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Black Panther 2: cast, release date changes and all you need to know about Wakanda Forever

The Black Panther 2 we see in theaters will not be the sequel anybody would have  wanted to see when the movie was first announced. The tra...

The Black Panther 2 we see in theaters will not be the sequel anybody would have  wanted to see when the movie was first announced. The tragic death of star Chadwick Boseman (King T'Challa/Black Panther) in August 2020 means this eagerly anticipated follow-up will arrive tinged with sadness – and that returning director Ryan Coogler has had to completely rethink his film to accommodate the absence of its popular leading man.

Even without Boseman, the sequel – now titled Wakanda Forever – is almost certain to be a hit. Of the 26 MCU movie releases to date, only the four Avengers outings have performed better at the worldwide box office than the first Black Panther. It was also the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

But what will Black Panther 2 look like without its iconic King T’Challa? When will we see it in cinemas? Who will lead the cast? How has Letitia Wright’s on-set accident affected production? And how will the movie fit into the wider MCU continuity? 

We’ve pulled together all the essential information surrounding the Black Panther 2 release date, story and more – including rumors about a potential villain, and reports of a future MCU hero who’ll be making her debut in the movie.

Wakanda Forever!

Release date: After several delays, the Wakanda Forever release date is currently slated for November 11, 2022. It’s expected to debut in theaters, before arriving on Disney Plus at least 45 days later.

Cast: The late Chadwick Boseman will not be replaced as King T’Challa, but most of the first movie’s excellent supporting cast will return, including Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett and Martin Freeman. I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel also joins the ensemble.

Story: In the Marvel tradition, plot details are currently heavily under wraps, but it’s rumored Prince Namor – aka the Sub-Mariner – will appear in Wakanda Forever. We can also expect to see Wakanda coming to terms with the consequences of sharing its advanced technology with the world.

Black Panther 2 release date

Black Panther 2 release date: November 2022

Within a month of the first Black Panther’s February 2018 theatrical debut, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was confirming in Entertainment Weekly that “we absolutely will do [a sequel]”.

But despite the colossal success of the original movie, Marvel and Disney never seemed in a rush to bring out a follow-up – even before star Chadwick Boseman’s sad passing prompted a complete rethink of director Ryan Coogler’s plans for the story.

For a long time, the Black Panther 2 release date was scheduled for May 2022. Then, following a major Covid-19 induced reshuffle that saw Black Widow and subsequent MCU movies pushed back, the big Marvel Studios Celebrates the Movies trailer – part of Hollywood’s drive to get people back to theaters in spring 2021 – confirmed a new Black Panther 2 release date of July 2022.

That’s since changed again, following Marvel's decision to push back all of its planned movie releases in 2022 and beyond. Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever subsequently shifted to the November 11, 2022 slot previously occupied by Captain Marvel/Ms Marvel team-up The Marvels.

Will the Black Panther 2 release date be held up again? Everyone’s hoping not, though there is an extra complication that could add to the delays: as of November 2021, production is on hiatus due to an injury star Letitia Wright sustained on set a few months earlier:

Black Panther

The Dora Milaje in the original Black Panther. (Image credit: Disney)

“Letitia had a frightening accident on our set during a stunt back in August,” producers Feige, Nate Moore and Louis D’Esposito said in a note to the Wakanda Forever crew (reported by Deadline). “What we had initially thought were minor injuries turned out to be much more serious, with Letitia suffering a critical shoulder fracture, and a concussion with severe side effects. It has been a painful process and Letitia has been home recovering with her doctors and the support of family.”

While the production schedule was adjusted to take account of Shuri’s absence, the note points out that “there’s only so much we can do without Shuri”. This statement tallies with widespread rumors that Shuri will inherit the Black Panther mantle in Wakanda Forever. Principal photography is expected to resume in January.

It seems likely that Black Panther 2 will first debut in theaters, before making the move to Disney Plus at least 45 days later.

Although Black Widow arrived on the streaming platform the day it landed in theaters (as part of the premium Premier Access package), Marvel and Disney subsequently reintroduced the traditional theatrical release window for both Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals. We’d expect Black Panther 2’s release to follow a similar pattern.

