The trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropped during Marvel's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. Along with a moving tribute to the late (and great) Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther 2 trailer also revealed that there will be a massive conflict between the nations of Wakanda and the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. In the midst of that conflict, Wakanda will apparently need its greatest defender and champion again – and someone will be donning a new Black Panther suit to do it!
As you can see above, the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer ends with the teasing shot of someone in some new version of a Black Panther costume. But who will it be?
The working theory up until now is that Black Panther 2 will follow the legacy of the comics by seeing Shuri (Letitia Wright) step up in the line of royal succession and take up the mantle of the Black Panther, becoming the first female Black Panther. The story elements teased in this first Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer could certainly coincide with that comic book source material.
Then again, we could be in for something different altogether...
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer opens on a shot of Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia staring mournfully out at the ocean. Some fans are superstitious and think the first shot is the one that gives away the ending. Nakia was the lifelong love interest of King T'Challa, and so she would definitely be inspired to take up his mantle. The first Black Panther movie also opened with the sequence of T'Challa's Black Panther aiding Nakia in one of her undercover humanitarian aid missions, shutting down a human trafficking ring. Nakia's spirit for heroism is already established in the franchise, so her becoming the new Black Panther would make sense – while still being a twist that Marvel fans don't see coming.
There's also the running theory that this final shot from the trailer is a classic Marvel misdirect. We know that Wakanda Forever will have substantial conflict in it between Wakanda and Atlantis – there could be a point where someone tries to take up the Black Panther mantle, but doesn't quite last long in the job. It could be Shuri finds the Black Panther isn't the way she wants to protect her homeland (when she can mentor genius minds like Riri Williams), and only briefly uses the suit – or it could be a point of the movie that T'Challa was so much more than just a powerful suit in his role as Black Panther that someone else can't simply slip it on as a replacement.
We'll find out when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11, 2022.