Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: Who Is the Main Character?
Black Panther was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. Even in the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 2018 movie was something special. Yet, the tragic death of star Chadwick Boseman left the much-anticipated sequel in a rough spot. Marvel Studios has already confirmed it will not recast T’Challa. So who will be the focus of the sequel, now titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Let’s look at the main contenders.
Letitia Wright’s Shuri could inherit T’Challa’s titles in ‘Black Panther 2’
The most-talked-about possibility is that T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), could step into his shoes. In the comics, she becomes both the ruler of Wakanda as well as Black Panther at points. So it will be easy for the sequel to go in this direction. Marvel was probably planning to do so at some point anyway. Given the circumstances, now could be the best time.
However, fans are divided about Shuri rising to take the lead role so early in the franchise. Others instead hope Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger could be resurrected and redeemed. Although a Jordan cameo in the Ancestral Plane is likely, that approach doesn’t make sense. A Shuri-led Black Panther sequel though could effectively honor Bosemana and T’Challa’s memories.
Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia could take over for Chadwick Boseman’s hero
Although it might admittedly be an unlikely option, Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia could easily rise up as the face of the Black Panther franchise. Sure, Shuri might be the long-term plan. But if Marvel isn’t quite ready to make that transition yet, T’Challa’s love interest has what it takes. The sequel could even see Shuri become the Wakanda ruler and Nakia the Black Panther.
The first film well establishes Nakia’s passion for protecting her people. And she already possesses the skills and intellect of a spy. Plus, Nyong’o is a beloved, Oscar-winning star who has rarely had the opportunity to carry a franchise. This is Marvel Studios’ opportunity to give her that chance. Even if it’s an unexpected direction, Black Panther 2 could certainly make it fit.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ could focus on Danai Gurira’s Okoye
Either Shuri of Nakia would make a great choice to serve as the new Black Panther. But the sequel doesn’t have to focus on the protector of Wakanda. After all, its title could indicate a shift in perspective. If so, then Danai Gurira’s Okoye makes the perfect protagonist. As leader of the Dora Millaje, she is already a leader and one who kept Wakanda together post-Snap.
Marvel Studios hasn’t committed to who the new movie — with returning director Ryan Coogler — might focus on. According to the company’s official website, the sequel will explore “the world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.” Okoye could then take center stage either in the sequel or the upcoming Wakanda Disney+ series.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set for release in July 2022.