The high-impact release of 2018’s Black Panther made one thing crystal clear: the MCU would return to Wakanda before long. At this point, T’Challa already had slated appearances in that year’s Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 follow-up Endgame; but his standalone feature whetted appetites for more stories about the African royal and hero. Thus, Marvel Studios immediately set the gears in motion for a second Black Panther feature.
Of course, before we get to further details on the project, our principal questions concern the passing of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
What’s the film called?
In a video released by Marvel Studios in May 2021, we learned that Black Panther 2 has an official new title. The film is called Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Concerning Chadwick Boseman’s death
In 2020, Black Panther star Boseman died after a longstanding battle with colon cancer. As the general public had not known about his disease, the news met prominently with shock. Naturally, Boseman’s passing instigated questions about the fate of a Black Panther sequel. Foremost, some wondered whether Marvel Studios would cancel the project altogether; studio head Kevin Feige asserted quickly that the movie would continue on. Further conversations suggested that it would divert focus to a character other than T’Challa. Answering a relevant question, Feige has insisted that Black Panther 2 will not recast the T’Challa role.
During Disney Investor Day 2020, Feige said, “[Boseman’s] portrayal of T’Challa, the Black Panther, is iconic, and transcends any iteration of the character from any other medium in Marvel’s past. It is for that reason that we will not recast the character.”
But even still, questions have prevailed concerning the character’s presence in the MCU. Disney productions of recent past had used CGI to reproduce the likeness of deceased actors; the Star Wars movies Rogue One and The Rise of Skywalker did just that with actors Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher. In November 2020, Marvel producer Victoria Alonso addressed the matter to Argentine publication Clarin. When asked about the possibility of a CGI substitute for Boseman, Alonso said the following (via Deadline):
“No. There’s only one Chadwick, and he’s no longer with us. Sadly, our king has died in real life, not only in fiction, and we’re taking a little time to see how we continue the story and how to honor this chapter of what has unexpectedly happened to us, so painful and terrible to be honest.”
In April 2021, Vanity Fair revisited the issue with Nate Moore, a producer of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the ongoing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series. Per the appearance of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje on the show, Vanity Fair questioned Moore about the possibility of a computer-generated T’Challa cameo. Moore told the publication:
“That is not going to happen…I would be honest if it was. Chad’s passing is a whole life thing, and I loved the guy as much as the character. I think we have to be very careful and thoughtful about when he appears, because he meant so much to a lot of people as much as he meant to us. But yeah, we wouldn’t use that as a ‘Come next week; maybe you’ll see Panther!’ We wouldn’t, and he’s not.”
So who will star?
Though we can presume that Marvel will refocus the script around a new lead, as of yet we do not know who will head-up the story. Some posit that the Black Panther sequel will center on T’Challa’s sister Shuri; another possibility would involve a new character entirely as the nucleus of the action.
Still, we do know some details. Marvel has confirmed that the following Black Panther stars would revive their roles in the sequel: Letitia Wright (Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakai), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), and Martin Freeman (Everett Ross). In November 2020, The Hollywood Reporter teased the possibility of Tenoch Huerta joining the cast as the story’s villain. This news remains unofficial.
In late July, Variety reported Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) has joined the cast. We don’t know who she’s playing and Marvel Studios declined to comment to Variety on the casting.
Who is behind the scenes?
Ryan Coogler, director of the first Black Panther movie, will return to write and direct Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
What will Black Panther II be about?
At this time, it’s anyone’s guess. As mentioned above, the film may revolve around tech genius Shuri. On a related note, Coogler is also putting together a Wakanda-based television series for Disney+. Though these remain independent projects, we can expect that the storylines will intersect in one way or another.
But rest assured! As the project enters production, we will no doubt accrue further details. Which brings us to our next question.
When will the film release?
On July 29, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever began production in Atlanta, Georgia, per Variety. The film has a scheduled release date of July 8, 2022.
This piece was originally published on April 14, 2021 and was updated on May 3, June 2, and June 30, 2021.