Given how exceptionally Black Panther performed on both the critical and commercial fronts in 2018, it’s hardly surprising that Marvel Studios eventually gave the green light to a sequel. Unfortunately, Black Panther 2 will lack its predecessor’s lead actor, as Chadwick Boseman passed away last August from complications related to colon cancer. The following December, Marvel producer Kevin Feige announced that T’Challa will not be recast for Black Panther 2, leaving the ultimate fate of the character shrouded in mystery.
Nevertheless, Black Panther 2 is still pushing forward as the first theatrical release of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 5, with filming reportedly beginning this June. While we await story details for the sequel, let’s go over the actors who’ve been announced so far to make up the main cast, many of whom you’ll remember from our last Black Panther outing.
Wakanda has Princess Shuri to thank for many of its modern technological innovations, and T’Challa certainly wouldn’t have gotten far in Black Panther without his sister’s help, which included her giving him a nanotech-enhanced suit contained inside a Panther Habit. Letitia Wright reprised Shuri in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame; the former movie saw her attempting to extract the Mind Stone from Vision without killing him, and she participated in the latter movie’s climactic battle after being returned to life by Hulk’s Infinity Stones-powered snap. Because a new actor won’t be playing T’Challa in Black Panther 2, it’s been speculated that Shuri might inherit the Black Panther mantle like her comic book counterpart did, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Within the MCU, Danai Gurira’s Okoye leads the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces group. She was one of T’Challa’s key allies in Black Panther and fought alongside her king in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Presumably Okoye will still be leading the Dora Milaje when Black Panther 2 rolls around, so she’ll likely continue to support Black Panther (whoever that is) out in the field. It’s also worth noting that unlike T’Challa and Shuri, Okoye survived Thanos’ genocidal snap, so it might be interesting to touch on what life was like for her away from the Avengers during those five years when half of the universe’s population was gone.
Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia was once part of the Dora Milaje, but then shifted to being a War Dog, i.e. an international spy for Wakanda. It was also noted in Black Panther how she and T’Challa used to be romantically involved, and at the end of the the movie, it looked like they were resuming their relationship. However, Nakia did not appear in Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame, and because T’Challa won’t be involved in Black Panther 2, it stands to reason we won’t get to see the couple’s story properly concluded. Obviously it would be welcome for Black Panther 2 to explore how Nakia is dealing with T’Challa’s absence if something tragic has happened to him, but it would also be nice to learn what Nakia has been up to since Black Panther ended, including if she was among the people turned to dust by Thanos.
The Jabari Tribe wasn’t on the best of terms with the rest of Wakanda at the beginning of Black Panther, and its leader, M’Baku, even challenged T’Challa for the right to lead Wakanda. Later on though, Winston Duke’s character ended being a key ally to T’Challa when Killmonger took the Wakandan throne, and by the end of Black Panther, he’d become a member of Wakanda’s national council. M’Baku was later seen battling Thanos’ forces in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but with Black Panther 2 back to focusing on Wakandan life, hopefully we’ll see how M’Baku has settled into collaborating with Wakanda’s other prominent figures rather than keeping the Jabari isolated.
Ramonda didn’t have a whole lot to do in Black Panther, but it was clear that she was a good mother to both T’Challa and Shuri, as well as a wise ruler. Angela Bassett briefly reprised Ramonda in Avengers: Endgame, but Black Panther 2 provides the opportunity to give her a bigger role in this corner of the MCU. If the Wakandan throne is now empty, perhaps Ramonda could sit back in it while a new leader is chosen. Or, if Shuri is crowed Wakanda’s queen, then needless to say that Ramonda’s counsel would be most welcome as her daughter is getting the hang of leadership.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Everett Ross is one of United States’ chief experts on Wakanda. Martin Freeman’s iteration of the character looked to be heading in that same direction, because although he and T’Challa got off on the wrong foot in Captain America: Civil War, during Black Panther, Ross ended up being of invaluable assistance during the final battle against Killmonger’s forces. It’s unclear if Ross is now a U.S. liaison to Wakanda when Black Panther 2 begins or if he’s been stationed elsewhere, but either way, I imagine if he finds his way back to the African nation, he’ll be received warmly.
Tenoch Huerta is arguably best known to American audiences for starring as Rafael Caro Quinto in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico. He also had a two-episode stint in Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, and can be seen later this year in The Forever Purge. Huerta was the first new actor to be reported for Black Panther 2, although his involvement hasn’t been confirmed yet. If he does sign onto the sequel, Huerta would apparently play one of the movie’s antagonists, with some sources saying he could be cast as White Tiger. If that’s true, that would be taking the character in a different direction, as White Tiger is usually portrayed in a heroic light.
Black Panther 2 is currently slated for July 8, 2022. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on its development, including the announcements of more actors. In the meantime, you can learn what else the MCU is prepping for the big screen with our Marvel movies guide.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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