Black Panther Just Added Forest Whitaker, Here's What We Know

Forest Whitaker

Black Panther impressed audiences earlier this year when he made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, and in less than two years, fans will get to see him snag the spotlight in his own movie. Besides Chadwick Boseman reprising T'Challa, the Black Panther movie has been accumulating some talented actors, and today, that cast grew even more impressive with the addition of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Forest Whitaker.

Marvel confirmed today that Forest Whitaker will appear in Black Panther as Zuri, an elder statesman of Wakanda. He is the fifth primary actor to join the upcoming Marvel movie, following behind Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye. Whitaker has proven himself as one of Hollywood's best actors for many years, so needless to say, his involvement that has us even more excited for Black Panther.

Black Panther Zuri

While Marvel's announcement didn't provide any details about Forest Whitaker's Zuri in Black Panther, as is typically the case with comic book movies, we can turn to the source material for clues. Introduced in 1998, Zuri was a loyal ally to T'Chaka, T'Challa's father and the previous king of Wakanda. When T'Challa inherited the throne, Zuri stayed by his side as an adviser, but his words weren't the only thing that helped the kingdom. Even in his older years, he was still an excellent warrior and tracker, making him a tremendous military asset. Unfortunately, Zuri was later killed when he while he was protecting Shuri, T'Challa's sister who was attempting to become the next Black Panther at the time. Whether this means a grisly fate awaits Whitaker's Zuri in Black Panther remains to be seen, but with T'Challa slowly learning the ropes of leading Wakanda, he'll need all the help he can get from the wise statesman.

With over three decades of acting under his belt, Forest Whitaker has built an impressive resume. His notable credits include Bird, Phenomenon, The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Southpaw and the recent Roots remake. He can next be seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story playing Saw Gerrera, a Clone Wars veteran and member of the Rebel Alliance. Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be another way for him to snag additional blockbuster cred.

As an added bonus, today's Black Panther casting news didn't stop with Forest Whitaker, as it was also announced that Sicario's Daniel Kaluuya and Emerald City's Florence Kasumba have joined the cast. Karumba will reprise her role as Ayo, the member of the Dora Milage who was briefly seen in Captain America: Civil War, while Kaluuya will play W'Kabi, T'Challa's confidant. Person of Interest's Winston Duke was also confirmed to be playing M'Baku, better known in the comics as Man-Ape, whose cinematic counterpart is described as the "leader of a rival tribe in Wakanda," which we're guessing will remain the White Gorilla Cult.

Black Panther claws its way into theaters on February 16, 2018.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.