'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever': Cast and plot as MCU sequel is released
Watch: The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is gathering the tribes of Wakanda and preparing to introduce a brand-new version of the country’s saviour in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
As the follow-up to 2018’s Black Panther, Ryan Coogler is back in the director’s chair with the fan-favourite comic book character following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman.
While we know someone else will be popping on the iconic suit, the first trailer proved the memory of the OG Black Panther is still roaring loud. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also has the honour of rounding off Phase 4 of the MCU before we head into Phase 5’s lineup of Blade, Thunderbolts, and more.
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If you’re ready to practice your best Wakandan salute, here’s the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever cast, story, release date, and more.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever cast
Despite Boseman's passing leaving a hole in the Wakanda Forever cast, there’s thankfully a mix of old and new faces to honour his legacy.
First and foremost, Letitia Wright will once again play Shuri: T’Challa’s inventive sister who created her older brother’s suit in the first movie. Shuri is poised to take a more prominent role as the MVP of Wakanda Forever, and maybe, be the next Black Panther.
Keeping the family ties, Angela Bassett also returns as Queen Ramonda, the widow of King T’Chaka and current ruler of Wakanda.
There’s also more from Lupita Nyong’O’s Nakia, who was T’Challa’s love interest in the first movie. Even though Nakia's comic book counterpart takes the villainous mantle of Malice, she's likely to remain a hero in the MCU.
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Danai Gurira also returns as the fearsome Okoye to head up the all-female Dora Milaje warriors. Martin Freeman reprises his role as CIA operative Everett Ross, and Winston Duke will once again play M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe.
In terms of newcomers, there’s the much-hyped arrival of Tenoch Huerta as Namor. Dubbed Marvel’s first mutant, Namor the Sub-Mariner predates Marvel Comics alongside the original Human Torch and Captain America as one of Timely Comics’ 'big three'.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Namor, with an Easter egg in 2010’s Iron Man 2 seemingly referring to Namor’s homeland of Atlantis.
Namor’s ties to Black Panther were confirmed in Avengers: Endgame when Okoye referred to handling a series of deep-sea earthquakes off the coast of Africa. Writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus confirmed it was a tease of Namor, who looks like he’ll be the big bad of Wakanda Forever.
Finally, there’s the debut of Dominique Thorn’s Riri Williams. In a fleeting glimpse of the character, we see her honouring her legacy as the next Iron Man by making her own suit. It’s a subtle throwback to Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark doing the same in 2008’s Iron Man.
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Michaela Coel also makes her MCU arrival as Aneka, the woman who trained the Dora Milaje and could lead the vigilante team known as the Midnight Angels.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever story
After opening the borders of Wakanda at the end of the first movie, the once-secretive nation has to deal with the fallout of this and the loss of its king. In one heartfelt moment, Queen Ramonda says "I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?"
The shadow of death obviously hangs over Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as we see Ramonda and Shuri dressed in white while the latter carries her brother’s helmet. Easily the trailer’s biggest moment is the appearance of someone new in the Black Panther suit, which confirms the hero won’t be retired because of T’Challa’s death.
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Theorists have guessed it could be anyone from Nakia or a shock return of Michael. B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, but if the leaks are to be believed, it’s Shuri who is stepping up to the plate.
Given that Shuri takes over as Black Panther when her brother is badly injured in the comics, it makes sense that Wright will follow in her footsteps and lead the character forward for a possible inclusion in a mythical New Avengers Lineup.
When it comes to Namor, we’re guessing the villain won’t be a one-and-done. Remembering the character’s long-rumoured arrival - and the fact he was an original member of the comic book cabal called the Illuminati that we saw in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — it would be a shame to waste him.
The movie’s big conflict is between Atlantis and Wakanda, and thanks to Production Weekly for expanding on an 'intertwining conflict' between the nations. Both are described as sophisticated civilisations, but as Wakanda makes the most of its access to vibranium, Atlantis is worried surface dwellers will once again ravage its mythical realm.
Feige previously said he wanted to explore more of Wakanda’s history, so we assume we’ll get to see more of Atlantis’ mythology as well.
Here's the official synopsis: Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.
As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever release date
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in cinemas now.
To say Wakanda Forever has had a troubled production would be an understatement. Although Kevin Feige officially confirmed Black Panther 2 at Comic-Con 2019, plans were irrevocably changed by Boseman’s death in August 2020.
Read more: Letitia Wright injured on Black Panther 2
He was tapped to return for a trilogy of Black Panther movies, however, his death coming after Coogler had already turned in a first draft for Black Panther 2 meant it had to be adapted to deal with his passing.
The idea of recasting T’Challa was quickly shot down by Feige, while Coogler went away to refine his script. At this point, the release was moved from May 2022 to 8 July. Despite Boseman’s death, filming only moved back three months to June 2021.
Further complications from Wright suffering an on-set injury, COVID restrictions, and Lupita N’yongo testing positive meant Wakanda Forever was delayed again to 11 November, 2022. After months of issues behind the scenes, it seems November is locked in for the final chapter of Phase 4.
This means Wakanda Forever takes the place previously occupied by Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels - which has shifted into 2023.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in cinemas now. Watch a new trailer below.