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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever release date, cast, villain, plot and more

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could see Shuri as the new Black Panther
(Image credit: Marvel)

Black Panther 2 now has an official title: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And it will arrive with a big new mission: to crown a new king ... or perhaps a queen. The sequel to Marvel's 2018 blockbuster movie is still moving forward, despite losing star Chadwick Boseman to colon cancer last year. Director Ryan Coogler recently said, "I know Chad wouldn't have wanted us to stop." 

The movie will not recast T'Challa nor feature Boseman in a CGI cameo, so someone else will have to step into the lead. All eyes are on Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. She is T'Challa's sister, princess of Wakanda and has served as the Black Panther in the comics. Oh, and she's one of the badass women in STEM in movies.

Whether Wright becomes the new Black Panther is unclear, but Shuri will reportedly take on a bigger role in the sequel. Also expected to return are Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke and Martin Freeman. 

The story details around Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are being kept tightly under wraps by Coogler and Marvel (no surprise). All Disney had to say during its Investor Day in December was that the movie would "continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film."

Here's everything we know so far about Black Panther 2, one of the upcoming Marvel movies and Disney Plus shows to keep an eye on.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever release date

Marvel has slated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for release on July 8, 2022. 

The movie will almost certainly open in theaters and there is very little chance it will stream at the same time on Disney Plus. Marvel is doing a concurrent release with Black Widow this summer, but only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With vaccines rolling out and more theaters opening, the summer of 2022 looks to return to the "normal" moviegoing experience.

Black Panther 2 will be one of four Marvel movies opening next year, along with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022) and Captain Marvel 2 (November 11, 2022).

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer

We don't have an official trailer yet, but the Black Panther 2 title was revealed as "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in this teaser clip that promotes all of the big MCU Phase 4 movies. This set of previews for upcoming Marvel movies should have you wondering when you'll feel ready to go back to the movies.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever cast and Shuri's role

Boseman's untimely passing has left a huge hole in the center of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Coogler and Marvel have kept quiet about how they plan to address the absence of T'Challa, aka the Black Panther. However, they have adamantly stated that the role will not be recast nor will CGI be used to bring back Boseman.

Fans have speculated Letitia Wright may step up in her role as Princess Shuri. Perhaps the sequel will be more of an ensemble; after all, Disney did emphasize all "the rich and varied characters" to be further explored. 

Besides Wright, the cast members expected to return for Black Panther 2 are:

  • Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, a War Dog (undercover spy) from the River Tribe
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda, the Queen Mother of Wakanda and T'Challa and Shuri's mother
  • Winston Duke as M'Baku, leader of the Jabari mountain tribe
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye, general of the Dora Milaje special forces
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, head of security for the Border Tribe
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri, an elder statesman
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, a CIA agent
  • Florence Kasumba as Ayo, a Dora Milaje warrior

It's also possible that some events from the Marvel Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier lead into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Ayo and several Dora Milaje members appear in the show. They have finally taken Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) back to Wakanda for justice. The Winter Soldier himself, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), known as the White Wolf in Wakanda, may also make a return trip.

Some new faces will also join the cast of Black Panther 2. Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico) will reportedly play one of the villains. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever villains

Since Black Panther had two villains (Ulysses Klaue and Erik Killmonger), it's no surprise that Black Panther 2 may also have multiple villains. We do not know the role that Tenoch Huerta is going to play, but we do know that director Ryan Coogler wanted Kraven The Hunter in Black Panther. 

The character wasn't available, due to Sony's ownership of Spider-Man-related IP, but maybe the relationship has since improved as Marvel and Sony patched things up about the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies.

Namor the Submariner is another rumored baddie for Black Panther 2, but we've got no confirmation there either.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever plot and story

Almost nothing is known about the story or plot of Black Panther 2. Coogler may still be writing the script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, filming on the sequel doesn't start until July. 

Feige has dropped some tidbits that seem more like musings than hints. For instance, he hinted that future projects could explore Wakanda's past.

"There's that moment where all of the ancestors come behind T'Chaka," he recalled to Entertainment Weekly. "We would joke and go, 'I want to see… what's their story? What's that story? Who was Bashenga, the first king of Wakanda? Who's that third to the left, behind T'Chaka? What was their story in Wakanda in 1938? That would be cool'."

Then again, that could be the era explored in the Wakanda TV series that Disney Plus is developing.

For now, we don't know much, but stay tuned as more details slowly filter out in the coming months.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won't feature T'Challa

The subject of T'Challa's appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the latest point of debate online. Back in December 2020, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige said that the role of T'Challa will not be recast, following the passing of Chadwick Boseman.

More recently, Producer Nate Moore shot down the rumors of a CGI cameo featuring the likeness of the late Chadwick Boseman.

Some fans want the role to be re-cast, though. A petition demanding just that currently has more than 4,000 signatures.