Marvel Studios has shifted the release date for an untitled Marvel Cinematic Universe movie a few months forward, from July 2021 to February 2021 - and it seems likely that this untitled movie is actually Black Panther 2.
With the fate of many of Marvel superheroes drifting in the wind after Avengers: Infinity War, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently uncertain. Way back in 2014, Marvel officially announced a slate of Phase 3 movies that spanned the following five years - from Captain America: Civil War to Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 (as it was then titled). Now, however, we have no certain idea what will happen beyond the end of 2019, though we do know that Marvel has nine release dates staked out between 2020 and 2022.
Although the MCU Phase 4 slate isn't official, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige confirmed earlier this year that Black Panther 2 is definitely on the way, adding, "We have ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one." Infinity War co-director Joe Russo has also strongly implied that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler will be back to direct the sequel. Plans for Black Panther 2 don't seem be as far along as those for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which already has a script drafted, but there's no question that it will be one of the movies slated for release between 2020 and 2022. Now that Marvel has a movie scheduled for February 12, 2021 (almost exactly three years after the release of Black Panther, which hit theaters on February 16, 2018), it seems unlikely that this will be anything other than Black Panther 2.
Marvel has demonstrated a tendency to release sequels with MCU franchises at around the same time of the year: both Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok were released in November; Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp were both released in July; all three Iron Man movies were released at the beginning of May; and next year's Spider-Man: Far From Home will be released on July 5 - two days earlier than Spider-Man: Homecoming's release last year. February has particular significance with regards to Black Panther, since February is Black History Month.
Assuming that Marvel's February 2021 movie is Black Panther 2, filming will likely begin at the end of 2019 or the start of 2021 (principal photography on Black Panther began in January 2017). We fully expect Marvel to keep details of the plot and characters under wraps for a good while longer, since the studio's plans are surrounded by secrecy at the moment (we still don't have official word on what Avengers 4's title would be, though an apparent leak pointed to the possible title Avengers: End Game). In fact, T'Challa may not even be the main character in Black Panther 2, since the mantle of the Black Panther can be held by different people - like, for example, T'Challa's sister, Shuri.
Given that Black Panther is Marvel's highest-grossing solo superhero movie, it's little wonder that a sequel is a priority for the studio. We won't find out until next year how Black Panther recovers from being turned to dust by Thanos' finger snap, but it definitely won't be long before we return to Wakanda.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019