Panther.
For now, almost all signs are pointing towards Shuri, the quippy little princess, claiming her familial and royal place as the next Black Panther. Of course, there’s also another option which sees multiple characters becoming Black Panther.
Is This How Marvel Will Replace Black Panther In The MCU?
Many fans have been questioning whether Marvel will replace Black Panther in the MCU or continue to use his likeness with the help of CGI. Thankfully, Kevin Feige announced that the studio won’t be recasting the T’Challa role. But what does that mean for the future of the Black Panther character? Who will be Wakanda’s hero moving forward?
While Erik “Killmonger” Stevens would certainly make an interesting choice, many fans have theorised that Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s sister, would become queen in his absence. This means that the African princess will most likely also become the new Black Panther.
The description for a female Black Panther character in the new Marvel Contest Of Champion game might hint at just that. But Shuri might not be the only Black Panther:
Since the first BLACK PANTHER, the mantle has been passed down from singular monarch to singular monarch. The Black Panther was the ruler of Wakanda, protected by their elite guard; THE DORA MILAJE. Since the tragic fall of KING T’CHALLA at the hands of THE MAESTRO, and the banishing of Wakanda’s lands, the new Queen, Shuri, has done away with such anachronistic practices. The mantle of Black Panther is no longer the privilege of royalty; it is the right of any WAKANDAN. The Dora Milaje have now become The Black Panthers – elite huntresses empowered by the HEART-SHAPED HERB and a wide array of traditional and futuristic suits, all powered by the Vibranium on which Wakanda sits.
It is very common practice for Marvel to prepare audiences for changes to the MCU via comic books or games prior to the cinematic live-action releases. Is this the direction Marvel will take moving forward? Will there be more than just one Black Panther? Will Marvel replace Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman with multiple actors playing various versions of the iconic superhero? How many new Black Panther heroes will there be in the next chapter?
New images of various Black Panther designs have also appeared in the Marvel Contest Of Champion game. They give us a better look at some of the possibilities.
Reports suggest that Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger will return for Black Panther 2. How or what his part is in changing the kingdom moving forward remains to be seen. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s his influence on Shuri that eventually leads to her changing the law.
The idea of having multiple Black Panthers is an interesting one. We might see different characters with different tech and abilities moving forward. But while that seems exciting, it would also need to be controlled somehow. What made Boseman’s T’Challa stand out and resonate with fans was the fact that he was a hero many fans could relate to and route for. That would be far more difficult if there were more than five characters carrying the name and the mantle.
Of course, all of this is just a wild theory at the moment. We’ll have to wait until 11 November 2022 to see how Black Panther 2 actually plays out.
The Hollywood Reporter has shared that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is gearing up to have one of the longest runtimes in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, except for Avengers: Endgame (which capped in at a whopping 3 hours and 1 minute).
Marvel movies are not exactly notorious for being short films, but they have never had the reputation of running for ages, like the four hours claimed by DC’s Snyderverse movies. The general trend of MCU movies as we move through the phases seems to be making their movies longer and longer. In Phase One, the longest movie was The Avengers (2012) which had a runtime of 2 hours and 23 minutes, putting the average runtime of movies during that Phase at 2 hours and 4 minutes.
Phase Two’s longest-running movie was another Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) capping in at 2 hours and 21 minutes, making the average 2 hours and 6 minutes. Although Age of Ultron’s time was shorter, the trend seems to be that the runtimes are increasing.
Phase Three shows a similar trend with its longest film, Avengers: Endgame at the all-time longest 3 hours and 1 minute with the average sitting at 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Phase 4, although currently still running, is completing the trend once again with the current longest being Eternals (2021) at 2 hours and 36 minutes, and the average sitting at 2 hours and 19 minutes. Clearly, all MCU movies are getting longer and longer, and this is a trend that we can expect to see continuing.
Black Panther (2018) was an epic movie and pulled in about 2 hours and 14 minutes, making it an averagely lengthed film for MCU but for the sequel it looks like Ryan Coogler is looking to push the time further, as it was reported that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be capping in at 2 hours and 41 minutes, claiming the spot for the longest running movie of Phase Four.
Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Danny Sapani and Martin Freeman are all reprising their roles in Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Shuri, Nakia, M’Baku, Okoye, Ramonda, M’Kathu, and CIA agent Everett Ross.
The new cast in Black Panther 2 includes Tenoch Huerta as Namor, Michaela Coel as Aneka, Richard Schiff, Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, María Mercedes Coroy as Princess Fen, Mabel Cadena as Namora, and Alex Livinalli as Attuma.
Tell us, are you looking forward to Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?