It’s time to make sure your passport is valid and your most iconic Wakandan couture is starched and pressed, because the Black Panther sequel officially has the green light. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler recently signed a deal to write and direct Black Panther 2.
The Creed filmmaker will take all of 2019 to pen the script for the highly anticipated sequel, which will head into production in late 2019 or early 2020. We’re guessing that the movie will hit theaters sometime in early 2021. As we prepare ourselves for what will surely be another legendary superhero flick with a stunning, melanin-filled cast, here are 10 things that we absolutely must see when Black Panther 2 finally does hit the big screen.
1. A larger scope of Wakanda
Though the majority of Black Panther was set in Wakanda, the mythical East African nation that boasted everything from lush greenery to grand skyscrapers made of vibranium, much of the film was concentrated in closed spaces in T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) palace, or in other places across the globe.
There was a glimpse of the immense scale of the country from the aerial shots inside T’Challa’s plane. We also got to see how the various traditions and tribes within the country mixed during his coronation ceremony, and when he and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) ventured out for a walk in the marketplace. But we can’t really know if Wakanda is the utopia we think it is until we see how the average Wakandan lives, outside of the palace.
2. Responsible Tension
You can’t have a good superhero movie without some tension and conflict, and it’s possible that Wakanda’s new open borders policy for refugees could be the source of that. But considering the real-life horrors of the global treatment of refugees, it’s important that a film of this magnitude and impact would handle this topic with the nuance and care it deserves. One of the most pivotal aspects of Black Panther was that it presented people of the African diaspora in all of our complexities. We expect nothing less in the sequel.
Our origins are the same; however, we have different customs, traditions and cultures. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) had Wakandan ancestry, but he was raised in Oakland and spent his life wading through the cesspool that is American racism. The differences in experiences will surely cause some strain between native Wakandans and outsiders.
Also, with the borders of Wakanda open, vibranium will undoubtedly become more vulnerable. So we are eager to see how Coogler and his team will handle immigration in Black Panther 2.
3. A rift in the Dora Milaje
It’s been nearly one year since Black Panther premiered, and we haven’t yet recovered from the Dora Milaje snatching our wigs, when they first appeared on the big screen. The fearsome and stunning women, who act as T’Challa’s personal bodyguards and Wakanda’s special forces, were a sight to behold.
When Killmonger took over the throne in the original film, we learned that the Dora’s allegiances lie with the country and its leader, not to one person specifically. However, Okoye (Danai Gurira), the head of Wakanda’s armed forces and intelligence, showed us that when it comes down to it, the women of the Dora Milaje will do what they think is right.
The influx of outsiders into Wakanda will surely expose some differences in ideology within the Dora. We can foresee some of the women siding with T’Challa, but others will certainly follow the king’s ex-best friend, W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), who has no interest in seeing his precious lands get pillaged by foreigners.
4. Getting Shuri suited up and Queen Ramonda’s Backstory
If you didn’t know, then we’re here to remind you that Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the smartest person in the entire Marvel universe. You’ve already seen her in action as Wakanda’s chief technological officer. In the comics, Shuri actually follows in her older brother T’Challa’s footsteps, and becomes a second Black Panther.
With the Wakandan borders free and open, and recognizing that colonizers love to come in and pillage lands that aren’t their own, we think Black Panther 2 is the perfect time for Shuri to step into her own vibranium-laced suit and post up.
More of Queen Mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) would also be greatly appreciated. What power does she wield as Queen Mother and an elder in her community? Let’s see her running things.
If you’re a fan of the Black Panther comics, you know that at one point, the Wakanda King and X-Men’s Storm were husband and wife. The pair were married in Black Panther Volume 4: #18 during the “Civil War Cease-Fire Event.” Unfortunately, because they essentially exist in two different universes and find themselves on opposite sides of the Avengers versus X-Men battle, the pair get divorced.
