Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus — when should you expect it?

(L - R): Winston Duke as M'Baku, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Angela Basset as Ramonda and Danai Gurira as Okoye in key art for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel)

I want to watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus right now. Unfortunately for me, I'm working. But if you're like me, you're wondering when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases on Disney Plus.

Now that the movie is finally in theaters (which will remove it from our list of the upcoming Marvel movies), and our Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review is out, the next question becomes when the heck Black Panther is out on streaming.

Fortunately, we've got a bunch of data points about when past Marvel Studios movies have come out on Disney Plus, to extrapolate from.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Disney Plus release date's best case scenario

The theater-to-streaming wait window has typically been 45 days for most studios, and The Batman on HBO Max was one of those films that got the tight 45-day window.

For Disney (which Marvel Studios is under the umbrella of), the 45-day window also applies, and first came to conversation when Disney CEO Bob Chapek famously announced that that Shang-Chi would have a 45-day theatrical exclusivity window. He dubbed this "an interesting experiment." That phrase set a fire under some, including star Simu Liu, who tweeted (opens in new tab) "We are not an experiment. We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise. I’m fired the f**k up to make history..." But Marvel didn't stick to that script, as Shang-Chi took 70 days to get there. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, however, had a 47-day wait for its Disney Plus release, arriving on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

But since Disney Plus has a pattern of releasing big-name films and movies in the latter half of the week, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's date isn't exactly guaranteed. The earliest we'd bet is Saturday, Dec. 26 (45 days after theaters), then, we think Wednesday, Dec. 30 is also possible. That said? Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Friday, January 1, 2023 — New Year's Day — sounds very possible.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus — the worst case scenario

That said, we could be waiting a bit longer. But we still expect Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to hit Disney Plus in January 2023, and not a month later.

Thor: Love and Thunder (60 days), Eternals (68 days) and Shang-Chi (70 days) all took additional weeks to arrive on Disney Plus. Mid-January, though, doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. Except when you think about how Disney Plus doesn't have a whole lot planned for January 2023. 

And considering how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever feels like just as big, if not bigger, a movie than those three, we wouldn't be surprised to see Disney make us wait while the theatrical release stays profitable.

So, going by Shang-Chi's release, we're going to say that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's latest likely Disney Plus release date is Friday, January 20, 2023.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus outlook

Those with calendars open on their devices see that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Disney Plus release date window stretches across four whole weeks. 

That's not ideal, but we don't expect to hear about Wakanda Forever's Disney Plus date in the near future. Doing so could cannibalize ticket sales, so don't look for an official word from Disney or Marvel Studios in the near future.

Disney may be looking to release the movie in a timely way to keep good will. A Disney Plus price hike is coming, as ad-free Disney Plus will cost $10.99 per month starting on Dec. 8. An ad-supported Disney Plus Basic will keep the current $7.99 pricing.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.