Winston Duke Wants ‘Black Panther 2’ to Have an Unexpected Villain

With Black Panther 2 on the schedule for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by 2022, the speculation keeps running rampant about who the villain should be. Some have suggested that’ll be more of a challenge considering the previous villain (N’Jadaka, or Erik “Killmonger” Stevens) died in the first film.

It would be a huge leap to top Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Killmonger. Co-star Winston Duke, who played M’Baku, has said recently he wants to see a villain from off the radar. Many people have named some candidates, yet Duke has his own ideas.

He’s referring to his own character, of course. Would M’Baku really make for a good villain the next time around? If going by the comic book edition of the character, he’d become a supervillain to the nth degree.

What did Winston Duke say about playing M’Baku again?

In an interview for Screen Rant, Duke recently opened up about his M’Baku character who already locked horns with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in the first movie. As a leader of the Jabari tribe, M’Baku seemed to waver between being a villain and a T’Challa ally. While M’Baku has fought with T’Challa, they also fought one another in one pivotal scene of Black Panther.

Ultimately, it was the fight over power. Duke explained M’Baku in more complex terms. He noted: “M’Baku is a hero, but he has so much going on. I think what makes a really great villain is that they have the power of seeing things their own way, and they can define their own circumstances.”

Part of this argument extends to Thanos in having some validity surrounding his actions because he thought what he’d do would lead to a greater good. M’Baku somewhat falls into that grey matter of being both good and bad.

Due to the snap that took place in Infinity War, M’Baku could become more nefarious than good due to one particular circumstance. Once again, Marvel may hold a mirror up to our own reality where power moves cause internal civil wars.

The five-year gap of M’Baku taking power might become a problem

Winston Duke
Winston Duke | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Universal

Let’s all go back and remember T’Challa died during the snap and was brought back to life when Tony Stark revived those who died. Five years passed in the interim while worth reminding M’Baku survived during this time frame.

Also, with Wakanda being made more accessible now to outsiders, is it possible M’Baku took some form of leadership in the country? This may be the outline Ryan Coogler has in mind for the sequel, even if it appears Winston Duke doesn’t know.

Throwing it out there that his M’Baku would make the perfect villain is perhaps a way to promote the idea before the creative team goes with someone else. There really isn’t a more perfect potential villain, especially if T’Challa comes back to Wakanda hoping to be the new leader.

An internal battle over who becomes the real ruler of Wakanda would be almost in parallel to Falcon and the Winter Soldier where Sam Wilson has to re-earn the title of Captain America from John Walker.

Will the writers really listen to Winston Duke’s suggestion?

Some media analysts have already suggested the real villain for Black Panther 2 will be Namor the Sub-Mariner.  Some hints have even been thrown around about this character, including prior MCU references to Atlantis.

In this scenario, it could mean Atlantis battling Wakanda, another example of a civil war. The idea of M’Baku and T’Challa battling it out for ruling Wakanda, however, would be much more interesting as a sociological study.

With the themes of internal conflict ongoing in the MCU, exploring internal wars in factions where there should be peace simply holds up another mirror to our own American realities.