By now, most people have seen the first official trailer for the Black Panther sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The trailer offers viewers a glimpse at newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), aka Ironheart, Aneka (Michaela Coel) and supervillain Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
Additionally, the trailer gives a sneak peek of an epic battle brewing in Wakanda that will no doubt once again show why the Dora Milaje are arguably some of the best fighters sans superpowers in all of Marvel. Yet, one thing that trailer doesn't address is the identity of the new Black Panther.
Following the unfortunate passing of T’Challa portrayer Chadwick Boseman, Marvel boss Kevin Feige (opens in new tab)confirmed that he had no plans of recasting the role. The trailer is a pretty clear indication that Feige stayed true to his word, as there appear to be mourning rituals taking place and several characters grieving for T'Challa. However, in the last few moments of the clip, a Black Panther does emerge on the screen. This begs the question, if T’Challa is no longer the superhero, who is now donning the costume?
Using casting news, clues from the trailer 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 M'Baku the new Black Panther?
M’Baku, as played by Winston Duke, is another guess as to who takes up the Black Panther mantle. Though in the trailer the person in the costume appears a bit leaner at first glance, we shouldn’t rule him out. Perhaps movie magic is at play and production is trying to throw viewers off his scent.
The M’Baku character certainly has experience leading a people. More importantly, under the circumstances, he has experience fighting MCU villains. We’d say he’s proven himself to be quite the ally to not only the Wakandan royal throne, but to the Avengers as well.
If we’re looking to the comics though, this is a bit of a long shot as the character is not known to transition into Black Panther. However, the comics also really don’t have him becoming BFFs with T’Challa either. The two characters in the MCU were just shy of singing songs together by a campfire.
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.
Is Killmonger the new Black Panther?
As shocking as it may sound, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) could certainly be the new Black Panther. You may ask, "didn't he die in the first Black Panther?" Yes. However, Marvel has been big on the notion of variants lately, so perhaps a Killmonger variant (one not so pressed for vengeance) is behind the mask.
We’d also like to point out something. If you take note of the Black Panther suit shown in the Wakanda Forever trailer, it’s black with gold trim. This also happens to be the very color scheme worn by Killmonger when he was Black Panther in the first movie. Coincidence?
Now we could easily go on and on about other characters that could be the new version of the superhero, including a comic book figure named Kasper Cole, who is a New York Police officer who takes over the role, but we’re trying our best to stick to individuals in the MCU only.
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.
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.
Get the latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Thank you for signing up to Whattowatch. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.