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Things fans want to see in Black Panther 2

Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is as stylish as it is unique. The 18th installment of the MCU follows Prince T'Challa as he takes on the mantle of the Black Panther after his father's death in Captain America: Civil War. But while T'Challa goes through the ritual processes to become Wakanda's legendary protector, a family secret comes to light involving T'Challa's cousin Killmonger, an American mercenary contesting T'Challa's claim to the throne.

While we only catch small glimpses of Wakanda in Civil War, Black Panther puts the incredible nation and all its people front and center. Most notably, Wakanda's citizens mine one of the most powerful substances on Earth: vibranium. Vibranium's unique properties have propelled Wakanda into stratospheric heights of technological advancement, much of it pioneered by T'Challa's brilliant younger sister, Shuri.

Beyond Black Panther, Wakanda is one of the key sites in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, where huge chunks of the battle to defeat Thanos take place. It's a brutal affair, and the infamous snap briefly sees T'Challa, Shuri, and many other Wakandans reduced to dust. But with the MCU set to rights by the end of Endgame, fans are now free to speculate as to what's next for T'Challa, Shuri, the Dora Milaje, and the kingdom of Wakanda. While we patiently wait for Black Panther 2 in 2022, let's take stock of what fans would most love to see. Wakanda forever!

Shuri as Black Panther

Black Panther might have been T'Challa's movie, but his sister Shuri very nearly stole it with her vivacious personality and biting sense of humor. Fans of the comics got a jolt when an only-sort-of-joking Shuri raises her hand after T'Challa calls for anyone who would fight him for the throne. This is because Shuri actually does become the Black Panther in print, after a battle with Doctor Doom leaves her brother in a coma. While Shuri does drink the Heart-Shaped Herb, in her vision, the Panther god does not actually grant her the powers that are supposed to come with the territory. But Shuri puts on the Black Panther suit regardless to go into battle for her country and people, and it is this brave act that secures her a special place in Wakanda's rich history. 

Since we have no indication that Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four will make any appearances in Marvel's Phase 4, it's entirely possible that Shuri could become the Black Panther outright, just as Killmonger did. It's even been revealed that concept art was drawn up for Black Panther depicting Shuri in a Panther suit of her own. What might this mean for her brother T'Challa, though? For a new Black Panther to rise, the previous one has to fall.

Killmonger in the ancestral plane

Erik Killmonger is arguably one of the most compelling antagonists in the MCU. A Wakandan raised in the USA, Erik was abandoned in Oakland by his countrymen after his father, Prince N'Jobu, was killed for stealing and re-selling vibranium on the underground weapons market. Erik ends up joining the CIA, where he learns how to overthrow governments and kill with cold precision, scarring his torso and arms every time he murders someone new. His defeat of T'Challa in ritual combat is brutal, and his reign over Wakanda is short but disturbing as he unilaterally decides to arm the oppressed peoples of the world with vibranium weapons and kickstart a bloody revolution. 

Thanks to Michael B. Jordan's moving performance, Erik becomes much more than just a warmongering interloper: He represents a darker side of Wakanda that forces a reckoning about who they are as a people. When Erik is finally defeated by T'Challa, he refuses to be healed and saved from death, as "death is better than bondage." But is his death all that final? The rulers of Wakanda live on in the "ancestral plane" after death — we see T'Challa and Erik visit it, to talk with their fathers. It is entirely possible that Erik could appear in Black Panther 2 without having to time-turn any events from Black Panther.

The ancestral plane's denizens

Black Panther features a richly animated sequence that takes us on a brief journey through Wakanda's history, how its five tribes united, and how vibranium is the thread that weaves Wakanda's tapestry together. One particularly unique aspect of Wakandan culture is the ancestral plane, where previous Black Panthers, and possibly all Wakandans go after they die. It is a peaceful afterlife, filled with glowing light and lush vegetation, where ancestors wait to offer guidance to the living when needed. 

On T'Challa's second visit to the ancestral plane after almost being murdered by Erik Killmonger, he has some harsh words for his father T'Chaka. Sharp-eyed viewers might notice that T'Chaka is flanked by a number of men and women, all in different Wakandan regalia. One of those figures is Bashenga, the first king of Wakanda, but who are the others? Were they all rulers of Wakanda? Does their astral world intersect with similar realms in the MCU, like the ones explored in Doctor Strange? Fans would love to know more about these Wakandan spirits and their stories. 

Imperius Rex!

In Avengers: Endgame, Dora Milaje General Okoye makes a throwaway comment about monitoring a series of earthquakes off the coast of Africa. But because this is Marvel and easter eggs abound, fans wonder: Could Okoye possibly be referring to the MCU's version of Atlantis, home to infamous antihero Namor the Sub-Mariner? In many ways a parallel to Erik Killmonger, Namor is half human and half Atlantean, but chooses to live in the underwater realm. He also isn't necessarily a straightforward villain, acting ethically as often as he is dastardly. Evidence of his heroism is clear in his participation with the Avengers and X-Men in the comic books, but at the same time, he did once form his own team of villains called The Cabal.

