A combination of merchandise leaks and a personal confirmation by actor Daniel Kaluuya that he will not be making an appearance in the Marvel sequel has given credence to the theory that the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will center around an all-female team of the late T’challa’s allies.
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The first hint as to the film’s female-centric principal cast came on July 12th, courtesy of a Black Panther: Wakanada Forever merchandise leak.
As shared by MCU-centric Twitter account @TheMCUTimes, the leaks featured two t-shirts, one depicting a solo image of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) in her makeshift Ironheart armor, and the other featuring an ensemble shot of Riri, Shuri (Letita Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).
#WakandaForever merch featuring #Ironheart pic.twitter.com/lMmoWXkaBO
— TheMCUtimes (@themcutimes) July 12, 2022
The next hint came in the form of Kaluuya’s aforementioned admission that he will not be returning to reprise his role as T’Challa’s best friend and Wakanda’s head of security, W’Kabi.
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News of the actor’s absence from the second Black Panther film was first broken by Rotten Tomatoes awards editor Jacqueline Coley, who took to Twitter on July 13th to announce, “BREAKING NEWS: Fresh from my NOPE interview with Daniel Kaluuya he did not reprise his role in #BlackPanther2 due to his schedule conflicts w/ #NOPE!”
“It’s official he’s not in #BlackPantherWakandaForever,” she plainly stated.
Asked by another user, “isn’t ‘scheduling conflicts’ the professional Hollywood way of saying they don’t vibe with the project for a number of reasons and ‘don’t want to return?’”, Coley assured them, “No really they filmed at the same time.”
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With Kaluuya’s confirmed departure from the cast, Winston Duke’s M’Baku is left as the only confirmed male ally on the protagonist’s side in the fight against Namor, who alongside his Atlantean peoples will ostensibly serve as the film’s villain.
However, given M’Baku’s noted and complete absence from both the above and previous merchandise leaks, it currently seems unlikely he’ll play any more significant role in the story than he did in the previous film’s.
Some rumors have suggested that the mantle of the Black Panther will be passed to both Shuri and M’Baku, but as of writing, there exists no concrete leaks suggesting that this development will come to pass.
As an aside, it should be noted that despite the film holding a release date of November 11th, 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has yet to receive so much as a teaser trailer.
What do you make of the theory that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will center on an all-female cast? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!
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