2020 is finally coming to an end, and among one of the many things Marvel fans have to look forward to next year is the filming of Black Panther 2. Like several other Hollywood productions, the Marvel sequel was delayed due to the pandemic. And sadly, this year also meant the loss of Chadwick Boseman (King T'Challa), who died of colon cancer in August. Much has been said about how the film will move forward without Boseman, but here's what audiences can expect once Black Panther 2 hits theaters. Be warned: Spoilers for the first movie ahead.
Black Panther 2 Plot
At the end of the first film, T'Challa was able to return to "The Golden City." There, he challenged Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who assumed the throne after he beat T'Challa in a previous showdown. During their epic final fight across Wakanda, a wounded Killmonger tells T'Challa that he'd rather die and be buried in the ocean with his "ancestors that jumped from the ships because they knew death was better than bondage."
In the following scene, T'Challa kissed Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and asked her to stay in Wakanda, suggesting the next installment would further explore their relationship. And the very last scene before the end credits showed T'Challa and Shuri (Letitia Wright) in California, where he said they would bring Wakanda's advanced technology and innovations to America via the Wakandan International Outreach Center.
Of course, when that movie was made, Boseman was expected to return to the big screen, and the plot would continue from there. Ryan Coogler, the first film's writer and director, previously told Screen Rant he wanted to explore "what kind of king he is with experience and how that affects his performance in the stories." However, things obviously must change.
While Marvel has not yet given specifics on how they will maneuver the tragic loss of Boseman, there are some hints at how the script will take shape. On Dec. 10, 2020, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced that they won't recast T'Challa, "(Boseman's) portrayal of T'Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel's past, and it's for that reason, that we will not react the character. However, to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film." That doesn't necessarily answer how they will address T'Challa's absence, but it does confirm fans will see more of the characters they know and love from the first movie. With Killmonger seemingly dead (more on that down below), there's also room for a new villain. Per The Hollywood Reporter, that role could go to Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta, who is said to be in talks to join the franchise.
Black Panther 2 Cast
Much to the relief of fans, Marvel Studios will refrain from using a computer-generated Boseman to play T'Challa in Coogler's sequel. Marvel Studios' Executive Vice President Victoria Alonso told Argentinian outlet Clarin:
"There's only one Chadwick and he's not with us. Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to history and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected, so painful, so terrible, really ... The thought of doing it without him is kinda strange. We're just grieving at the moment, so it's trying to find the light in the midst of it."
As THR revealed, Winston Duke (M'Baku), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Nyong'o, and Wright will return, with Wright having an expanded role. In August 2019, Martin Freeman told Collider he would almost certainly return as CIA agent Everett Ross. Surprisingly, there are rumors that Jordan could return despite his character, Killmonger, refusing medical help and appearing to die in the previous film. He may only appear in flashbacks or the spiritual realm of Bast, as he ingested the heart-shaped herb, but Marvel hasn't confirmed anything regarding casting news.
Black Panther 2 Soundtrack
The soundtrack for the first film was produced and curated by Kendrick Lamar alongside record label honcho Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith and became an immediate success. Not much has been said about if they will return to develop the second album, but there are rumors Rihanna may be involved after she appeared in a Google search with the Black Panther 2 cast. E! dispelled rumors that she would star onscreen, but there's still hope she may have some involvement with bringing the movie to life with music.
Black Panther 2 Release Date
In August 2019, Feige said the sequel would premiere in theaters on May 6, 2022, but that was before the pandemic and Boseman's death. Because the initial 2021 production date was pushed back five months, the Black Panther 2 release date will be delayed to July 2022, which Feige confirmed in December 2020.