Black Panther actress Letitia Wright shares that director Ryan Coogler attempted to setup the introduction of a female version of the hero in the sequels. Unfortunately, the plan somehow got lost in the mix, but that doesn't mean that it won't be happening down the line. Tasked to introduce the hidden nation of Wakanda and its people to the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, the California-native has assembled an impressive roster of largely Black actors for the upcoming film, which will reunite fans with Captain America: Civil War standout, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
The new king and protector of Wakanda, however, cannot run a country alone - especially when the nation stands at a crossroads that will determine their future as an autonomous society, hidden from the outside world. Of course, there is the elite military forces of Dora Milaje and new fan-favorite Shuri, T'Challa's genius younger sister who is developing all the tech for the country, played by Wright.
Speaking with Variety while doing the press rounds for Black Panther, Wright briefly talked about her future as Shuri and possible character progression for her down the line, including potentially also suiting up as the female Panther. In the pages of the comics, T'Challa's younger sister did eventually suit up after he suffered several critical injuries, but it seems like we have to wait for a while to see a version of that storyline on the big screen.
We didn’t talk about it in terms of the future. It was something I feel he was playing with [trying] to set up, but it didn’t happen. Hopefully it does. I’m happy that there’s room to allow Shuri to grow. I wanna sit with her a little bit more.
While there is no scarcity of strong women in Wakanda to possibly take on the role of the female Panther, it might be a little too early to setup that kind of thread especially with the film being T'Challa's first solo outing. Focusing more on him would be preferable considering that outside his own Marvel sub-franchise, he is also slated to play a role in the MCU moving forward, beginning with a pivotal part in Avengers: Infinity War. That said, considering there are already two suits (at least, that's what's revealed in the trailers), tapping another Wakandan to play another version of the hero will be easier if the narrative calls for it.
Despite not being able to setup the possibility for a female iteration of the Vibranium suit-wearing legend, Coogler was able to brilliantly accomplish the job he set out to do in Black Panther. From the sounds of early reactions, it appears that despite a huge cast, the filmmaker was able to give each one of his characters depth in a way that people understand their motivations - including villain, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). With such a job well done, Marvel Studios would be remiss not to tap the 31-year-old director again to helm the sequel. Then he could maybe flesh out some of his plans that didn't pan out in the first film.
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