Black Panthertook Hollywood by storm when it hit theaters in 2018 as the first superhero film featuring an African-American as the leading hero. Chadwick Boseman delivered a masterful performance that helped Black Panther become the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and the first MCU film to receive an Academy Award. Last summer however Boseman passed at the age of 43 after a long battle with colon cancer, leaving many unsure how this would impact the fate of the budding franchise moving forward. While many said they could not imagine a sequel to the 2018 film without Boseman suiting up as the infamous Black Panther, Marvel has decided to press forward and reimagine the franchise given the huge void they are now forced to fill. Now as production ramps up and we get a clearer idea of the film that is to come, the title and release date of the upcoming project have been officially announced.
While the franchise will certainly have a different feel for it without Boseman at the center of the story, Marvel has high hopes they can still salvage what is left of the franchise. In doing so they have titled the upcoming sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and this could provide some clues as to what the upcoming project will be about. While it is known that Boseman’s character T’Challa will not be recast, the focus instead is likely to be shifted to his home country of Wakanda and the other characters the first film introduced. This includes Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, both of whom help drive home the cultural significance of Black Panther: as the first African-American superhero film it not only serves to appease fans of the superhero genre but also aids in defining the African-American identity in pop culture. While new faces are sure to be present in the upcoming sequel, it would appear as though Marvel wants to shift their emphasis to what makes the Black Panther franchise special moving forward.
This is seemingly the best case scenario for the future of the Black Panther franchise. It is permanently ingrained in both the fabric of the MCU and of pop culture, illustrating Marvel’s desire to not just completely abandon the franchise following Boseman’s passing. More details will likely come to surface in the coming weeks to give fans a better idea of what they are in store for. Until then, fans can anticipate the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on July 8th, 2022.