Disney is only a few weeks away from releasing Marvel Studios' final movie of the year and the closing theatrical effort in the MCU's Phase 4 - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
This will be the latest effort from the MCU in its post-Avengers: Endgame storyline as Marvel adds to Wakanda's legacy, which has slowly been building for Marvel Studios since the early days of Phase 1. But this time, the story will have to continue without the Black Panther himself after Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away, with the role not being recast for the sequel.
While Black Panther 2 is confirmed to tackle T'Challa's death as Wakanda looks to move forward with its next steps, it's still unclear when exactly this sequel takes place in relation to the rest of the MCU timeline. And while that specific answer is still unknown, Disney recently released a new official briefing about the movie that sets up where the Wakandan people are in their journey.
Black Panther 2's Time Jump Confirmed
According to Disney's latest press release for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sequel will be jumping forward a full year in time after T'Challa's death within the MCU.
As noted by director Ryan Coogler, Queen Ramonda recognizes the time that's passed since T'Challa's death and how "Shuri’s still not healing," leading to them "(taking) a retreat" away from Wakanda. But that quickly leads them to their first encounter with Tenoch Huerta's Namor the Sub-Mariner:
“Ramonda realizes that it’s been a year since T’Challa’s passing and Shuri’s still not healing—she’s not taking steps to move forward in a healthy way. They take a retreat—stepping away from the city, from the technology—to sit with no distractions and perform what is essentially a grief ritual. That’s when Namor shows up.”
Coogler went into more details about Namor as well, noting how he represents a new version of Atlantis while showing that "Wakanda is not as safe as they thought" in the story:
“In our story, he represents Talokan, a hidden underwater civilization that is our reimagined version of the comic book realm of Atlantis. His appearance there shows that Wakanda is not as safe as they thought, and he presents Ramanda and Shuri with a proposition.”
Producer Nate Moore added to the chatter, discussing how "completely unaware" the Wakandans are of Namor and his people when they meet for the first time. He also praised Ryan Coogler for his work in "putting these things together," with Namor actually finding some things in common with Ramonda and Shuri:
“The notion of a society that was forced into hiding because of the events of the outside world is very much germane to the world of Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ryan is a very savvy filmmaker in putting these things together. Namor’s concerns resonate with Ramanda and Shuri—their nations have some things in common. But they may not agree with his solution."
Moore dove into more of the story details as well, looking at how Wakanda has to push forward "in a world where T'Challa is now no longer with us," making it an easy decision to look at how much he touched the lives of those around him, particularly Shuri:
“For the story of Wakanda to move forward in a world where T'Challa is now no longer with us, it only made sense to investigate what that loss meant for all of the people that he touched. And there's no one who's going to feel that effect more than his little sister, Shuri.”
In this movie, Shuri attempts to lose herself in her work in Wakanda's laboratory until she meets Namor, although she's far from alone in her grief and her desire to keep Wakanda's place in the world steady. This will put Shuri and Queen Ramonda alongside a great spy in Nakia, the Jabari ruler in M'Baku, two Dora Milaje warriors in Ayo and Aneka, and an American CIA agent in Everett Ross.
Marvel Story Moving Past T'Challa's Death
With this sequel moving forward a full year after T'Challa's death, it's still unclear exactly when in the MCU timeline this story will take place after everything that was released before it in Phase 4. And even with the funeral for T'Challa having been featured in both trailers, it's becoming clear that this moment will only play a small part in this movie's extended runtime.
With rumors pointing to Black Panther 2 being over two and a half hours long, the story should have plenty of time to pay tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman while also adding to Wakanda's growing legacy as Phase 4 comes to an end.
And while this time jump should theoretically help the nation in its healing process, Shuri and the royal family will still have difficulty coming to terms with the new state of affairs without their brother and leader King T'Challa. This will make their first encounter with Talocan even that much more of a challenge, although that will be just one of many challenges that the core group of heroes will face in this massive new solo outing.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere in theaters on Friday, November 11.