Winston Duke getting hefty raise for expanded ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ role

M'Baku Black Panther
Image via Marvel Studios

Word came out today that production has finally resumed on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after filming was forced to halt last November following star Letitia Wright suffering a serious injury on set. With the Shuri actress now recovered, work on the much-anticipated Marvel sequel is pressing ahead once more in Atlanta, Georgia, and is expected to continue for four weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed this information, as well as an intriguing update about Wright’s co-star Winston Duke and how he figures into the movie. THR shares that their sources tell them Duke — who plays M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe — negotiated a “hefty raise” for this, his fourth appearance in the MCU, following 2018’s Black Panther and both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

The justification for his pay rise is that he’ll have an “expanded role” in both Wakanda Forever and the Black Panther mythos in general. THR reached out to Marvel to clarify what exactly this expanded role could be, but unsurprisingly the studio had no comment. This update is likely to fuel all those fan theories that M’Baku, not Shuri, is the character set to take over as the protector of Wakanda from T’Challa, who will be written out of the franchise following Chadwick Boseman’s death.

The shoot was supposed to have kicked off again this past Monday, but it was delayed by a few more days due to various members of the cast and crew, including Nakia actress Lupita Nyong’o, testing positive for COVID-19.

Despite all these setbacks, it’s believed that the film, as directed by Ryan Coogler and co-starring Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Dominique Thorne, will be able to avoid another shuffle to its release schedule. Marvel is said to be committed to having Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters on Nov. 11, 2022.