Marvel Studios made the entire world shout “Wakanda Forever!” when Black Panther hit theaters in February 2018, kicking off a spectacular run that has made the film one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and the best-reviewed of any movie in Marvel’s cinematic universe.
Of course, Disney is making a sequel. While Black Panther 2 missed Marvel’s big Phase 4 reveal at Comic-Con International 2019, the film was confirmed at Disney’s D23 convention a month later.
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Bringing back director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will likely be set in a very different Marvel universe than the first film, thanks to the events of both the original movie and Avengers: Endgame.
Chadwick Boseman was due to return in the starring role of T’Challa, but he died in August 2020 at the age of 43 after a private battle with cancer. Plans for how Marvel plans to respond to his passing have not been revealed.
Here’s everything we know about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever so far.
- Title: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Release date: May 8, 2022
- Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya
- Director: Ryan Coogler
Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams on the set of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, 25-08-2021 pic.twitter.com/GjaA4w5GG5
— XRealm Bishop (@CreamOrScream) August 26, 2021
We’ve known for a while that an Ironheart Disney+ series was coming, but before the show, we’ll meet teenage tech prodigy Riri Williams (played by Dominique Thorne) in Black Panther 2. The first photos of Thorne on set have hit Twitter, although we’ve yet to see her in her Ironheart armor.
In a sizzle reel designed to celebrate Marvel’s films past and future and the return of the moviegoing public, Disney quietly revealed the official title for the second Black Panther. It will be called Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
No new Black Panther
One of the big updates from Disney’s massive Investor Day 2020 content news dump was that Disney and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever writer-director Ryan Coogler have no intention of recasting Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. Instead, they plan to “explore the world of Wakanda,” which almost definitely means more Shuri!
Black Panther 2, opening July 8, 2022, is being written & directed by Ryan Coogler. Honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy & portrayal of T’Challa, @MarvelStudios will not recast the character, but will explore the world of Wakanda & the rich characters introduced in the first film.
— Disney (@Disney) December 11, 2020
Production rescheduled, new villain added
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s shocking death has altered the production schedule for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Production was originally scheduled to begin in March 2021, with a release set for May 6, 2022. After Boseman’s tragic passing, Marvel took a beat to consider the future and, now, is slowly beginning to ramp up production efforts. The Hollywood Reporter says filming will begin in July 2021 in Atlanta, putting it about four months behind the initial schedule.
Marvel Studios’ schedule was already packed with films like Black Widow, The Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder, but release delays created a chain of MCU release date changes.
The good news, however, is that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will barely be affected. At Disney’s D23 Expo, the film was given a May 6, 2022, release date, and the updated post-delay release date is just two days later: May 8, 2022.
Marvel hasn’t said if Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is officially considered part of Phase 4 of the MCU or if it will join Blade and others as part of Phase 5. Not that it really matters, of course. We’re getting more Black Panther. For now, that’s enough.
Confirmed to return as the writer and director on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in October 2018, Ryan Coogler indicated that he’s well aware of the unique pressure on him to replicate the success of the first film.
“I’ve had a chance to make three feature films, each one of them had its own very specific type of pressure. In the process of it, it feels insurmountable each time,” Coogler told IndieWire. “When it comes to making a sequel, I’ve never done it before — a sequel to something that I’ve directed myself. So I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure there, but what we’re going to try to do is just focus on the work, like we always do. [We’ll] really try to go step by step and try to quiet everything else around us, really focus on trying to make something that has some type of meaning.”
The returning cast
Nearly the entire cast of Black Panther was originally expected to return for the sequel, with Boseman’s T’Challa leading an ensemble that also includes Wakandan characters portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), and Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi). Martin Freeman is also expected to reprise his role as CIA agent Everett K. Ross.
A May 2018 report indicated that Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan might also reprise his role — in some form, at least — as Erik Killmonger in the follow-up film.
However, with Boseman’s passing, it’s unclear how the film will proceed or what casting decisions will be made.
In an interview with Collider, Martin Freeman also confirmed that he will reprise his role as Everett K. Ross, although what it will look like remains to be seen. “They had the script, and they were working on the script, and then Chadwick died, [I] sort of immediately thought, ‘Oh, OK, I could see a world where there’s no Black Panther then, because how can you do a Black Panther without Black Panther?’,” Freeman said. “So, I still don’t know what that’s going to look like.”
The new cast
According to U.K. outlet Metro, multitalented actor, musician, writer, and comedian Donald Glover is being courted for a role in the film. The Atlanta series creator and star (and Solo: A Star Wars Story actor) previously appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a small-time criminal Peter Parker encounters during one of his early adventures and is reportedly engaged in “informal talks” with Coogler about playing a character in the Black Panther sequel.
The report implies that Glover will play a new character introduced in the film, and not reprise his role from Homecoming, even though his character in that film — Aaron Davis — is an important one in Spider-Man’s recent comics continuity. If Glover does find his way into the film’s cast, the source indicated that he’ll likely play a villain role.
As usual, Marvel is keeping the plot of the Black Panther sequel — if there is one at this point — a closely guarded secret. However, studio President Kevin Feige had dropped some vague hints about what’s on the creative team’s mind when it comes to the future of T’Challa, Wakanda, and Black Panther.
“One of the favorite pastimes at Marvel Studios is sitting around on a Part One and talking and dreaming about what we would do in a Part Two,” he said in a March 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “There have been plenty of those conversations as we were putting together the first Black Panther. We have ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one.”
While that didn’t offer much in the way of clues, Feige did indicate that Wakanda’s past — and the history of the Black Panther — could also inform the franchise’s future. Referencing the prologue in Black Panther that had T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, visiting the United States in the early ’90s, Feige said that specific time period might not be revisited, but the idea of the Black Panther’s history as the leader (and protector) of Wakanda has led to some intriguing questions.
“We would talk about the ancestral plane sequence [in Black Panther] where, towards the end of the movie, T’Challa takes the herb again and encounters his father, where he’s like, ‘Hey, man. We’ve kind of screwed up, and I want to change it.'” he recalled. “There’s that moment where all of the ancestors come behind T’Chaka. We would joke and go, ‘I want to see … what’s their story? What’s that story? Who was Bashenga, the first king of Wakanda? Who’s that third to the left, behind T’Chaka? What was their story in Wakanda in 1938? That would be cool.’ It all starts as conversations like that. The more audiences want to see these stories, the more opportunities we have to explore different places and time.”
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