Given that, in 2018, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, was praised as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, and became the first comic book movie to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture, it was surprising that a sequel wasn’t included in Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 announcement at this year’s Comic-Con.
A couple of months later, things were set right when Black Panther II was confirmed for Phase 5 with a release date set in stone. So, here are 5 Things That Have Been Confirmed For Black Panther II (And 5 Fan Theories).
10 Confirmed: Ryan Coogler will write and direct
When Black Panther first hit theaters and became a global phenomenon, producer Kevin Feige said that he’d be eager to bring back writer-director Ryan Coogler for a potential sequel. It wasn’t long before the sequel was officially announced and Coogler was signed back on to write and direct it. In the meantime, Coogler is producing a biopic of revolutionary socialist Fred Hampton, working on a dramatization of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal with Michael B. Jordan, and producing and co-writing a sequel to Space Jam. Coogler co-wrote the first Black Panther movie with Joe Robert Cole, but at least as of now, he’s writing the sequel solo.
9 Fan theory: Killmonger will appear
Erik Killmonger died at the end of Black Panther, asking T’Challa to bury him in the ocean in an incredibly powerful scene, so many fan theories where he’s resurrected and returns as a villain in the sequel seem redundant because it’s unlikely that Ryan Coogler would want to undo the impact of that scene. However, by consuming the Heart-Shaped Herb, T’Challa is able to visit all of the previous Black Panthers in the Astral Plane. Since Killmonger became a Black Panther before his death, Michael B. Jordan’s tragic hero could return in the sequel by appearing in the Astral Plane.
8 Confirmed: It’s about how T’Challa grows as a king
So far, the MCU has been doing a great job of tweaking some parts of a character from their comic book counterparts and playing the faithful parts off of what they’ve changed. This is seen in Peter Parker’s role as a surrogate son to Tony Stark, and it’s also seen in T’Challa’s reign beginning when he’s an adult. In the comics, T’Challa has been a king since his childhood, but in the MCU, he’s still getting used to the role. Ryan Coogler has said that he would like to continue to explore this angle of the character in future Black Panther movies.
7 Fan theory: Namor is the villain
In Avengers: Endgame, Okoye told Black Widow about an undersea earthquake off the coast of Wakanda. Marvel fans have taken this as unequivocal evidence that the sequel to Black Panther will see Wakanda wage war with Atlantis. This would make Namor the Sub-Mariner the film’s primary villain, and establish his long-running rivalry with T’Challa from the comics.
Namor’s presence has been teased in the MCU since way back in 2010’s Iron Man 2, so it’s about time he finally reared his head. Dozens of casting choices for Namor – John Cho, Pedro Pascal, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim – have been bandied around the Internet.
6 Confirmed: Black Panther II is just a working title
Apart from Iron Man 2 and 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, most MCU sequels have had a subtitle. These subtitles usually take their names from a comic book storyline – “Civil War,” “Ragnarok,” “Infinity War” etc. – to tease audiences about a given sequel’s content. When the Black Panther sequel was announced recently, it was given a logo for the title Black Panther II. While this simplicity could actually work in the sequel’s favor, setting it apart from the sequels with now-cliched subtitles, Marvel has confirmed that Black Panther II is just a working title. Maybe the movie will end up being called Black Panther II, but its status as a working title suggests that it is at least subject to change.
5 Fan theory: The title will be Black Panther: Lost Kingdom
This is less of a fan theory and more of an unconfirmed leak, but since the leak got out, fans have formulated theories based on it. Since Black Panther II doesn’t seem like it’ll be the movie’s final title, fans have been trying to figure out what the actual title will be. A recent (unreliable) rumor has it that the title is Black Panther: Lost Kingdom. Some fans have tied this to the rumors that Wakanda will wage war with Atlantis in the Black Panther sequel and figured that Atlantis could be the “lost kingdom” that the title refers to.
4 Confirmed: It’ll be released on May 6, 2022
It was announced recently that Black Panther II will hit theaters on May 6, 2022. This will place it in Phase 5 of the MCU, as Phase 4 was recently slated up to 2021, ending with Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder. There are a handful of sequels set for release in 2022, including Mission: Impossible 8 (which will shoot back-to-back with Mission: Impossible 7 under writer-director Christopher McQuarrie) and the belated The Matrix 4. It’s also speculated that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hit theaters in 2022. The year will also see the release of another movie about the newly appointed ruler of a secret kingdom: Aquaman 2.
3 Fan theory: Wakanda will face geopolitical problems after going public
A lot of fan theories have been based on the idea that Black Panther II will build on the story threads established at the end of the first Black Panther movie, which seems like a reasonable jumping-off point. Black Panther’s mid-credits scene saw T’Challa addressing the United Nations after Wakanda had outed itself a technologically advanced nation with the goal to help out in international crises.
Naturally, geopolitical problems will follow, as other nations that have exhausted their natural resources (possibly including Latveria, to plant that seed) will undoubtedly try to get their hands on Wakanda’s invaluable mountain of vibranium.
2 Confirmed: Most of the main actors are signed back on
Four of the lead actors from the first Black Panther movie have already signed back on to appear in the sequel: Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (obviously), Letitia Wright as his sister Shuri, Danai Gurira as his most trusted guard Okoye, and Martin Freeman as government suit Everett Ross. There are more actors that we can expect to see recruited for the sequel in the coming months – Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, T’Challa’s top spy and on-off love interest; Angela Bassett as Ramonda, T’Challa and Shuri’s mother; and Winston Duke as M’Baku, the badass leader of the Jabari, for example – but right now, only four cast members have officially signed up for the sequel.
1 Fan theory: Black Panther II will reveal the Fantastic Four
This one’s a stretch, but it might explain why Marvel is waiting four whole years to bring out a Black Panther sequel when audiences are clearly eager for one. If the rumors are true that Namor will lead Atlantis into a war with Wakanda in Black Panther II, then the sequel might be the perfect MCU movie in which to introduce the Fantastic Four. It might make more sense to include Marvel’s first family in a Spider-Man movie – a reversal of how Spidey was introduced in the comics – but with delicate negotiations with Sony ongoing, this is unlikely to happen. In Black Panther II, the Fantastic Four could establish their close relationship with Wakanda and their rivalry with Namor.