Marvel Studios unleashes Black Panther in February, just under three months before Avengers: Infinity War unites the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an unprecedented crossover event.
The African nation of Wakanda — overseen by King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) — will play a major part in Infinity War: the first trailer for the blockbuster sees the regal nation host what appears to be a major showdown, one that could involve as many as 40 heroes.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and his Avengers teammates, including Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Bucky (Sebastian Stan), are seen racing into action alongside Black Panther, Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Wakandan army — a battle that could have something to do with the Soul Stone, one of the coveted Infinity Stones that is likely tucked away in T'Challa's kingdom.
Black Panther is likely to boast one, or several, post-credits scenes setting up Infinity War, and could even include an appearance from an on-the-run Steve Rogers, who was last seen taking refuge in Wakanda in the mid-credits scene of Captain America: Civil War.
That scene saw T'Challa's people putting Bucky into stasis after the old war hero was brainwashed into serving HYDRA as a vicious assassin, making it possible the soldier's revival could serve as an end credits scene.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had five — marking the first time Marvel moved away from the mid-credits and end-credits scene formula — and with Infinity War being the studios' biggest undertaking yet with more than 70 characters involved, the credits of Black Panther would be an opportunity to include a handful of stingers further setting up the massive superhero team-up.
Thor: Ragnarok was the latest Marvel entry to set the stage for the arrival of Thanos (Josh Brolin) when his intimidating vessel, the Sanctuary II, showed up in the blockbuster's mid-credits scene.
Marvel Studios productions don't always set up the next movie — Spider-Man: Homecoming's mid-credits scene teased Spidey's solo follow-up, and its post-credits scene was a gag featuring Captain America — but a Black Panther stinger (or a few) is an opportune time to add a little extra stepping stones heading into Infinity War.
Black Panther opens February 16, followed by Avengers: Infinity War May 4.