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Now that Black Panther has finally debuted in Captain America: Civil War, many are looking forward to his solo movie in 2018. Although Black Panther was announced back in October 2014, the only actor who’s been officially announced has been Chadwick Boseman returning to play T’Challa. Now that the movie is less than two years from release, it was expected that casting information would start to come out, and today brings news that 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o might join the blockbuster.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nyong’o is in negotiations to join Black Panther. Although the character she would play wasn’t specifically identified, she was described as T’Challa’s love interest. If she ends up being cast, this would just propel her Disney stardom even higher up, having already played Maz Kanta in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and voiced Raksha in The Jungle Book. Nyong’o’s other work includes Queen of Katwe and starring in Broadway’s Eclipsed.
Black Panther has been a part of Marvel lore since 1966, and over those decades, he’s had a few love interests. The first one that comes to mind is Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. Storm, who he was married to for many years, but since she’s an X-Men character, she can’t make the jump from 20th Century Fox. One of the other major ones was American singer Monica Lynne, who rescued T’Challa when he was drowning, and he later returned the favor when she was being attacked by a gang of criminals. For a while she lived with him in Wakanda and they were engaged, but it was eventually called off. Monica is often described as T’Challa’s "first true love," so she’s certainly a strong possibility right now for Lupita Nyong’o's character. That said, because Black Panther is primarily set in Wakanda, the movie would either have to make her Wakandan or find a way to bring her to the country so that T’Challa would meet her.
As stated before, aside from Chadwick Boseman and now possibly Lupita Nyong’o, no official character announcements have been made regarding Black Panther. It’s been suggested that Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross might appear following his debut in Captain America: Civil War, which would make sense considering how closely connected he is to T’Challa and Wakanda in the comics. Then there’s Ulysses Klaue, who was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Considering that he’s one of Black Panther’s greatest enemies on the printed page, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Andy Serkis reprise the role, either as the main antagonist or a side villain. Beyond players, plot details also haven’t been revealed, though the movie will somehow tie in to the Avengers: Infinity War movies.
Directed by Creed’s Ryan Coogler, Black Panther slashes its way into theaters on February 16, 2018.