In what has to be one of the “Duh” headlines of the fall, we learned Ryan Coogler will indeed write and direct Black Panther’s sequel, because… well, Duh!
The movie was a massive box office and sociological success. More than $1.3 billion was earned by this movie but it wasn’t solely because comic book movie fans couldn’t wait to see Marvel’s least discussed Avenger.
It’s because King T’Challa is Marvel’s first black super hero (July 1966).
And while that may not have mattered to the legions of comic fans parading conventions and comic stores across the country, it matters to millions of children in the community who never knew some of their “heroes” did not play athletics of some kind. He was much more than nobility; he was novel to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
So while production isn’t expected for the king of Wakanda (and the box office) to begin until late 2019 or early 2020 (just enough time for T’Challa to recoup from Thanos’ snap), what can we expect about Black Panther’s return to the big screen?
Wakanda: The Unknown Frontier
Yes, this mythical and fictional African nation is the most technologically advanced region anywhere on Earth. You would think with a nation that inspires so much imagination, King T’Chaka — and later, his heir, T’Challa — Marvel would have a myriad of opportunity to bring something new for a sequel.
That’s the thing: Name the last time you have heard someone discussing one of Black Panther’s great duels with a villainous foe … prior to his inclusion in Captain America: Civil War.
That would be the first time.
Even though T’Challa has been around since the late ’60s, his savvy, skill, and access to all that vibranium hasn’t been leveraged much in Marvel canon. Although the comic pioneers have never strayed from a socially charged challenge, the leader of Wakanda’s army could do so much more than beat the living hell out of the Ku Klux Klan.
He’s faced his own legion of villains, armies created to do him harm and destroy Wakanda, but after Killmonger, what in the name of Africa’s native son could top that act of sociopolitical activism and global unification?
Let’s find out…
What Could be Next?
They are coming in Captain Marvel, and they are nasty, shape-shifting beings who like nothing more than declare war on anything not called “Skrulls.”
The idea with their “Secret Invasion” is the chameleon-ish ne’er-do-wells are replacing people around the world, even as some folks we know and love that call themselves ‘Avengers.’
What would happen if they decided to thwart T’Challa’s stomping grounds as M’baku or something and invaded Wakanda?
It falls in storyline with Marvel, maybe allows her to be in a connected film, and gives the king one amazing battle fresh off the heels dealing with his half-brother and Barney the dino-Titan. Imagine the fun we could have with that movie.
It already happened once in Civil War. Those super people full of angst and cosmic powers went after each other like there was a lost bet in Vegas or something.
Remember the beating Iron Man got when he was stuck in the middle of Captain America and Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes? It was unlike what pals do to each other in a friendly game of pick-up basketball. It was brutal and played for keeps.
What about that chase scene? The rooftop scene? The airport hanger scene? That was Black Panther fighting Bucky, Cap, and Hawkeye like he was Cujo with rabies.
Imagine the scenes Ryan Coogler could surmount among the rolling plains in Wakanda. More rabies perhaps?
When you think about the women of Wakanda, there are a few to discuss — their preeminence, their class, their absolute will to open a can of whoop ass.
Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) is one such woman who, if I were T’Challa, I’d feel alright taking a wrong turn in a sketchy neighborhood. If I couldn’t defend my woman from questionable dudes, I’d just sick my woman on them. That’s Nakia.
She’s sweet. She’s so smart. And she wasn’t always saintly.
In the comic, she gets this frontal lobotomy as a result of another Black Panther villain, Achebe. He tortured her, just about killed her. And what he left in body, he more than removed her soul. Of course, she had to be saved.
But it was Erik Killmonger, who uses the Wakandan magic of the Altar of Resurrection. Nakia gets some enhanced powers. New feel, new name — Killmonger names her ‘Malice’ and her crusade to kill T’Challa was on. Imagine that in a movie? Oh yeah, on it would be.
One of the breakout stars in Black Panther was the convincing Winston Duke as M’Baku, the Man Ape. Sure, he comes around in the movie and ultimately defends Wakanda from the evil clutches of Killmonger, but at one time, M’Baku really loathed T’Challa.
He believed the throne of Wakanda was his, and then the spoiled prince got the crown. So, in the comics, he didn’t just grunt and growl — he actually put on a white fur coat looking like King Kong stuck in the snow.
Then, he fought Black Panther for the throne on a frequent basis. Can’t imagine the leader of Jabari angry at his seemingly bestie from Wakanda?
One word: Loki. Betrayal is great for the movies because everyone sees it coming, except for the victim. Duke would make that sequel must-see-movie time.
Yeah, yeah. That whole Disney / Fox ballyhoo. Whatever. Everyone knows Fant4stic is coming to the big screen…you know, again. And with that quartet of mutant powered tomfoolery comes one very bad dude.
Doctor Doom, in his spare time of bringing chaos to Reed Richards and his clan of misfits, is known as the king of the nation of Latveria. This maniacal monarch stays drunk on an elixir of science and sorcery.
Get that? King. Science. Power.
Now imagine that guy bum-rushing Wakanda and T’Challa. It would be an explosion of epic proportions, if only brought to the big screen.
Both have unfathomable power. Both run a nation. Both even speak with a fairly impressive accent (at least in the comics). Marvel, make this happen. Both make our nerd pants fly across the room.