Black Panther 2 cast

Black Panther 2 cast: who’s in the movie?

This is the Black Panther 2 cast list, based on the intel we have so far:

  • Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye
  • Winston Duke as M’Baku
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda
  • Martin Freeman as Everett Ross
  • Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams
  • Tenoch Huerta as Prince Namor (rumored)
  • Michaela Coel as TBC

Chadwick Boseman’s death has left an unimaginably large hole in the Black Panther 2 cast. Wakanda Forever won’t be recreating the star digitally, however, as Rogue One did with Peter Cushing.

“There’s only one Chadwick, and he’s not with us,” Marvel Studios executive vice president Victoria Alonso told Argentinian website Clarin (via Digital Spy). “Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to history and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected, so painful, so terrible, really.”

Nor will Black Panther 2 cast a new actor to play King T’Challa (aka Black Panther). “I want to acknowledge the devastating loss of a dear friend and a member of our Marvel Studios family,” Kevin Feige told Disney’s Investor Day conference in December 2020. “Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and inspirational individual who affected all of our lives both personally and professionally. His 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.”

Even without its hero, however, the Black Panther 2 cast will feature plenty of familiar MCU faces. A Hollywood Reporter story in November 2020 reported that Lupita Nyong’o (spy Nakia), Letitia Wright (T’Challa’s sister, Shuri), Winston Duke (Jabari Tribe leader M’Baku) and Angela Bassett (T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda) are all reprising their roles in Wakanda Forever, while CinemaBlend said that Danai Gurira will be back as Okoye, leader of Wakanda's elite royal guards, the Dora Milaje. An August 2021 tweet from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever News appeared to show Gurira and Wright together on set. 

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Elsewhere, Martin Freeman confirmed on The Late Show with James Corden in May that the US operative he plays, Everett Ross, will be back: “I had a Zoom call with Ryan Coogler, the director and co-writer, about seven or eight weeks ago, I suppose, and he sort of meticulously took me through all of my character’s beats in the film.”

It’s yet to be confirmed, however, whether Daniel Kaluuya – who’s just won an Oscar for his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah – will return as W’Kabi, T’Challa’s best friend. Even Kaluuya himself said in February 2020 he has “no idea” if he’s heading back to Wakanda. “[It’s about] whatever the story needs,” he told Jemele Hill (via ScreenRant). “I’m a fan. I’m that kind of person, if the story and the piece is better without me, I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna watch this because I really wanna watch this.’ And if I’m in it and I’m able to serve it, then I’m in it.”

Killmonger and T'Challa

Michael B Jordan probably won't be back in Black Panther 2 – but "never say never".  (Image credit: Marvel)

One star of the first movie who probably won’t be back for Black Panther 2 is Michael B Jordan, who played antagonist Erik Killmonger. Aside from the fact that Killmonger died in the first movie – not that that’s ever been a barrier to a character’s return in the MCU – Feige has said (as reported by CinemaBlend) that any reports of Jordan’s return are “pure rumor and speculation”, and that “nothing is set yet in any way”.

When asked by Jess Cagle on Sirius XM about the likelihood of a Killmonger comeback on a scale of one (never) to 10 (definite), Jordan said: “I’m gonna have to go with a solid two. I didn’t want to go zero! Never say never – I can’t predict the future!”

There’s no official confirmation yet on Wakanda Forever’s villain, but a Hollywood Reporter story said in November 2020 that Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta was in talks to join the Black Panther 2 cast as an antagonist. The Illuminerdi threw a bit more light on the mystery in June 2021, claiming they had “learned from our sources” that Huerta is playing Prince Namor (also known as the Sub-Mariner), the Atlantean antihero who's essentially Marvel's answer to DC's Aquaman.

As reported in Variety, British actress, writer, producer and director Michaela Coel has also signed on in an undisclosed role.

Her critically acclaimed 2020 TV show I May Destroy You picked up numerous awards, including an Emmy for Coel's writing, so her star is only set to shine brighter as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's release date approaches.

