Disney CEO Confirms Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Will Release This Year

The wait for more Wakanda won't be forever. Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the anticipated sequel to the 2018 Marvel Studios blockbuster, will release in theaters this year as scheduled. Following Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2's trips through a multiverse of madness, as well as the Disney+ series Moon Knight, the Kevin Feige-led studio will soon turn its third eye towards summer releases Ms. Marvel (on Disney+ June 8) and Thor: Love and Thunder (in theaters July 8) before bringing Black Panther 2 to audiences on November 11.

"Looking ahead, our studios will continue to deliver high-quality content at scale with an exciting array of series and films coming to all of our distribution channels," Chapek told investors during Disney's earnings call. "In fact, our slate for the remainder of this year is incredibly strong with titles like Obi-Wan KenobiMs. MarvelLightyearThor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the long-anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water."

Despite reports that Marvel screened the first Wakanda Forever footage during Disney's CinemaCon presentation in April, a sizzle reel reused footage from 2018's Black Panther featuring Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Ramonda (Angela Bassett). When introducing an extended preview of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told attendees that director Ryan Coogler is "working very hard right now" on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which wrapped filming in late March in Puerto Rico. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever started production in June 2021, nearly one year after lead actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer at the age of 43 in August 2020. Feige has confirmed Boseman's role of King T'Challa will not be recast, retiring the character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After Wright sustained minor injuries in an on-set stunt accident in August, Disney shut down production in November to allow the Shuri actress additional time to recover from her previous injury. Filming took a hiatus and resumed in mid-January, finally wrapping on March 24. 

"We are all focused on finishing the movie with excellence, honoring the memory of our dear brother Chadwick in the process," reads a November note to cast and crew from Feige and Marvel Studios' Louis D'Esposito and Nate Moore. "We are thrilled to share Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with the world, confident that the challenges that we have overcome together as a team will make the film even more impactful." 

Plot details remain under wraps. Wright returns to lead the sequel alongside Nyong'o, Gurira, Bassett, Winston Duke as M'Baku, Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, and Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi. The ensemble includes MCU newcomers Michaela Coel, cast in an undisclosed role, and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a.k.a. the armored superhero Ironheart.

Previously dated July 8, Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to open in theaters on November 11, 2022.