This feature was written before the tragic news that Chadwick Boseman had died at the age of 43. Our thoughts are with his family.
Even before Marvel started talking officially about the MCU’s Phase Four, given the reaction to the first movie, boss Kevin Feige said a Black Panther sequel is “absolutely” going to happen.
“[I have] nothing specific to reveal, other than to say we absolutely will do that,” he said.
That’s a no-brainer given that the film broke records for the superhero genre, landed a historic Golden Globes nomination (although it didn’t win) and made Oscar history at the 2019 Academy Awards.
And lo and behold, Feige confirmed that Black Panther 2 was happening at Comic-Con. So what do we know about the upcoming return of the King of Wakanda?
Black Panther 2 release date: When can we expect it?
Ryan Coogler is attached to write and direct Black Panther 2 and he’s bringing back the original creative cast, because why wouldn’t he?
They’re taking their time to make sure it’s a worthy sequel too as it was confirmed at D23 Expo that the sequel will be out on May, 6, 2022. So far that hasn’t moved despite the general state of the world, and the shift of the other Phase 4 titles.
The May 2022 release date means Black Panther 2 is either one of the final movies of Phase 4 or one of the first in Phase 5.
Black Panther 2 plot: What’s it all about?
As said, it’s early days for the Black Panther sequel, so we’ve got a while to wait until plot details start to trickle through.
But this hasn’t stopped fans from speculating what’s next for the warriors of Wakanda.
In the first flick, it was Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa who was eventually crowned as ruler and protector of Wakanda after fighting off competition from Michael B Jordan’s Erik Killmonger and Winston Duke’s M’Baku.
For the next round, rumour has it that one of the ideas put forward for the script involves Wakanda under attack yet again, with either Namor or Princess Zanda being the antagonist who’s looking to take over.
This is all just speculation, of course, but it would certainly fit in line with the theory doing the rounds that Namor (AKA Marvel’s version of Aquaman) is set to make his MCU debut after he was alluded to in Endgame. We know that the villain has been on Marvel’s mind since it regained the rights to the character in 2016. Will his grand entrance unfold in Black Panther 2? Time will tell.
As for the focus of the film, Coogler told ScreenRant that he wanted to explore what T’Challa would be like growing into his role as a king, especially given how different the character is in the MCU from his comic book origin.
He said: “I’d be really interested to see, you know, what kind of king he is with experience and how that affects his performance in the stories.”
Kevin Feige has his own ideas. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said that when they looked at the scene on the ancestral plane in Black Panther: “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’.
“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.”
Black Panther 2 villain: Could Killmonger return?
Audiences aren’t usually supposed to root for the bad guy, but Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens wasn’t a typical antagonist and he finally solved Marvel’s pesky ‘villain problem’.
No wonder Jordan scooped a Best Villain trophy at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
It’s unlikely he could return, but you never know in the superhero world, and all Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige will say for now is that it’s too early to say and “nothing is set yet in any way that far”.
It’s not a no.
Then again, maybe Jordan is conflicted, saying he needed therapy after playing Killmonger in the first movie.
Black Panther 2 cast: Who’s coming back?
The cast of Black Panther arguably matched (and stole the show) from title character T’Challa, so we expect most of those featured in the first film to return.
That includes Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi) and Angela Bassett (Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother).
In fact, Daniel Kaluuya has yet to confirm if he will reprise his role. He told the ReelBlend podcast: “I don’t know yet. I hope so, too! No pressure, story is key. Whatever the story needs, the story needs.”
T’Challa’s tech-wizard sis Shuri has also become the Black Panther in the comic books and given her incredible reception from both fans and critics alike, would be an obvious contender further down the line.
Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, even told MCM London Comic Con that she’d be happy to step in for her brother, “to be comic-book accurate”.
For now, however, you can see her in Avengers: Damage Control, a VR experience. It will allow players to test a new design that combines Wakandan and Stark technology, and be recruited by none other than Shuri.
Martin Freeman certainly thinks he’ll be back as CIA agent Everett Ross: “As far as I know, I will be in another Black Panther. That’s my understanding. As to when that will happen, I don’t know.”
As discussed above, Michael B Jordan’s intense and troubled villain Erik Killmonger could also be in for a return – despite dying at the end of the first film.
Jordan has revealed to MTV that despite the whole therapy thing he would love to reprise the role of Killmonger, so perhaps something more subtle is in order:
“If there was ever an opportunity for me to come back and join this universe and work with like Joe Russo, Kevin Feige, Victoria [Alonso], and everybody over there at Marvel…”
However, there is one way to bring Jordan back that doesn’t include flashbacks. When Killmonger initially defeated T’Challa in a trial by combat, he ingested the heart-shaped herb and gained the strength of the Black Panther. That ritual should have formed a spiritual connection with the realm of Bast.
We don’t know exactly how this part of the Wakandan afterlife works, but the spirits of T’Challa’s ancestors dwell there after death, imparting wisdom to whoever next inherits the Black Panther mantle.
It would make sense if Killmonger’s spirit also wound up residing in the realm of Bast, as he has ingested the same herb as everyone else who’s wielded the power of the Black Panther.
Not content with curating the (very good) soundtrack to Black Panther, the Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar has revealed he’s also eyeing up a role in the film’s sequel. It turns out Michael B Jordan’s character has been a big influence.
Black Panther 2 trailer: When will it land?
A profile of Disney CEO Bob Iger in the Wall Street Journal on October 2, 2019 implied that Coogler was then “just beginning the process of outlining the story” for Black Panther 2. However, with no finished script to speak of and therefore no production date in the diary, there’s also no trailer yet to repeat-watch to death.
With a 2022 release likely, don’t expect any footage until 2021 at the earliest. And given filming for everything has stalled, there may be knock on effects we don’t even know about yet.
Black Panther 2 is due to be released on May 6, 2022.