Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been deep in development this summer.
After reworking the screenplay in the wake of the late Chadwick Boseman's passing, production on the second installment kicked off in late June. Details from Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia have been kept under wraps (or underwater, if you will), but filming ventures in Massachusetts have unearthed numerous details surrounding the sequel.
Ahead of filming at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed the long-running rumor that Dominique Thorne would make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Riri Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before she gets the solo spotlight in her Ironheart Disney+ series. Since then, Thorne has been spotted on set alongside returning stars from 2018's Black Panther.
Given that Riri Williams attends MIT in the comics, shooting at the famed research university led to speculation that the campus-based scenes would showcase the future heir to Tony Stark in a fairly low-key environment.
As is the case with most Marvel heroes, however, trouble is never too far behind.
BLACK PANTHER 2's CAMBRIDGE CAR CHASE
Wakanda is bringing a spot of bother to the streets of Boston.
In exclusive set photos captured on August 24 by The Direct's Liam Crowley, a blue dirt bike and a red muscle car with a black racing stripe were speeding down Main Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The dirt bike rider was wearing a recognizable purple jumpsuit, identifying her as a stuntwoman for Letitia Wright's Shuri, while the muscle car driver was a Black woman with a bald head.
While this could mean the driver is any member of the Dora Milaje, earlier set photos indicate she is Danai Gurira's Okoye.
The vehicles were following a grey van, although it's unclear whether the van was acting as an off-screen guide for the shot or if Shuri and Okoye were in pursuit of it.
Similar to the van, police motorcycles passed through the streets during filming.
As mentioned, the two Wakandans drove down Main Street before making a sharp turn into Galileo Galilei Way.
The vehicles passed MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Koch Biology Building before turning near the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Before filming began, the vehicles were spotted in a production parking lot during daylight.
Later that evening, Letitia Wright suffered minor injuries in an incident with a stunt rig. Wright was hospitalized due to the accident but was released shortly after.
THE FAST AND THE SHURI-OUS
Early speculation indicated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's venture to Boston would play parallel to Captain America: Civil War's scenes in Queens, substituting Tony Stark for Shuri and Peter Parker for Riri Williams.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MIT is home to a future certified super-genius in Riri Williams. While Shuri can out-wit Bruce Banner, it never hurts to have another mega-mind on the Wakandans' side. Wakanda Forever's MIT scenes could well be recruitment, but unlike Civil War's moments in New York's largest borough, trouble follows.
It's worth noting that the two were taking separate vehicles despite the muscle car's passenger seat being empty. This could mean that the Wakandans are indeed in pursuit of the aforementioned gray van considering the events of 2018's Black Panther. During that film's South Korean car chase, the Dora Milaje drove their own car while Shuri operated another empty vehicle remotely from her Wakandan lab. Unlike the Ravagers, the MCU's smartest character prefers to fly solo when it comes to hot pursuits.
As mentioned, Letitia Wright suffered minor injuries later in the evening of this overnight shoot. It is unclear if the injuries came as a result of the scene described in this article, but the accident did occur on the same night.
If Shuri and Okoye are after the van, it must contain something important.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's main antagonists seem to be Namor and the Atlanteans, and it's doubtful the Sub-Mariner knows what a three-point turn is. 2018's Black Panther did work in numerous nemeses, as Andy Serkis's Ulysses Klaue joined forces with Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger early in the film. This van could be driven by a mid-card villain who precedes the main event heel, that being Namor.
Given the location, it's more likely that the van has something to do with Riri Williams. In the comics, Riri crafts her own Iron Man suit using stolen materials from MIT, putting her on security's radar in a bad way. This scene could be Riri's heist in action, which would explain the police motorcycles.
Shuri and Danai Gurira's Okoye might be operating in a Hank Pym capacity in the sense that they want to get to their guy before the authorities do. Similar to how Pym helped Scott Lang escape prison to help him in 2015's Ant-Man, the Wakandans may aid Riri in this police pursuit because they need her assistance sooner rather than later.
It's worth noting that the gray van did not have its headlights on, indicating the driver was inexperienced. It's unclear how old Riri will be in the MCU, but in the comics, she begins attending MIT at 15 years old. She may have maxed-out intelligence, but her street smarts are likely lacking.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on July 8, 2022.