Since the duo haven’t even met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) we are eager to see what that would look like. A T’Challa/Storm union would obviously throw in a wrench in Nika and T’Challa’s relationship, but that’s what makes good drama.
No shade to the actresses who’ve played Storm in the past or the present, but we’re hopeful that if the X-Men icon does make her thunderous appearance in Black Panther 2, Coogler will have some legendary and worthy casting up his sleeve.
6. Nakia as Malice
Speaking of Nakia, clearly, we need Lupita Nyong’o to reprise her role in Black Panther 2. A woman who stands at the crossroads between traditionalism and modernity, Nakia is an activist who has taken her knowledge and her talents across the globe to help others in need. Though T’Challa asks her to stay at his side at the end of Black Panther, her yearning to save the world’s overlooked citizens clearly won’t keep her tethered to her homeland or her king.
Nakia’s path in the MCU might seem pretty clear, but in the comics, her journey takes a dangerous turn. She transforms into the vicious Malice, a villain aligned with Killmonger’s ideology. In the original film, we watched Nakia save Wakanda and T’Challa with her quick thinking. It was evident that she is territorial over both her homeland and her lover. Therefore, we’d be interested to see what would happen if she’s pushed too far.
7. Killmonger resurrected
If the Black Panther sequel is set during Nakia’s Malice era, it could be the perfect segue for Killmonger to return. After all, in the Black Panther cannon, Killmonger is resurrected more than once. Watching a vengeful Michael B. Jordan embody a man who is down for the revolution and the rise of Blackness on a global scale is genuinely sensational to watch.
Also, witnessing Killmonger and Nakia on the same side will inevitably force T’Challa into making some very tough decisions.
8. A villain that can top Killmonger
With Jordan’s increasingly busy schedule and Coogler’s ingenious ideas, it might be a stretch to see Killmonger return for Black Panther 2. Therefore, if he is not resurrected, we fully expect to see a villain that can live up to the glory of Jordan’s performance.
When Coogler first hooked up with Marvel, he spoke with them about integrating Spider-Man villain, Kraven the Hunter, into Black Panther. Unfortunately, Kraven is one of Sony’s properties, so Marvel told the Fruitvale Station director that he was off limits. However, Marvel Studios currently has a deal with Sony that allows them to borrow certain characters. If Coogler can get Kraven, a man who literally rips his prey apart with his bare hands, we would live for it. Still, we wouldn’t bet on this since a stand-alone Kraven flick is in the works at Sony. Whichever villain makes their presence known in Black Panther 2, they better have us shook.
9. Getting Okoye and Ayo #Boo’dUp
In Black Panther, we watched as Okoye and W’Kabi’s relationship crumbled under Killmonger’s reign. However, Marvel thought it was cute to withhold further context, when it came to the demise of the relationship and Okoye’s other love interest.
In the comics, Okoye is also romantically involved with Dora Milaje security chief, Ayo (Florence Kasumba). In fact, there was a rumor about a romantic scene between the two women, which was cut at the last minute (insert eye-roll here).
For Black Panther 2, we’re going to need both Marvel Studios and Disney to stop with the erasure, and allow these women to stand fully in their truths without any filters. All representation is important, and having an openly gay, Black woman in a superhero film would be a revolution in and of itself.
10. Midnight Angel
Since Wakanda is the home of vibranium and Shuri is a tech legend, we saw a lot of fantastic mechanisms and weaponry in Black Panther. However, we have not yet seen the Dora Milaje use aerial flight suits to become the Midnight Angels.
This stunning tech allows the Dora to form a subgroup and take to the sky, forming a strike force. Interestingly enough, the Midnight Angels’ tech does not include vibranium, but it should be noted that in the comics this Dora subgroup attacked T’Challa. If this happens in the upcoming film, we don’t think the king stands a chance.
Be sure to keep following Shadow and Act for future updates on Black Panther 2. Black Panther is currently streaming on Netflix.
Aramide A. Tinubu is a film critic and entertainment writer. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes or tweet her @wordwitharamide