One of the biggest announcements at Disney’s D23 Expo over the weekend was the date of the Black Panther’s return to the big screen. Don’t expect to be shouting “Wakanda forever” at a theatre near you anytime soon: ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler appeared onstage alongside Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige to announce that the release is three years away: May 6, 2022.
Feige told the crowd that Coogler has turned in a treatment for ‘BP2’ and that they already have a title, but the two weren’t ready to reveal any hints just yet. We’ll have to wait to see whether my hunch is right and the title will be “Black Panther: I’m Back for More Cash,” a nod to the Tony Kornheiser book.
Following up on the 2018 original’s $1.3 billion (Dh4.77 billion) worldwide and three Academy Awards (after seven nominations) is no simple task, which is why Coogler wanted to let fans know they’re taking their time trying to get things right.
And so begins the speculation of what a ‘Black Panther’ sequel can do to top the first. We can at least say we’re pretty sure Spider-Man won’t be showing up in Wakanda. Although how cool would that have been?
Here are five things we hope to see:
1. Namor the Sub-Mariner
Namor has an intense rivalry with the Black Panther in the pages of Marvel Comics, and fans have been buzzing that he could be the main adversary in ‘Black Panther II’. That buzz began during ‘Avengers: Endgame’ when Okoye (Danai Gurira) reported that Wakanda was monitoring earthquakes under the oceans. Why bring up the ocean (where Namor rules the seas as Atlantean royalty) if it wasn’t meant to be explored in a future Black Panther film?
Namor is a classic Marvel character who debuted in 1939, two years before Aquaman did at DC Comics. If he is to be Coogler’s next Killmonger, Marvel Studios will have to power through the red tape of some dated contracts at Universal, which has Namor’s movie rights. Marvel Studios probably wouldn’t want Namor in his own movie franchise, given that Warner Bros and DC Entertainment just made $1.1 billion worldwide with ‘Aquaman’. But we could see a situation where the character appears throughout future Marvel Studios movies, as has the Incredible Hulk, another character the company doesn’t fully own. A cinematic battle with the Black Panther would be a great start.
2. Killmonger in the Wakandan ancestral plane
Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger, an easy contender for greatest Marvel Studios villain ever, died in a Wakandan battle at the end of ‘Black Panther’, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see him again. Some of ‘Black Panther’s’ most emotional scenes involved the ancestral plane, a spiritual locale where the Black Panther can summon the guidance of loved ones who have died. The film showed both T’Challa and Killmonger visiting their dead fathers this way. If the Black Panther seeks spiritual guidance in the ancestral plane again, could Killmonger be there on the other side awaiting him? Then again, Killmonger told the Black Panther to bury him in the ocean, and if you need a reminder of who is in the ocean, go back to No. 1 on this list. Atlantean technology can do some crazy things.
3. Shuri as the Black Panther
Shuri (Letitia Wright), the genius younger sister of the Black Panther, is one of the Marvel universe’s greatest minds, and in the Black Panther comics she is the person who can step into the mantle of the Black Panther should anything happen to her older brother T’Challa. It would be a waste to introduce Shuri to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not give her this big moment. Especially if, say, T’Challa is temporarily unable to be the Black Panther because of injuries he has suffered in battle with, say, Namor (yes, we are really pushing this rivalry).
4. The cape
When writer Reggie Hudlin and artist John Romita Jr. were beginning their run on Marvel’s Black Panther comics back in 2005, Romita had a very important cape question for Hudlin: Did he want a long cape or a short cape? Regardless, there was going to be a cape. Many Black Panther fans consider the cape look to be his best look, but that’s not a style that translated to the big screen. Maybe, if even for just a ceremonial event, we can see the cape flapping in ‘Black Panther II’.
5. The soundtrack
If you think the soundtrack to ‘Black Panther II’ will be anything less than a banger after the fire that was dropped in 2018, you clearly weren’t listening. The only question is whether Kendrick Lamar will return as an artist and producer or whether a new musician will take over. Expect much hotness.