Marvel is making good on its promise that Wakanda is forever, as the studio moves forward on the second Black Panther following the first’s massive 2018 box office haul and seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. The sequel’s future was initially in doubt following the tragic death of 43-year-old star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020, following a four-year battle with colon cancer that the actor kept largely private. But on Dec. 10, 2020, the official Disney+ Twitter confirmed plans for the next installment, tweeting, “Black Panther 2, opening July 8, 2022, is being written & directed by Ryan Coogler. Honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy & portrayal of T’Challa, @MarvelStudios.”
That release date proved a bit ambitious, and the film has had a much longer road to the screen. But now that an official title and trailer have been released, fans can look forward to a sequel that honors Boseman’s legendary contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ahead, everything we know about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, including when the film will be released.
Marvel debuted the sequel’s official trailer—and a new release date.
On May 3, 2021, Marvel released a nostalgic mega-trailer called “Marvel Celebrates The Movies.” The trailer debuted the studio’s upcoming film titles and release dates. Among the titles presented was Black Panther’s sequel film: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
But it took more than a year for an official trailer to finally arrive—and, with it, a new release date. On July 23, 2022, the MCU shared its first official trailer for the film at San Diego’s 2022 Comic-Con, and it’s a cinematic marvel in itself. The video opens with the Wakandan nation and T’Challa’s family clearly mourning some profound loss, but there’s not much time to process their grief before a new threat arises. The existence of aquatic enemy Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta, is revealed, and soon everyone is preparing for another battle.
There’s also a quick glimpse of Ironheart, played by Dominique Thorne, making her debut, as well as a new Black Panther flashing their claws. (No confirmation yet on whom this new BP might be.) Along with the trailer, Marvel announced a new release date: Nov. 11, 2022.
Another trailer arrived on Oct. 3, giving us a deeper look at Namor’s kingdom of Talocan, as well as someone new wearing the Black Panther suit.
Black Panther 2 has had a long road to the screen.
Production initially launched in June 2020, but after Boseman’s unexpected death, the cast and crew reworked the initial sequel script.
On June 29, 2021, ahead of the movie’s initial July 2022 release date, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Kevin Feige, told Variety that production for the sequel had officially begun once more. Feige spoke to the outlet at the Black Widow global fan event in Los Angeles and said, “It’s clearly very emotional without Chad, but everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We’re going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, production was meant to begin in March 2021 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which similarly stalled the release of several other Phase 4 Marvel projects. Numerous other delays throughout production stalled further progress on Wakanda Forever, most of them due to positive COVID tests or on-set injuries.
So far, there have been five different versions of the script.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in July 2021, Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Mother Ramonda, revealed that the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie script was up in the air as the cast and crew continue to film in Atlanta. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like at all,” Bassett told the outlet. “There have been about five incarnations of the script, and I hear another one’s coming.
“Of course, with our dear king [Boseman] going on to glory, a lot of things had to be shifted and changed. So, thankfully, [director] Ryan [Coogler] and [writer] Joe Robert Cole, they’re just such masterful storytellers that they’ve found a way into this world and hopefully it will be satisfying, I think, for the fans, and it will be honorable of our Chad. We love our king,” Bassett explained.
T’Challa will not be recast.
After Boseman’s death in August, the future of T’Challa’s role in the franchise was in flux. Per THR, no one at Marvel was aware of the actor’s private cancer battle, which he only revealed to a tight-knit circle of people. A source close to Boseman told the outlet that up until his death, he believed he would recover and shoot the sequel. Disney has now confirmed that T’Challa will not be recast and that instead the character will be honored in another, yet-to-be-revealed way.
The original cast is welcoming multiple new members.
Many of the actors from 2018’s Black Panther will return for the sequel. These include Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letita Wright as Shuri (in a more major role, per THR), Winston Duke as M’Baku, and Angela Bassett as Queen Mother Ramonda. Less likely to reprise his role is Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, as that character met his demise in the first film. (However, death rarely lasts long in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2020 that Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico, Spectre) would reportedly play one of the film’s antagonists (now revealed as Namor, the Aquaman-like underwater superhero). And while speculation about Rihanna joining Wakanda has not been substantiated, there is reason to celebrate as another major name was announced in July 2021: I May Destroy You‘s Michaela Coel joined the production, per Variety. She will be playing Aneka in the movie, a captain and combat instructor in the Dora Milaje. Her presence alone is enough to cast an even stronger glow of prestige around the highly anticipated follow-up.
In her November 2022 cover issue for Vogue, Coel said her character’s sexuality was a big draw to the role. In the comic books, Aneka falls in love with a fellow Dora Milaje warrior named Ayo.
“The fact that my character’s queer. I thought: ‘I like that, I want to show that to Ghana,’” said Coel, who is of Ghanaian descent. Ghana has anti-gay laws in place and recently sent a bill to Parliament that, if passed, would make even advocacy for LGBTQ+ community a felony.
“People say, ‘Oh, it’s fine, it’s just politics.’ But I don’t think it is just politics when it affects how people get to live their daily lives,” she continued. “That’s why it felt important for me to step in and do that role because I know just by my being Ghanaian, Ghanaians will come.”
Dominique Thorne (Judas and the Black Messiah), who will lead her own Ironheart series in 2023, will make her debut as Riri Williams in the MCU in Wakanda Forever. Introduced in the comics in 2016, the teen genius creates a mech suit to rival Iron Man’s in her college dorm.
Fan Favorite Daniel Kaluuya, however, will not return as W’Kabi due to a scheduling conflict to film Jordan Peele’s Nope.
Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at ELLE.com.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.