Black Panther: Wakanda Forever title card

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going for more than a decade but it has arguably never had a movie make the kind of impact that Black Panther did. Director Ryan Coogler's blockbuster Best Picture nominee, featuring a predominantly black cast, is considered to be one of the best Marvel movies, if not the best, meaning it was only a matter of time before Black Panther 2 would receive the greenlight.

Unfortunately, the, arguably, most anticipated of the Marvel Phase 4 movies has been subject to a number of setbacks and hardships, especially with the sudden death of star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. What will become of the sequel, which is officially titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, without its king? We intend to address that question as best as we can along with other topics related to the upcoming movie, starting with when you can expect it to hit theaters.

Black Panther from overhead

The Black Panther 2 Release Date Is Set For July 2022

In August 2019, around the time its working title was still Black Panther II, Agent Everett Ross actor Martin Freeman revealed in an interview with Uproxx that the sequel would go into production in 2021. That much is still true, with plans to film the movie in Georgia in June of that year going strong, but establishing an official release date has been a different story.

At 2019’s D23 Expo, director Ryan Coogler announced his Black Panther sequel was intended to release in May 2022. More than a year later, Kevin Feige confirmed at Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020 that the movie’s release date had shifted by a few months and is currently set to come out on Friday, July 8, 2022.

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Ryan Coogler directing on the set of Black Panther

Ryan Coogler Is Writing And Directing Black Panther 2

Ryan Coogler both co-wrote and directed Black Panther and was, thus, integral to its success, so it is encouraging that he will be returning to write and direct Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This was expected given the reception to what Ryan Coogler did with the first film and how it showered Disney with ticket sales worth their weight in Vibranium.

But, you never know, so it bodes well that Disney made sure to lockdown the director for the sequel. The first film was very much Ryan Coogler's vision and his returning ensures that there will be creative continuity between the two films as the director tackles his first sequel.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa facing Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in the challenge

Black Panther 2 Promises To Continue Exploring Wakanda’s World And Characters

Like anyone else, we are all dying to know what the plot of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be. Will we see the Dora Milaje team up with the Fantastic Four to defeat Doctor Doom? Will we gain deeper insight into how the Decimation has affected things in Wakanda?

I only speculate as widely as I do here because there truly is not much that we know to expect from the officially released synopsis for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which says it will “continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.” Thankfully, that otherwise cryptic description sounds like the makings of any good sequel. However, it still leaves us with much uncertainty, especially after the loss of the franchise’s star.

T'Challa at the United Nations, revealing the truth about Wakanda

Black Panther 2 Will Go On Without Chadwick Boseman

Ask any member of the Black Panther 2 cast and crew or even an average Marvel fan and they will tell you the mere idea of a Black Panther movie without Chadwick Boseman seems unimaginable. Yet, that is reportedly the plan for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, despite some fans’ believing the role of T’Challa should be recast to honor the character.

While recasting is one option, another would be to have Letitia Wright’s character Shuri, T’Challa’s brilliant younger sister, take the place as Wakanda’s protector, just as she does in the comics. This transition seems likely given the current confirmed cast list.

Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, and Letitia Wright in Black Panther

Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, And More Are Returning To The Black Panther 2 Cast

As you can imagine, the cast list for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does not look like it used to following the loss of Chadwick Boseman. On the bright side, many of our favorite supporting characters from the Black Panther cast are set to reprise their roles, including Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and Angela Bassett as Ramonda - the Queen of Wakanda.

Martin Freeman is also set to appear as Agent Everett K. Ross along with Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and her Us co-star Winston Duke as M’Baku. There is no word, however, on if recent Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya will return as W’Kabi nor if Killmonger will be magically revived in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, despite how often Michael B. Jordan is asked about the subject.

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A shot of Wakanda from Black Panther

Ryan Coogler Is Planning A Black Panther Spin-Off Series For Disney+

Probably the one thing that most excites me and, I am sure, many others about this Black Panther sequel is the chance to go deeper into the world of Wakanda. The culture is fascinatingly unique, the scientific advancements are enlightening, and the natural landscape is simply a wonder to behold. Luckily, it appears that the MCU’s exploration of the country will not stop at the big screen.

You can now add a Black Panther spin-off series to your list of upcoming Marvel TV shows to look forward to. It was announced in February 2021 that Ryan Coogler and his production company secured a five-year deal to develop programming for Disney+, including one project set in Wakanda.

The success of this franchise, the scope of a country like Wakanda, and the love people have for this world and these characters is enough to incite an endless amount of stories that would continue to inspire generations. Let us hope that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lives up to that promise and to the legacy of its late, beloved star.

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