And finally, the movie will provide an introduction to the headline star of one of the MCU's ever-expanding list of upcoming Disney Plus TV shows. Feige confirmed in August 2021 that the Iron Man-like Ironheart, aka Riri Williams, will make her live-action debut in Black Panther 2. Dominique Thorne has already been cast in the role.

Black Panther 2 story

Black Panther 2 story: what do we know about the plot?

When it comes to storylines, Marvel tends to operate on a strict need-to-know basis, so little is known for sure about the Black Panther 2 plot. Indeed, with Boseman having kept his cancer diagnosis secret, Coogler had originally worked on a script that would feature the star reprising his role as T’Challa. “I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see,” Coogler said (via the Hollywood Reporter). “It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.”

What does all that mean for Wakanda Forever? Marvel’s December 2020 Disney Investor Day presentation said that the sequel “will continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda, and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film” – a strategy reiterated by Feige in an interview with Deadline in January 2021.

“So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda,” he said. “Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story. Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well.”

As far back as March 2018, Feige was aware of the potential of Black Panther’s supporting cast. “It’s a balance between leaving people wanting more and then giving them too much,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I think Shuri’s astounding, and you’ll see much more of her in our universe. Okoye, I think I’d watch three action films of just Okoye. I’m not saying we’re doing that, but I’m saying that we’re intrigued by them.”

Lupita Nyong’o simply said (in an interview with Good Morning America) that Black Panther 2 will be “different” and that “all of us are dedicated to reimagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther”. Martin Freeman, meanwhile, teased in his James Corden interview that, “Some of [the script is] very odd, and I think [Ryan Coogler] could see by the reaction on my face some of the things he was saying… He kept on saying, ‘Stay with me, but this is going to work.’”

And while Wakanda Forever won’t feature T’Challa – though it will presumably address the character’s absence in some way – there’s a strong possibility the Black Panther 2 plot will introduce his successor in that iconic vibranium cat suit. In fact, there have been numerous rumors that Shuri – Wakanda’s answer to James Bond’s Q and T’Challa’s sister – will inherit the Black Panther mantle. After all, it’s already happened in the comics...

King T'Challa returns to Wakanda in the original Black Panther.

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Black Panther 2 trailer

Black Panther 2 trailer: when will we see it?

With production currently on hiatus as Letitia Wright recovers from her injuries, we wouldn't expect a Black Panther 2 trailer to emerge for some time yet. For now, you can fill that Wakanda Forever-shaped hole with the Stan Lee-narrated Marvel Studios Celebrates the Movies trailer that revealed the Black Panther 2 title: Wakanda Forever.

How will Black Panther 2 fit into the MCU timeline?

This is based on a great big if, but assuming that the Marvel Cinematic Universe release schedule doesn't make another radical shift, Black Panther 2 will be the 30th movie in the most successful cinematic franchise of all time. It’ll follow Black Widow (July 2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 2021), Eternals (November 2021), Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 2022) and Thor: Love and Thunder (July 2021) into theaters.

As for where Black Panther 2 fits into the MCU timeline, that’s something of a mystery, though we’re guessing it’ll take place some time after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale. After all, there was a strong Wakandan presence in the Disney Plus TV show, with Sam Wilson’s new Captain America suit constructed using the African nation’s sophisticated technology. There are even rumors that Anthony Mackie might turn up in Black Panther 2 as the new Cap.

Indeed, Mackie hinted in an interview with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah that he’s working out to play Wilson again – a training regime that usually takes four months – in April 2021, while the star told Entertainment Tonight that:  “I do have a Wakanda visa, so I can go to Wakanda as much as I want. I have a passport and a Wakanda visa and I'm vaccinated, so I can go to Wakanda.” The timelines check out with the Black Panther 2 production schedule, so don’t be surprised to see Mackie in Wakanda Forever.

While we don’t know exactly how Black Panther 2 will fit into the MCU timeline, it’s a good bet it’ll be setting up the new Wakanda TV spin-off Coogler is developing for Disney Plus.



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