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, with the best reviews of any movie in Marvel’s cinematic universe. Although the studio is playing coy until after the events of the Avengers: Infinity War sequel play out, Marvel has confirmed that Black Panther 2 is indeed in the works, and now the biggest question is when the film will hit theaters.
Bringing back director and co-writer Ryan Coogler along with star Chadwick Boseman in the role of T’Challa, Black Panther 2 (or whatever the film’s official title will end up being) will likely be set in a very different Marvel universe than the first film, thanks to the events of both the original movie and Infinity War. In the latest update, Coogler himself weighed in on the pressure of capturing Wakandan lightning in a bottle a second time.
Here’s everything we know about Black Panther 2 so far.
- Title: Black Panther 2 (not official)
- Release date: TBD (Possibly February 2021)
- Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya
- Director: Ryan Coogler
Confirmed to return as the writer and director on Black Panther 2 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.”
Marvel Studios has already announced release dates for upcoming films in its cinematic universe through 2021, but the movies hitting theaters on each of those dates remain a mystery.
Given the studio’s affinity for releasing films in each solo series two or three years apart, Black Panther 2 will likely drop into one of the weekends set aside in 2020 or 2021. The release dates the studio has announced so far in those years are as follows: May 1, July 31, and November 6 in 2020; and February 12, May 7, and November 5 in 2021.
Marvel also likes to reserve certain months for each franchise, with the last two Thor movies hitting theaters in November, all of the Iron Man movies debuting in May, and both Ant-Man movies premiering in July, for example. February is Black History Month, so it stands to reason that the studio could make it Black Panther month, too — making the February 12, 2021, release date a very likely target for the sequel.
The returning cast
Nearly all of the cast of Black Panther are expected to return for the sequel, with Chadwick 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.
Although Jordan’s character was a popular one, his (spoiler warning) terminal condition at the end of the first film suggests that audiences have seen the end of his story arc. Of course, it often takes more than death to keep a fan-favorite character down in a comic book movie.
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 has 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”
Updated on November 7, 2018: Added comments from Ryan Coogler on the pressures of making the sequel.