Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Black Panther
Black Panther 2 has a unique problem in the MCU, as many of T'Challa's best villains were already perfectly executed (literally, in some cases) in the first movie. Marvel has long been levied with claims of weak villains, but across nearly 20 films (and several TV shows) they've crafted a few of cinema's finest antagonists. Thanos will make a play for the best MCU villain in Avengers: Infinity War, but Loki is no longer the rogue to beat.
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Michael B. Jordan's Erik "Killmonger" Stevens has been receiving high praise from critics, fans, and even his creator. Though his methods are questionable and his outlook clearly a bit deranged, the performance is unlike anything in a Marvel movie so far and adds some much needed socio-political reality to the superhero universe. But not only does Black Panther kill off the forgotten Wakandan son, it does away with long-time T'Challa villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). With those players seemingly off the board for good, let's look at which Marvel villains could face the king in Black Panther 2.
This page: Potential Villains We've Already Met
Potential Villains We've Already Met
The most obvious place to look for future adversaries for Black Panther is in the first film. Marvel has proven that the best villains are the ones we get to know, from Loki to the Vulture, so pulling from the existing cast would mean less heavy lifting for the story and more attachment from the audience. The best option when it comes to this is taking moviegoers by complete surprise and introducing Nakia as the next foe for T'Challa.
In the comics, Nakia debuted during Christopher Priest's run in 1998 with the rest of the Dora Milaje. But it wasn't long before a mission saw Nakia left for dead, only to be saved by Erik Killmonger. Using some mystical methods, Killmonger healed Nakia and gave her new powers—not to mention a new purpose. She used her skills to become Malice, serving as a bitter rival of T'Challa's alongside his enemy Killmonger. She disappeared from the comics for a time, but a new Black Panther comic brought back Nakia just in time for the movie. And sure enough, she's still using her villainous Malice guise.
There's no real hint in the films that Nakia could become a villain, especially given how keen she is on spreading Wakanda's resources to the rest of the world. But given the right push, Nakia's switch would add multiple layers of story complexity that would be just what Marvel needs to top Killmonger. Not to mention, seeing Lupita Nyong'o flex her chops and play a villain is something the world needs.
Beyond Nakia becoming Malice, there's always the chance Killmonger somehow survived. After all, we never see his body and Everett K. Ross is easily healed from a near fatal wound not long before Killmonger takes a spear to the torso. It might be a bit of a repeat to have the villain return—not to mention it could cheapen his fate if he survived—but this is a comic book movie we're talking about.
If not Killmonger, M'Baku is one of Black Panther's biggest rivals in the comics. While the first film didn't kill him off, however, it does seem to show he's no longer interested in the throne and even comes to respect T'Challa. But it's a stretch to call the leader of the Jabari sympathetic or altruistic, so there's no telling where his allegiances might shift. We know M'Baku will be in Avengers 3 and fans seem thrilled with Winston Duke's performance. Given his charisma in Black Panther, he could be quite the engaging antagonist in a sequel.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019