Marvel Studios' latest, Black Panther, sets the stage for a big future for Wakandan king T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his kingdom as the blockbuster will have far-reaching effects on the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A Black Panther sequel has yet to be formally announced, but can be expected: the movie is tracking to pull in upwards of $180 million in its opening weekend, and Marvel chief Kevin Feige hopes co-writer and director Ryan Coogler will return for a sequel.
With Wakanda and its hierarchy established — as well as its intriguing cast of characters, including Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), and Shuri (Letitia Wright) — the ending of Black Panther sequel promises an exciting direction for its future follow-up: much like the original Iron Man, the final moments of the movie serve as a springboard capable of launching Black Panther 2 into any number of directions.
Mild spoilers for Black Panther ahead.
With Wakanda now revealed to the world, the world's greatest hunter should come to play.
Kraven the Hunter is famously a longtime Spider-Man foe, but the villain has squared off against T'Challa in the comics as well — and with both men drawing their superhuman abilities from the jungle, pitting the two against one another makes for a natural pairing.
The obsessed hunter was best known for besting nature's most vicious beasts, and when he ran out of jungle creatures to defeat, he set his sights on superhero Spider-Man as his treasured prey. Black Panther 2 could see Kraven seek out Wakanda in the same manner, hoping to defeat T'Challa and prove himself king of the jungle — what better way to do that than to hunt and best a king?
Coogler hoped to use Kraven in the earliest days of development — until he learned the character's screen rights are held by rival studio Sony, who are rumored to be interested in developing spin-offs staring Kraven and famous Spidey rogue Mysterio.
Another longtime Marvel character yet to reach the big screen is Namor the Submariner, who could best be suited to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Black Panther sequel.
T'Challa and Namor are both monarchs, and the pair have a storied history in the comics: they've come to blows more than once, as have their respective kingdoms of Wakanda and Atlantis.
Now that Wakanda is no longer hidden from the world, the sequel could see Wakanda and its people go to war with Namor and his undersea forces — possibly the only beings on Earth who could wage war with Wakanda and have a shot of winning.
Black Panther saw new king T'Challa struggle with challengers for the throne. Black Panther 2 pitting king T'Challa against another king, and a rival kingdom, could be a natural next step.
Black Panther introduced M'Baku (Winston Duke) as leader of the mountain Jabari Tribe, who live in the snowy mountains above Wakanda and base their iconography around that of the powerful ape.
In the Marvel comics, M'Baku served as a more traditional comic book antagonist: he wore a white ape costume and called himself "Man-Ape."
M'Baku was rightfully toned down for his live-action adaptation, but still managed to retain some of his comic book flourishes (including a ceremonial ape mask meant to pay tribute to his comic book roots).
A scene-stealing Winston Duke proves to be a fan-favorite in Black Panther, even becoming an uneasy ally to T'Challa — a relationship that looks to be continued in Avengers: Infinity War, which sees M'Baku stand shoulder-to-shoulder with T'Challa and his people in defense of Wakanda.
M'Baku helped save T'Challa's life in Black Panther because his life was spared by the king following ritualistic combat; and by rescuing a near-dead T'Challa after his defeat at the hands of Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens, M'Baku considered his debt repaid.
Still, helping protect Wakanda in Infinity War doesn't mean they're best buddies — the Jabari leader could even prove to be T'Challa's Loki, sometimes serving as T'Challa's ally and other times as his foe.
Either way: more M'Baku in the sequel, please.
Captain America: Civil War introduced Daniel Bruhl as Helmut Zemo, a Sokovian terrorist who masterminded a schism that split the Avengers.
Zemo's plot involved bombing the Vienna International Center, killing T'Challa's father, T'Chaka (John Kani). A vengeful T'Challa sought out to hunt down and kill a brainwashed Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who was framed for the murder.
It was only after a confrontation between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) that the truth came to light, and Zemo nearly killed himself to escape justice — only for T'Challa, as the Black Panther, to prevent the attempt and arrest him.
T'Challa sparing the life of his father's killer was a big moment of development for the king-to-be, and now that he's assumed his rightful place on Wakanda's throne, it would be interesting to see Zemo go full on supervillain and set his sights on Wakanda and T'Challa.
Zemo may have succeeded in tearing apart the Avengers — for the time being — but the locked up bad guy has a history with T'Challa, and he still has a lot of story left to tell.
Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a globe-trotting war dog and former flame of T'Challa.
In the Marvel comics, Nakia was obsessed with T'Challa — even going so far to attempt to murder one of his girlfriends. Nakia's actions lead to her exile from Wakanda, and she was later granted superhuman strength by longtime Black Panther foe Killmonger — who transformed her into a villainess dubbed Malice.
Black Panther didn't so much as hint at a possible future heel turn for Nakia, but it would make for a tragic twist if the newly reunited lovers somehow ended up enemies in an eventual sequel.
Little-known Marvel Comics villain Moses Magnum is a terrorist and arms dealer who once conquered Canaan, a small African nation bordering Wakanda.
During his time as ruler, Magnum ordered the assassination of T'Challa to force Wakanda into chaos and attempted to acquire Vibranium, a rare and powerful substance found only in Wakanda.
Magnum would also come to possess the ability to generate seismic waves, and could aim devastating vibrations against objects without coming into contact with them.
Famous Marvel Comics villain Doctor Doom has had run-ins with almost every Marvel Universe hero, and T'Challa is no exception: their most famous clash came in the Doomwar event, which saw Victor Von Doom — iron-fisted dictator of the nation of Latveria — covertly attempt to overthrow Wakanda's royal family. (Doom was also after, you guessed it, Vibranium.)
Doom sought Vibranium because it possessed the ability to amplify his mystical energies, which would have made Doom practically unstoppable.
Doom's live-action rights are currently at Fox, but the Disney-Fox deal would see Doctor Doom turned over to Marvel Studios once the regulatory process surrounding Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox is completed. That regulatory process is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, after which time Marvel is free to utilize the iconic Fantastic Four enemy.0comments
Pitting T'Challa against Doom — a leader of his own sovereign nation and the immense forces that come with it — would make for an interesting Black Panther sequel, even if such a battle can't happen until an eventual third movie.
Black Panther is now playing.