Lupita Nyong'o Is Joining The MCU

Sometimes it feels like there isn't an Oscar-nominee working in Hollywood today who hasn't played a role in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe: Cate Blanchett, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin are just a few of the names on a very long list. Well, Marvel Studios has sunk its vibranium claws into yet another award-winning actor: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lupita Nyong'o is in talks to star in Black Panther alongside Chadwick Boseman as the titular superhero. But who will she be playing in Black Panther?

This is obviously huge news for fans of the talented actress, who won Best Supporting Actress for 2013's 12 Years A Slave. It will undoubtedly be her highest-profile part since she accepted her Oscar on the stage of the Dolby Theatre; both of the roles she has filmed since then have been voice-only, as the space pirate Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the protective wolf mother Raksha in The Jungle Book.

Between this, her starring role in the upcoming biopic Queen Of Katwe (also produced by — you guess it — Disney), and her recent Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway play Eclipsed , Nyong'o's face is suddenly everywhere… and that's obviously awesome. THR reports that her "character has not been revealed, although she will be the Panther’s love interest." Although they don't divulge the identity of her character, her description as a love interest narrows down the options pretty significantly.

Barring the slim chance that her character might be an original creation, there are really only two candidates: Storm (aka Ororo Munroe), who was T'Challa's wife and the Queen of Wakanda for a time, and Monica Lynne, a New York City soul singer and the Panther's longest-standing romantic partner. And considering that 20th Century Fox (not Marvel Studios) owns the film rights to the X-Men — including Storm — that only leaves us with one possibility.

Of course, it may turn out that Marvel is planning an unexpected twist on the source material and turning any of the comics' female characters into a new love interest for the film — like the awesomely-named Queen Divine Justice or the bodyguard-turned-enemy Malice — but, for now, smart money is definitely on Monica Lynne.

Whoever Nyong'o ends up playing, there's no denying that she's a smart addition to the roster. Maybe her character can even co-headline a Black Panther sequel, just like Evangeline Lilly has been promoted for 2018's Ant-Man And The Wasp. Regardless, hopefully Marvel will find room for her somewhere in Avengers: Infinity War so we can see her kicking butt alongside the likes of Wasp, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Now that would be a sight to behold…

Black Panther, directed by Creed's Ryan Coogler, will claw its way into theaters on July 6, 2018. Meanwhile, you can see T'Challa in action in Captain America: Civil War .

Images: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures