It's clear that Black Panther's tremendous box office success will transform the MCU. A sequel is certainly in the cards, and there were recent hints that Ryan Coogler will be returning as director. In the meantime, though, Infinity War's entire third act is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Feige was confident of Black Panther's success, and insisted on being "all in on stuff we believe in, before the audience tell us what they think." As is so often the case for Marvel, it's paid off. Recognizing Black Panther's popularity, the marketing for Infinity War has gradually turned towards promoting the Wakandan section of the film.
Speaking at a press conference for Infinity War, Chadwick Boseman stressed that this doesn't mean Infinity War will simply feel like a sequel. "Avengers: Infinity War is Avengers: Infinity War," he insisted. "It's not Black Panther 1.5 or Black Panther 2. I feel like we have a strong presence in the movie... But it's its own thing."
Wakanda will play an important role in the film. In fact, production teams for Black Panther and Infinity War worked together closely. Marvel's official Art of Black Panther book revealed just how much trouble Marvel had taken in order to develop the fictional African nation; they'd literally drawn up a map of the entire country, locating each of the tribal homesteads. That level of detail will have greatly helped Infinity War's screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who had to consider where in Wakanda each scene will be set.
But Boseman's comment suggests that Infinity War will still retain a strong sense of balance. That's certainly the correct approach, given this is the 10-year anniversary celebration of the MCU. Infinity War will bring to an end a decade's worth of plot threads, with Thanos pursuing the unlimited power of the Infinity Gauntlet. Major character arcs will finally come to a head, as Tony Stark faces the alien invasion he has feared since 2012's The Avengers. And popular and much-loved heroes are expected to die; the odds don't look to be in Steve Rogers's favor. While it's entirely right that Wakanda be part of the celebration, Black Panther is only the latest of Marvel's tremendous successes. This film is far, far more important than any Black Panther sequel.
Of course, the one remaining question is how Wakanda will be affected by Thanos's attack. In the comics, the African nation was left devastated. The big-screen invasion looks every bit as dramatic as the one realized by Jonathan Hickman in 2013's Infinity event, and Boseman has promised "lasting ramifications." When the inevitable Black Panther sequel is finally released, no doubt it will explore those ramifications.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019