There are an endless number of ways Namor could make his debut in Black Panther 2. Erik insists on being buried at sea, like his ancestors who jumped into the ocean rather than become slaves. Might Namor and Atlantean magic bring Killmonger back from death? Could Namor visit Wakanda as a royal, and appeal to T'Challa ruler-to-ruler? Could he be after vibranium? The possibilities are vast and tantalizing. 

M'Baku as the new villain

When Thanos snaps his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the people who turns to dust is T'Challa. M'Baku, T'Challa's on-again off-again rival, remains intact. For the five years during "the blip," M'Baku presumably remains a powerful figure in Wakanda — one of the few authority figures left, in fact. But now that everyone has been restored, including T'Challa, what kind of dynamic might we find between the two with all the time that passed? Being who he is, M'Baku certainly would have stepped up to fill the power vacuum left behind after Thanos' massacre. How might T'Challa respond to that upon his return? 

M'Baku's actor Winston Duke has said he is totally down to be the new bad guy in the next Black Panther movie. Talking to ScreenRant, Duke said, "[M'Baku] is a hero, but he has so much going on. I think what makes a really great villain is that they have the power of seeing things their own way, and they can define their own circumstances ... Because he wasn't a bad guy; he's just a dude who was seeking ultimate justice and balance. That's not bad. But he defined it himself, and all the really great villains that Marvel interrogates always have that ability, so they can go anywhere." This underlying tension between T'Challa and M'Baku would certainly match the power of Black Panther's Killmonger.

Even more villains we'd like to see

Many characters are in a position to step up and play the villain in Black Panther 2, but one of the most intriguing possibilities is Achebe. Achebe was a simple farmer until rebels came, stabbed him 32 times, and kidnapped his wife. This trauma transforms him into an unhinged monster who murders gleefully, talks to a puppet, and seeks T'Challa's destruction at all costs. The first Black Panther film is filled to the brim with great humor and excellent comedic timing. But what if they took that sense of humor and turned it dark for Achebe, T'Challa's own Joker?

But Achebe isn't the only villain from the comics we'd like to see. At the end of Black Panther T'Challa buys up property in Oakland, California where his cousin Erik had been abandoned, turning it into Wakandan outreach centers. While the terrifying villains American Panther and Hate-Monger are based in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, they could easily be repurposed into a force T'Challa must confront in Oakland. And since Shuri is the director of the center, might we see her battle these monsters herself?

A rift in the Dora Milaje

The all-female Dora Milaje exists to protect the throne no matter who sits in it. They are put to the ultimate test of their job when Erik Killmonger assumes the throne and begins dismantling core aspects of Wakandan life. Still, charged with their duty, they serve him. This isn't to say it doesn't pain them to do so, but they are clear on their role and they don't question it, even when they disagree with the ruler they are sworn to protect.

They might endure this particular trial without splintering ... but what if something did, in fact, break their sisterhood apart? Though this could be the result of a terrible choice made by one of their number, it could also be as simple as mind control. Recall when Loki put Hawkeye under his spell. Now imagine: What if this were to happen to Okoye, the Dora Milaje's General and T'Challa's right-hand woman? The Dora Milaje are an incredible force of power in Wakanda. But if their loyalties fell into the wrong hands, they would be a terrifying force to reckon with. The tension would be marvelous, and we're here for it.

The Dora Milaje as the Midnight Angels

With their stunning beaded armor and functional jewelry, the Dora Milaje are already a sight to behold. But they don't just look cool — they're one of the most impressive armed forces in the MCU. The fact that they are all shaved-headed women wielding giant spears (and sometimes wigs) is just icing on the fierce cake. At this point, the only thing that would make the Dora Milaje even more impressive is, say, a brutally effective strike-force of their best and brightest, assembled in case of emergency. Which, in the comics, totally exists. Enter the Midnight Angels.

The Midnight Angels are first assembled in a 2010 story in which Doctor Doom steals Wakanda's vibranium. Eventually, the group does become something of a rogue force — recent storylines see the Midnight Angels go after T'Challa himself. But even when they're turning against their king, they have compelling reasons to do so. The drama is further racheted up by the fact that the latest incarnation of the Angels consists of two Dora Milaje members who have fallen in love. The drama in intense, the action is sharp, and the cinematic possibilities are enormous.

General Okoye and Ayo's romantic relationship

In Black Panther, General Okoye of the Dora Milaje is in a relationship with W'Kabi. In the Welcome to Wakanda comics by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, and Yona Harvey, a same-sex romance between Ayo, a Dora Milaje member, and Aneka, a character who hasn't made it onscreen yet, is developed. Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole actually included a nod to this partnership by filming a sly moment between Okoye and Ayo that suggests an attraction. "You look good," Ayo says, flirting with Okoye. "I know," Okoye responds, in a sweet hat-tip to Han Solo.

