How Spider-Man: No Way Home Potentially Connects to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
WARNING: Major spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home begin now! Doctor Strange may have taken Iron Man's place as the grown-up Avenger in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but the film still has other references to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since this takes place during Peter Parker (Tom Holland), MJ (Zendaya), and Ned Leeds' (Jacob Batalon) senior year of high school, the trio has begun applying to colleges together. They have their eye on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) but are denied due to their connection to a now-public Spider-Man. There's another Marvel superhero that also has strong M.I.T. ties, and it's the future Disney+ star Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, who will guest-star in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Part of the opening act of Spider-Man: No Way Home follows Peter attempting to find a way for himself and his friends to all go to M.I.T. They all read their rejection letters together, with Peter getting the idea to pay Doctor Strange a visit to ask for a spell to make everyone forget he's Spider-Man. Of course, we all know from the trailers and promos that the spell is fumbled, causing villains from previous Spider-Man movies to enter the MCU. Once the plot starts to move along, M.I.T. is put on the backburner while our heroes concern themselves with multiversal threats. Doctor Strange was able to seal the multiverse cracks by casting a spell that made everyone, including Peter's friends and family, forget he existed. It's not hard to envision MJ and Ned reapplying to M.I.T. without the weight of Spider-Man and being accepted.
MJ and Ned's freshman year could coincide with Ironheart's time at the college as well. Dominique Thorne portrays Riri Williams, who is a young genius that assembles her own suit of armor using scraps from Iron Man suits in her dorm room. Little is known about her solo Disney+ series, but we do know Ironheart will appear in the Black Panther sequel. ComicBook.com exclusively revealed that Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams will debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
"We're shooting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, right now, and the character of Riri Williams, you will meet in Black Panther 2 first," Marvel Studios President Feige said in an August interview surrounding the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. "She started shooting, I think, this week before her Ironheart series."
A stunt video captured on the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever set featured an intense car chase at M.I.T. While Dominique Thorne wasn't in the stunt video, the Ironheart actress has been caught in other set photos. News has slowed down on the Black Panther 2 set after Marvel Studios paused production until January 2022 due to injuries sustained by Letitia Wright.
Spider-Man: No Way Home could have chosen any college for Peter, MJ, and Ned to fixate on. Them choosing M.I.T. may seem like a small thing, but Marvel is known for seeding clues to other projects throughout their TV and film slate. Just think how cool it would be to see Riri Williams dormmates with MJ or Ned.
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