‘Black Panther’: Why a Spinoff Led By the Women of Wakanda Would Be Brilliant

Marvel has really been knocking it out of the park lately with their films. Avengers: Infinity War has been a major hit, and there probably aren’t enough adjectives to describe the success that Black Panther has had both domestically and globally. But with that success comes questions about the future. Beyond the next few movies, the MCU has a lot of room to add more films in the future.

It seems likely that we’ve seen the last of the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America stand-alone movies, which really opens things up. One suggestion for a future film is a spinoff featuring several female heroes leading the way, and that idea has a lot of people excited. It’s not just the fans, either. Let’s look at how a female-led Black Panther spinoff could work out, and who might be on board with it (page 4 and page 7).

The women of Wakanda

Shuri and T'Challa in Shuri's office.

The women of Wakanda are amazing warriors. | Marvel Studios

The popular opinion among fans of Black Panther is that the women of Wakanda helped carry the movie. That’s not to speak poorly of Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, both of whom were outstanding. But there is a large chunk of the movie where Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Shuri (Letitia Wright) were leaned upon heavily. Specifically, when King T’Challa is thought to be dead.

The timing would be right for a spinoff, given the events of Infinity War. T’Challa disappeared into a cloud of dust, and Shuri (assuming she is alive) has likely been vaulted into a stronger leadership role. However, the final Avengers movie is set to release in May 2019, long before this currently unplanned spinoff could happen. Assuming that we get another Black Panther film, any spinoff wouldn’t be likely to revolve around T’Challa’s apparent death.

Next: Bring on some supporting cast

Bringing in some outside help

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in 'Thor: Ragnarok'.

Valkyrie is on board. | Marvel

There are a ton of strong, female characters in the Marvel universe. Nobody is going to make a solid case that Jessica Jones should show up in Wakanda, or even match up with the women of Wakanda in a movie. But why not Natasha Romanoff and — again, assuming her character returns — Wanda Maximoff? What about Tessa Thompson’s Thor: Ragnarok character, Valkyrie? According to Thompson, this is something Marvel is actually excited about.

“I think [Marvel boss] Kevin Feige is really excited by the idea,” she said. “And if you look at what’s happened already in Phase 4 with me and Valkyrie and our story, and then in Black Panther the women rule supreme.”

This could be like an all-women Avengers-style movie. It might be hard to explain the women of Wakanda, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Valkyrie all teaming up, but we’re willing to bet that audiences wouldn’t care. Just give us that movie.

Next: One scene that teased it

A key action scene in Infinity War

Proxima Midnight aiming a weapon.

Women are starting to have more main roles in superhero movies. | Marvel

There is a key moment toward the end of Infinity War that seems to tease Marvel’s interest in making a female-led superhero movie. Proxima Midnight, the member of Thanos’ Black Order who was played by actress Carrie Coon, looked to have taken the upper hand against Wanda in a one-on-one fight scene. But in came Natasha to help her out, and then Okoye.

The three women overpowered Proxima Midnight, and the scene ended with her gruesomely getting run over and killed by some giant combine-like contraption. At any rate, those couple of minutes were outstanding. The entire fight scene was well done, and it leaves us badly wanting to see these three women fighting together in their own movie.

Next: What the director thinks

Director Ryan Coogler’s thoughts

Ryan Coogler speaking during a press panel discussion.

Coogler is excited about this idea. | Andrew Goth/Getty Images

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler wasn’t exactly a household name before his breakout hit, and even many Marvel fans still probably don’t know who he is. But the success of his movie, due in large part to the excellent casting and the use of African culture themes, puts Coogler in a position to take more control of his own future projects. But could that include a female-led spin-off set back in Wakanda?

“Oh man,” he said. “That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic-book version.” Coogler is correct to a degree. The comic is based around the women of Wakanda teaming up with various other heroes in the known Marvel universe.

It starts with Wakanda Forever: The Amazing Spider-Man and moves into Wakanda Forever: X-Men and Wakanda Forever: Avengers! At any rate, having the director on board is one big step forward toward making it happen.

Next: Marvel arrived late to their own party

Marvel is finally embracing women

Evangeline Lilly standing in front of a blackboard in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

The changes are coming. | Marvel

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we know it, has been around for 10 years. It started with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and later the big team-up movie, The Avengers. But noticeably absent from the list is a movie about Black Widow, who was instead used as a sidekick in other movies such as Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

But finally, Marvel has heard the cries of their fans and is embracing female superheroes. Ant-Man and the Wasp is set to feature Evangeline Lilly’s character much more prominently, as the Wasp. Captain Marvel is scheduled to hit theaters in Spring of 2019. And on the docket at some point in the near future is a currently untitled Black Widow movie. Will more female heroes be getting their own movies soon?

Next: What Black Panther has done for the future of cinema

The success of Black Panther is opening doors

Lupita Nyong's Nakia stands to the left of Letita Wright's Sure while holding weapons in Black Panther.

Strong women make for memorable characters. | Marvel

The good news is that the amazing success of Black Panther has opened the skeptical eyes of movie executives. The notion that a woman or a cast that leaned heavily on black actors couldn’t lead a superhero movie is now officially dead, but it’s pretty embarrassing how recently those were understood “facts” of the movie business.

DC’s Wonder Woman and the MCU’s Black Panther have changed all of that. Black Panther was a box office darling, moving into the No. 3 spot for the top-grossing American films of all time. Only Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are ahead of Black Panther, which moved past Titanic. Globally, Black Panther has made $1.3 billion. Suffice it to say, Black Panther‘s success is going to open a lot of doors for future movies.

Next: Will Black Panther get its own sequel?

The producer weighs in on Black Panther‘s future

Close up of T'Challa

Is T’Challa gone for good? | Marvel

Speaking with ComicBook.com, Black Panther producer Nate Moore weighed in on whether T’Challa would get his own sequel. After all, it seems like such a slam dunk. But given that the title character disappeared at the end of Infinity War, Moore is a bit coy.

“We know there’s a ton more story to tell in Wakanda because even in the two hours we had there were ideas we left on the table just because of time,” Moore said. “And the good news is, because ultimately we have a good insight on what all the films are doing, we knew what Infinity War and what Avengers 4 next year will do and are able to sort of plan accordingly.”

On the topic of the female-led film, however, Moore is a bit more upfront with his thoughts. “It’s definitely possible,” Moore said. “It’s all about what is the best idea.”

He also added, “I think the female characters in Black Panther are so resonant and do so well in their own right. They make their own decision, they move the story forward. Nakia saves Wakanda. I think there’s ways to tell stories with them separately.” Let’s hope that Marvel finds a way to make it happen.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!