On February 16, Black Panther clawed its way into theaters– and our hearts–and changed the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a movie full of visceral action, droolworthy technology, and perhaps best of all for a Marvel movie, a sympathetic villain you actually cared about! With the inevitable Black Panther 2 looming on the horizon, we must now shift our gaze to what lies ahead for T’Challa and the Wakandan people in Phase IV–specifically the villains. How will they outdo Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger? Well, they might not be able to…but on today’s episode of The Dan Cave, I have a list of the best Black Panther villains we absolutely need to see in a sequel.
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Marvel’s shapeshifting, warmongering alien menace, the Skrulls, are going to be a major player in Captain Marvel and potentially beyond. So what if these green meanies invaded Wakanda as they tried to do in the comics? The currently untitled Avengers 4 is probably going to be “Secret Invasion,” in which it was revealed the Skrulls had secretly replaced people all across the globe–including some of our greatest heroes. What if Black Panther 2 saw T’Challa not only dealing with another, lesser threat, but also sleeper agents and an alien invasion within his kingdom?
For starters, it would be seriously badass because in the comics, Wakanda is basically the only nation in the world able to resist a Skrull invasion, placing their little green heads on pikes and leaving their bodies piled up with a warning against trying what they did. Honestly, Marvel needs to do this if for no other reason than the time that Black Panther took on a Super Skrull single-handedly and proceeded to shatter its limbs and pluck out its eyes. You know…Super Skrull? Something the Fantastic Four can barely handle on its own. But then again, Black Panther made his auspicious debut by inviting the FF to Wakanda to hunt them for sport, so I guess he’s just has that entire corner of the Marvel Universe’s number.
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How do you follow up the story of an exiled heir to the throne seeking vengeance and acceptance while instigating an insurrection? With the goddamn devil himself. Black Panther has fought all types of baddies in his day, but one of his most devious encounters was with Mephisto, the Marvel Universe’s equivalent of Satan. What did Black Panther do when Mephisto captured his trusty CIA pal, Everett Ross? If you said “walk right up to him, lay him out with a single punch, then proceed to rip out his heart,” then go ahead and collect $200. Between Doctor Strange and Black Panther’s transcendental Djalia plane, the MCU is now firmly in the land of the supernatural, so a superheroic slugfest and a devilish battle of wits with the devil himself would make for one hell of a sequel.
Everyone agrees Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia was one of the most badass parts of Black Panther. As a Wakandan intelligence agent, Nakia proved she has serious skills when it comes to skullduggery. In the comics, though, she wasn’t always on the side of the angels. In fact, she basically becomes the Black Panther’s equivalent of the Winter Soldier. Nakia was dangerously obsessed T’Challa, even going so far as to try and murder his then-girlfriend Monica Lynne in an effort to claim him for herself. As a result she lost her position in the Dora Milaje–which, yes, is different than in the movie–and found herself in the clutches of the madman Achebe, who psychologically tortured her and left her for dead. She was then found by Erik Killmonger, who used something called the Resurrection Altar to give her superpowers and sent her on a mission of revenge against Black Panther and all of the women in his life. You know, because comics. But in all seriousness, seeing Lupita Nyong’o turn into a badass assassin who cannot be stopped sounds like exactly what the MCU needs right now.
With the impending acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney, a whole host of characters will suddenly be available to the MCU. Most exciting of all is one of Marvel’s greatest and archest villains, Doctor Doom, who could go on to be one of the Black Panther’s greatest villains if they play their cards right. Not only is Doctor Doom a brilliant scientist and inventor, but he is incredibly strong, commands an army of hyperintelligent robots, and is usually 3 steps ahead of everyone else. If Black Panther 2 follows the “Doomwar” storyline in which Black Panther must work with Deadpool; an elite strike force of the Dora Milaje called the Midnight Angels; and others like the Fantastic Four to defeat Doctor Doom, who has stolen all of Wakanda’s vibranium, that would be one hell of a way to unite the two studios’ character pools. It’s a story full of political intrigue, tough decisions, and incredibly intelligent people constantly outsmarting one another. Case in point, Doom basically forces Black Panther to destroy Wakanda by rendering all of its vibranium inert. And it that’s not cool enough for you, Black Panther develops a new kind of science called shadow physics that combines alchemy and quantum physics and just sounds WAY cooler than normal physics in order to track Doom down.
Wakanda may be one of the strongest and most technologically advanced nations on Earth, but their dominance doesn’t extend to the ocean’s briny depths. There, Namor, the Sub-Mariner, rules over the highly advanced, militaristic kingdom of Atlantis with an iron fist and a winged foot. As an incredibly powerful king of an incredibly powerful nation, Namor is understandably a total dickbag. And in keeping with his tradition of being the goddamn worst, Namor is also responsible for one of the greatest tragedies in Wakandan history: when he was possessed by the Phoenix Force, Namor drowned thousands of Wakandans with a massive tidal wave, leaving T’Challa to basically rule over a nation of the dead.
If you put Namor into a Black Panther sequel, you’re going to get action, heartwrenching drama, uncomfortable Speedos, and murders most foul. In other words, exactly what you want from a sequel. In the meantime, Kevin Feige needs to put his negotiatin’ hat on so Marvel can secure the rights to their answer to Aquaman from Univeral so we can finally see these two meaty monarchs slug it out on the big screen. Imperius Rex!
What better villain could there be than some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe? The Illuminati is the shadowy cabal consisting of Iron Man, Namor, Mr. Fantastic, Professor X, Black Bolt, and Doctor Strange–and at one point, Black Panther too–who came together to use their collective intelligence and influence to manipulate world events to prevent potential catastrophes from coming to pass.
The only problem is they have a godawful track record. They launch Hulk into space, which blows up spectacularly in their faces when Hulk returns to Earth with an army hellbent on revenge. They also collected the Infinity Stones so no one else could use them for evil, which naturally led to villains like the Hood finding out about it and nearly stealing them all. Then there’s the whole debacle where the multiverse began collapsing in on itself, causing the Illuminati to make the decision to save their universe by using a superweapon to obliterate another.
With Wakanda established as a major player on the world stage and the Black Panther a force with which to be reckoned, introducing a secret society of the MCU’s most powerful players and the murky politics that follow could make for one hell of a follow-up story. And if it winds up taking us all the way to a cinematic version of Secret Wars, then so be it. Interdimensional Game of Thrones with God King Doctor Doom sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.
And those are some of the greatest Black Panther villains that would make for an awesome sequel. But tell me–who do you want to see in a Black Panther sequel? Let me know in the comments below.
Images: Marvel Comics
Sources: Marvel; Fandom; ComicVine
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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).