In the first trailer for the highly anticipated Black Panther sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, several things were made clear. Riri Williams aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) is making her MCU debut, the Dora Milaje are still some of the fiercest warriors and with Chadwick Boseman passing, there’s a new Black Panther set to take the stage in the upcoming film. While the first trailer didn’t offer many clues as to who the next Black Panther is, there were a few bread crumbs.
However, when Marvel Studios released the second official trailer for the MCU sequel on October 3, it became a little more evident that the next in line to play the hero from Wakanda is a woman. Take a look a the two-minute clip for yourself.
Using casting news, hints from the trailers and some comic book history, here are WTW’s best guesses as to the identity of the new Black Panther.
Is Shuri the new Black Panther?
Shuri as the Black Panther is the overwhelming popular opinion and for good reason. For starters, Letitia Wright is reprising her role as the character and she is heavily featured in the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer. The character is also the most knowledgeable on the suits and all the tech involved behind the mystique of the Marvel superhero. Not to mention, she was in the heat of battle facing off against Thanos and his minions in Avengers: Endgame, which we think gives her incomparable experience dealing with villains.
We should also note, that based on Marvel comics, Shuri does actually become Black Panther when her brother T’Challa is not able to be the hero. She is the princess of Wakanda after all and family, so it makes sense.
Is Nakia the new Black Panther?
Lupita Nyong'o’s character Nakia is also on tap to be a prominent figure in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, much as she was in the first installment of the franchise. Given her close relationship with T’Challa, the character may take it upon herself to adorn the Black Panther costume seeing a need for the hero. Let’s not forget that in the original film, she was not above going "rogue" to help people in need, even if it went against protocols. Additionally, fans will remember she’s also a very skilled fighter.
If Nakia is indeed the new Black Panther, this would be a storyline that extends beyond the comic books. In fact, in the comics, let’s just say Nakia is more foe than friend to the superhero (to T’Challa’s version at least). However, Marvel has certainly strayed from the comics when necessary (i.e. the lineage of Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch).
Is Okoye the new Black Panther?
Another impressive candidate to pick up the Black Panther mantle is Danai Gurira's Okoye. There's an argument to be made that sans superpowers, she may have rivaled T'Challa in hand-to-hand combat, so she certainly has the skillset. Taking up the role as the Wakandan superhero in his honor is not so far-fetched.
However, when one thinks of the Dora Milaje one instantly thinks of its leader, Okoye. As much as she loved her king and friend, she's been fiercely loyal to the warrior bunch. So would she leave to adorn the black suit?
Perhaps, if she saw a suitable successor to take her place with the Dora Milaje. Maybe Michaela Coel's new character, Aneka, who is entering the MCU. In the comics, Aneka actually trained the skilled warriors, so it would seem she could fill Okoye's shoes.
As for now, it looks like we’ll have to wait until November with the release of Wakanda Forever to see who becomes the next Black Panther.
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Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities. When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The Crown, WandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of Harlem. And a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.