Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler’s sequel to 2018’s Black Panther has finally come to theaters, making a $330 million splash at the worldwide box office during its opening weekend. The sequel was a step forward for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in more ways than one, as after the death of Chadwick Boseman they introduced a new Black Panther, and they also introduced a few new characters who will undoubtedly impact the MCU in the coming years.
The film introduced Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the King of Talocan, and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), aka Ironheart who is set to appear in a Disney Plus series of the same name. The film also paved the way for a new ruler for the nation of Wakanda. So while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a cohesive movie and definitely acted as a response to the death of Chadwick Boseman, it also set up a few different avenues for MCU spinoffs as well as a Black Panther 3. So let’s take a look at everything we know about a sequel to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and theorize what that film might look like.
Will there be a Black Panther 3?
We do not have any official word regarding a third film in the Black Panther franchise, but the first film made over $1 billion and the sequel opened to $330 million at the worldwide box office, not to mention the fact that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was well-received, garnering a ‘Certified Fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The director of the first two Black Panther films, Ryan Coogler, has said “I can tell you definitively I have no idea what I’m doing next” when he was asked about a third film, so he may or may not be returning to the franchise if there is a third film. It is also worth noting that Kevin Fiege has claimed that there have been conversations about another film, but again, it might just be too early to say. Especially when you consider that most Marvel movies do not get a sequel announcement right after the film has been released, or even in advance of the next film coming out. Avengers movies seem to be the one exception to this.
As of writing Marvel has announced most, if not all, of their planned Phase Five of the MCU. They have yet to announce most of the films lined up for Phase Six, which we know will consist of the two Avengers films, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. The third Black Panther film could take place in Phase Six, in maybe 2026, making it roughly as far from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Wakanda Forever was from the original Black Panther.
One of the main ways Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sets up a sequel is through its post-credits scene. The post-credits scene of the film carries on from the closing moments of the film, with Shuri (Letitia Wright) on a beach in Haiti, crying as she comes to peace with T’Challa’s death. From behind her Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) approaches, together with a young boy, named Toussaint. She reveals that the boy is T’Challa’s child who she has named Prince T’Challa, and who is the heir to the throne of Wakanda.
This definitely seems to set up a future for the Black Panther franchise. Even though the boy is quite young they would not have introduced him in a post-credits scene if they did not have plans for him to eventually play a bigger role in the MCU. But because of his age, his introduction could lead to a few different paths. For example, M’Baku (Winston Duke) could be the ruler of Wakanda going forward as hinted by his challenging the absent Shuri toward the end of the movie. This could lead to Black Panther 3 having Prince T’Challa either being placed by M’Baku’s side to learn what it is like to rule Wakanda, or it could lead to the boy eventually challenging M’Baku for the throne.
But there is always the possibility that Shuri nurtures her nephew, and gives him the Heart-Shaped Herb when he is a teenager, allowing him to join the growing Young Avengers, together with Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop, Skaar, Ironheart, Stature, and whoever else they are going to introduce within the next few years of the MCU. However, it does seem more likely that Kang’s shenanigans with time and the multiverse might see more than a few years jump in the MCU as we saw in Avengers: Endgame. We could easily see Shuri die before said time jump and have an older actor, maybe even in his 20s, take her place as Prince T’Challa becomes the new Black Panther and the King of Wakanda.
There is also another problem with a possible Black Panther 3 in that the Black Panther character is quickly running out of interesting villains, having killed off both Ulysses Klaw and Killmonger. There are a few other villains that might work, but they are a little too similar to Killmonger in that the villains are usually people who want the Wakandan throne. With family being such a central theme in the Black Panther franchise it would not be too far-fetched to see a film pitting Shuri and an older Prince T’Challa against each other.
Or it could be a normal progression of the Black Panther story, with Shuri acting as the Black Panther, defending Wakanda against a new threat. We could also see them defend their nation and/or Talocan alongside Namor against a threat who is trying to take their vibranium. It would be interesting if that is how the MCU decides to introduce Doctor Doom as the villain of a potential Black Panther 3 rather than as the villain of the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. After all, he will need materials to build all of his Doombots, so why not have those materials be vibranium?
Ultimately, it does seem like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever managed to set up other projects in the MCU more than it did its own sequel. It is doubtful that Ironheart will return in the next Black Panther movie, instead she will be returning in her own Disney Plus series. As for Namor, it could probably go either way. But as of writing, they have not announced any projects for Namor yet, unless he is appearing as a side character in one of the projects they have already announced. Of course, you might be able to come up with your own theories on how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever might be setting up Black Panther 3, just make sure you catch it while it is in theaters now.