Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — 3 Marvel movies and shows to watch first

Angela Bassett as Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Annette Brown)

Ready to go watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Not so fast: I've got three Marvel movies and shows you should watch first. But, dear reader, don't worry. Just as I did with my Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review, this story is completely spoiler-free. That said, I get a little opaque — for your own good. 

The big thing you should do, which I did, is watch the first Black Panther. It's on Disney Plus, as you might have guessed (or known), like every Marvel movie that doesn't have "Spider-Man" or "The Incredible Hulk" in the title. 

This is a great way to re-familiarize yourself with the cast of characters in Wakanda, and everyone's favorite CIA agent: Everett Kenneth Ross (Martin Freeman). If you haven't seen the movie in a while, you'll get two perks in one viewing: enjoying one of the best MCU movies and reminding yourself how central grief is to the Black Panther story. 

Going into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, many will have Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing lingering in heads and hearts. But watching the first Black Panther again will remind you that death preceded that film as well, with King T'Chaka dying in Helmut Zemo's attack on the United Nations in Captain America: Civil War.

The former Wakandan king's death even plays a large role in that film. Vengeance for his death consumes others, and drives wedges between the Wakandan rulers. Also, rewatching Black Panther before you see Wakanda Forever may be an easy way to enter the sequel in a more emotional state, with Boseman's brilliance fresh in your mind.

Without spoiling anything from Wakanda Forever, I can say that you'll be happy you have some familiarity with the original when you watch the sequel. This isn't just about callbacks — it's about having an understanding about why people have the emotional baggage they do.

Watch Black Panther (opens in new tab) on Disney Plus

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever gives Marvel completists a reward

If you've watched all of the MCU movies and shows, I think you'll probably be in good shape. That said, there are two I want to call out for ties that I frankly refuse to explain. And, unfortunately, neither is entirely beloved.

While watching Wakanda Forever, I was happy that I'd seen The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (opens in new tab) and Black Widow (opens in new tab). I don't champion either project, but thoroughness in consuming all of the MCU continues to pay off.

And that reward is a bit subtle — but it made my eyes widen as my brain started to calculate all the permutations. If you have to pick just one, I think Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the more important of the two.

If you ignore those two, and feel extra out of the loop? Don't blame me.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Friday (Nov. 11, 2022).

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.