This Black Panther cast member isn't returning for Wakanda Forever

The logo for Black Panther 2 Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever is the next upcoming Marvel movie, but it's slowly starting to seem a bit less marvelous? Slated for a November 11 release this year, the Black Panther sequel was dealt hit after hit, starting with the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular Wakandan king.

Now, we've learned that Black Panther co-star Daniel Kaluuya (who played W’Kabi in the first Black Panther film) will not be in the second chapter. Kaluuya, who is starring in Jordan Peele's Nope (due July 22), was too busy.

News first broke when Rotten Tomatoes' Jacqueline Coley tweeted out "Fresh from my Nope interview with Daniel Kaluuya he did not reprise his role in #BlackPanther2 due to his schedule conflicts," with the Jordan Peele film. Disney reps then confirmed this to IndieWire

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been troubled by cast questions

While this casting disparity must have been known well in advance, the Ryan Coogler-directed MCU film has had some casting issues for quite some time. Last year, fan demand for Michael B. Jordan — who played Erik Killmonger, who died at the end of the first film — led to the actor fielding many questions. He ranked the chances of reprising the role as low, stating "I'll go with a solid 2. I didn’t want to go 0, you know what I mean? Never say never, I can’t predict the future. 2 sounds OK I guess." 

Then, speaking to MTV, Jordan almost suggested it had a better chance of happening. "Man, I mean I think it's a character and a world that I love so much, you know who knows?" Jordan said. "But as we all know, Marvel has their plans and their things. Who knows how things are going to shake out." Killmonger could return, of course, via the ancestral plane where T'Challa spoke with his deceased father.

Then, fan demand for a new T'Challa, recasting the role, became a whole new debate online. This led MCU producer Nate Moore to tell The Ringer-Verse podcast that there will not be a recast T'Challa, stating "I'm being quite honest, you will not see T'Challa in the MCU 616 Universe ... We couldn't do it. I will say when Chad passed, it was a real conversation we had with [director Ryan] Coogler, about 'What do we do?' And it was a fast conversation. It wasn't weeks, it was minutes of 'We have to figure out how to move this franchise on without that character,' because I think we all feel so much of T'Challa in the MCU on the screen — not in comics, right — is tied to Chadwick's performance."

Lastly, of course, there's the Letitia Wright situation. The actress, who plays Shuri — who some thought could be the next Black Panther, was injured on set, which led to delays. Then, there were concerns that Wright may not even be in the film, due to a rumor she wasn't interested in getting the Covid-19 vaccine. The Hollywood Reporter later confirmed that Wright will reprise her role.

Analysis: One thing to look forward to in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

While most of the details of the new movie are kept secret at this time, THR reported that we'll get more of Winston Duke (Us), as M'Baku is going to have "an expanded role." Duke told Collider that "It was very emotional to read the script. It was emotional to pack to go back to set. But we're all a bit of a family now and we grieve together, and we're making something really special."

We got so little of M'Baku in Black Panther that we're excited to see his return. We expect to hear more about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at Marvel's Saturday panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing 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.