But unfortunately, the moment was cut for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Since Okoye and W'Kabi's relationship is greatly strained by the events of Black Panther, there should be at least a little room for Okoye and Ayo to explore what lay behind their cut scene together in Black Panther 2. If nothing else, as fellow Dora Milaje members, they'd certainly understand each other's lives in a unique and potent way.

Queen Ramonda's backstory

Played with panache by acting legend Angela Bassett, Queen Ramonda is regal, resplendent, and unflappably strong in the face of her husband's death, Wakandan turmoil, and the near-murder of her son. But there is much more to this statuesque figure than Black Panther has shown so far, making her a ripe candidate for more development in Black Panther 2. In comic canon, T'Challa is not actually Ramonda's biological child, but he son of T'Chaka's first wife N'Yami, who died giving birth to him. Ramonda is T'Chaka's second wife, who has raised T'Challa as her own, alongside her daughter, Shuri. 

It's unclear in Black Panther if any of this version of her backstory is true or if they have re-written T'Challa to be her biological son, so fans would really appreciate some clarification. Also, you don't need to ask us twice if we want to see more of Angela Bassett in this fabulous role, and not just because her outfits are exceptional. What role will the Queen Mother play in the rebuilding of Wakanda after Thanos? Will there be room for flashbacks about her history before she became queen? And how might that history affect Wakanda, T'Challa, and possibly even Shuri going forward? We need to know.

Rebuilding Wakanda post-Thanos

In Infinity War, Wakanda takes a huge walloping from intergalactic forces, and ends up being the site of Thanos' fateful snap. How does Wakanda bounce back from this kind of devastation? Fans of Black Panther would love to see how Wakandans rebuild, and maybe even get to meet the architects and other workers who will have to redesign and otherwise fix up the country. And with T'Challa's promise to open up Wakanda to the global distribution of vibranium as well as potentially becoming a new hub of immigration and asylum-seeking, how will this be managed? And by whom? 

Further, in the comics, Wakanda is a place with universal healthcare, free education all the way through post-graduate studies, and world-class centers for research, engineering, and the arts. Who wouldn't want their own set of Kimoyo Beads? Will allowing access to these kinds of resources to outsiders create the next conflict in Black Panther 2? Will other nations decide to invade and pillage Wakanda? With Wakanda's secret out in the open, there is a lot of room for jealousy, warfare, and strife — and it could make for one heck of a movie.

Storm as T'Challa's love interest

While we're all rooting for T'Challa and Nakia, Nakia has plans bigger than being T'Challa's queen. As a spy and human rights activist, Nakia is always on the go looking for who needs help, what Wakanda can offer the world, and how to successfully implement change. This passion drives her, even into danger — she's not someone content to sit in one place, ruling one country. Might this leave the door open for the X-Men's Storm, who has been T'Challa's off-again, on-again love interest for years in the comics?

Storm, along with the rest of the X-Men, does not yet exist in the MCU. But now that Marvel has their merry band of mutants back under their cinematic control, that is likely to change. Storm has a long history with T'Challa, up to and including a marriage that tests her loyalty to the X-Men against her duties as queen of Wakanda. Could Black Panther 2 be the right moment to introduce the X-Men to the MCU? Could Storm and T'Challa come together as they have before? And what would that mean for the royal couple's loyalties?

Nakia becoming Malice

Nakia has quite a different backstory in the comics than she does in the movie. In Black Panther, when Shuri offers Nakia some Dora Milaje armor, Nakia says she can't wear it because, "I'm not a Dora." But in the comics, Nakia was actually a member of the Wakandan royal guard, having lost her position due to an unhealthy obsession with T'Challa.  It got worse: She is tortured and murdered by Achebe, and ultimately resurrected by Killmonger as the villainous Malice.

Movie Nakia, as you've probably guessed by now, is extremely different. She's a human rights activist who sets her own agenda, and her relationship with T'Challa is requited and healthy. Nakia on-screen suffers no fools, and would certainly never lose her head over a love interest; she has far too many important things to take care of. So, for Nakia to become Malice in Black Panther 2, there would need to be some sweeping changes. We think the MCU could pull it off, though, and possibly create another villain as complex and sympathetic as Killmonger.

Another amazing soundtrack

Black Panther's soundtrack blows even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and Vol 2 out of the water. Featuring a collection of mainstream and indie musical talent produced and curated by Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Kendrick Lamar, Black Panther's music is as banging as its action. About the first film's now-iconic sound, Lamar said his visit to South Africa in 2014, his first time on the African continent, profoundly changed him as a person and an artist. That musical magic is the glowing purple thread running through Black Panther's killer soundtrack.  Fans expect nothing less for the sequel. 

But Lamar doesn't want to stop at just doing the second film's music: He is down for a role in the movie and is even willing to play the bad guy. Could there be an in-universe Kendrick Lamar concert in Black Panther 2? Would it be in Wakanda or Lamar's hometown of Oakland, though? We are cool with either one. For Bast's sake, can 2022 hurry up and get here already?