Who Is The New Black Panther And How Does The Sequel Set Up MCU’s Thunderbolts?

Chadwick Boseman
Actor Chadwick Boseman’s 2020 passing left a gaping hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and raised questions about how it would be possible to make a sequel to the $1.34 billion box office smash without the Black Panther star himself.

Actor Chadwick Boseman’s 2020 passing left a gaping hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and raised questions about how it would be possible to make a sequel to the $1.34 billion box office smash without the Black Panther star himself.

Would Boseman be digitally resurrected like Paul Walker was in Furious 7, following his tragic death in 2013, while the film was in production? Actor Peter Cushing resumed his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in 2016’s Star Wars: Rogue One, despite his death in 1994 at the age of 81.

In the same franchise Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia was recreated through CGI to appear in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker three years after her death in 2016.

Will The Black Panther Be Recast In Wakanda Forever?

The role of King T’Challa could have been recast like new Iron Man James Rhodes was, when Don Cheadle took over for Terrence Howard in 2010’s Iron Man 2, after rumors that producers were unhappy with the actor’s onset behavior, performance, and bloated pay. 

After all, Avengers star Mark Ruffalo is the third actor to take on the role of Bruce Banner, replacing Edward Norton after 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, and Eric Bana from 2003’s Hulk. 

There is no shortage of actors that would be thrilled to take over for Boseman in the high grossing franchise, but MCU overlord Kevin Feige refused to replace the recently deceased actor after his sad passing. “It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” he told Empire. 

“We had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do,” Feige detailed. “The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And [director] Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”

How A New Black Panther Comes To Power?

In true MCU fashion, the mantle of Black Panther was passed on to a new hero, like Rhodes took over Iron Man duties for Tony Stark, and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) became Captain America after Steve Rogers aged out after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. 

The film’s trailer certainly teased that there would be a new Black Panther in the film’s trailer, but which character would step into the role was largely a mystery for the majority of the sequel. 

From a story perspective, anointing a new Black Panther certainly wasn’t a difficult prospect for the film’s screenwriters, as the role is a sacred duty that was passed down through Wakandan royalty for generations.

The only roadblock was recreating the Vibranium enriched plant that grants Panthers their powers, after the first film’s antagonist, Killmonger, torched all the country’s crops in an effort to become the last reigning anti-hero.

How Princess Shuri Saves The Day

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, T’Challa’s scientist sister Shuri unsuccessfully scrambled to genetically recreate the herb in an effort to save her brother’s life as he faded from an unnamed illness.  

It wasn’t until much later in the film, when the country was under attack from fellow Vibranium rich underwater nation Talokan, that Shuri is able to synthetically recreate the crop in the third act of the movie. 

Who would become the new Black Panther was always a central question of the film, and there were plenty of contenders.

General M’Baku, Dora Milaje leader Okoye, and T’Challa’s former fiance Nakia could have all logically taken over as the nation’s protector, but it was Shuri herself that was driven to ingest the herb and battle Namor. 

How Is Wakanda Forever Linked To MCU Phase 5? 

In addition to introducing the MCU’s new Black Panther, the movie sets up the hotly anticipated Phase 5 flick, Thunderbolts.

The anti-hero alt-Avengers film is slated for release in Summer of 2024, and features a star studded cast lead by former Black Widow Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and recently cast Harrison Ford as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross.

Wakanda Forever delves into Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ shady CIA director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who has appeared in 2021’s Black Widow, along with Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to manipulate Belova into attempting to assassinate Clint Barton in Hawkeye, and recruit disgraced Captain America replacement John Walker. 

Who Is Valentina Allegra de Fontaine And What Is She Plotting?

Fontaine proves to be equally sneaky in the Black Panther sequel when she is revealed to be the ex-wife of Wakanda liaison Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), who she surveils and arrests for communicating with the foreign nation.  

It’s unclear what Fontaine’s role with the Thunderbolts is, but her “dream” of the United States taking control of the world’s vibranium, which is the central conflict in Wakanda Forever could be motivation for assembling a team of less-than-heroic super soldiers. 

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