Who will be the next Black Panther? After the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, many were curious as to what that meant for the future of T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios officially confirmed that they wouldn’t be recasting the character in the MCU despite them planning to move forward with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
What this likely means is that, unless the role is retired completely, which seems unlikely since the franchise only just started, the role of the Black Panther would likely be passed on to another character. Fortunately, the first movie already introduced several interesting characters who could carry on the superhero mantle and lead the future of the franchise.
Updated on May 6th, 2021 by Melody MacReady: While the choices as to who could wear the mask and become the new Black Panther remain the same, new details have emerged. This includes the official title of the sequel according to the celebratory and tear-jerking tribute to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was released across social media. In it, many official release dates for other films were announced and it was confirmed that the sequel will be titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. On top of that, much time has gone by since Kevin Feige revealed information about this mysterious yet highly anticipated sequel as well as the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman.
While W’Kabi starts out the first movie as T’Challa’s best friend and loyal companion, he eventually switches his allegiance when T’Challa fails to bring Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, who was responsible for the death of his parents, back to Wakanda. Even though he and the border tribe eventually stand down and bring the end to the Wakandan civil war.
Having him as the next Black Panther to honor his friend would be a perfect way for the character to redeem himself after betraying the throne and siding with Killmonger. Also, since he is the husband of Okoye, him being Wakanda’s ruler with her serving as the general would be an interesting dynamic to explore.
M’Baku, also known as the Great Gorilla, is the leader of the Jabari tribe who started out as an adversary of T’Challa but became an ally to the king over time. He tried to take the role in the first movie and he’s already proven himself to be a great fighter from his warrior falls battle against T’Challa, which makes him a perfect candidate to become a new Black Panther.
There’s also a good chance that in the sequel fans could learn that he was leading Wakanda during the Blip since he was one of the few Black Panther characters that survived.
Okoye has a lot of leadership training as the general of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s elite strikeforce. She is also a skilled martial artist and is extremely proficient with her vibranium spear. In addition to being a fighter, she also was a great advisor to T’Challa and was often involved in the royal council meetings as an active member.
Okoye also possesses a strong sense of loyalty to Wakanda that was on full display in Black Panther when she showed she was willing to even kill the man she loved for the benefit of the nation. If there’s any character that could take up the mantle and immediately gain the respect of everyone around them, it’s her.
Black Panther crafted a complex villain in Erik Killmonger, making him one of Marvel’s best antagonists. Not only was he incredibly charismatic but his motivation was understandable even if his methods were extreme. He has a lot of fighting experience due to his time in the military and was even able to defeat T’Challa, rightfully taking the throne from him the first time.
After spending time with the character, many fans hoped he would survive and get a redemption arc so this might be the best way to go about it. Although he was killed by T’Challa at the end of the first movie, Wakanda is full of magical properties that could be used to bring the character back.
Nakia showed that she was more than the usual marvel love interest by being a strong character outside of her relationship with T’Challa. Not only is she a great fighter but she also served as T’Challa’s moral compass, helping him understand that the world could benefit from Wakanda’s involvement and sharing of wealth.
She was also a major part of the final battle with her using a pair of specialized ring blades, showing that she was capable of defending herself and others. The first movie ends with her being in charge of the new Wakandan outreach program so it would make sense to see her continue the direction T’Challa was taking the country in after the first movie since it was inspired by her input.
The frontrunner to take on the role as the leader is T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. Shuri is the creator behind her brother’s suits and she also happens to be the lead inventor of all of Wakanda, overseeing most of the countries technological advancements.
In the comics, Shuri takes up the mantle as the next Black Panther after her brother was attacked and injured by Doctor Doom. While it may be too early for Doom, something similar could end up happening in the sequel, forcing her to accept the mantle, even if she may not want it.
1 An Original Character
While the majority of the characters that could take up the mantle are ones that have been introduced already, there is a small chance that the person who’s the next Black Panther could be a completely original character to the MCU.
Kevin Fiege stated that the sequel would further explore the African nation with new characters so it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of those characters fought for the title rather than having a pre-established one ascend to the role. Not only would it be a nice twist but it would help drive home the message that the new Black Panther could really be anyone.
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