Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally confirmed the identity of the new Black Panther in the MCU, allowing the character to be featured in upcoming Marvel projects in Phase 5 and beyond.
Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Disney confirmed that they would not recast the MCU's T'Challa, leading to speculation on who's next to take over the Black Panther mantle of Wakanda. Theories became rampant on which character fits the title, with some even against the idea that T'Challa wasn't recast for the sequel.
Despite that, marketing for Wakanda Forever made it clear that a new Wakandan protector will rise, with the credits even confirming that "the Black Panther will return."
While the sequel is enjoying a record-breaking opening weekend, the new Black Panther appears to have a bright future within the MCU. And to celebrate that occasion, The Direct now looks at six upcoming projects where the character could be featured next, listed in order from least likely to most likely that Black Panther will make an appearance within.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
1.) Secret Invasion
Disney+'s Secret Invasion series is being hyped up as the MCU's next crossover event, with Everett Ross actor Martin Freeman even teasing that the story is "quite labyrinthine" (meaning 'intricate') in terms of "the amount of people crossing over with each other" as well as the stories being told. Given that Okoye helped Ross escape at the end of the sequel, it's possible that the one that the Wakandan saved is the real version of the CIA agent, with his Skrull counterpart being the one featured in the show instead.
Shuri as the Black Panther may likely be the one to pursue the Skrull version of Ross to help clear her friend's name. On the flip side, with Wakandans being a hot target of the government, the Skrull could pose as the Black Panther to damage their reputation even more, prompting Shuri to respond and show up to help Nick Fury.
That said, Shuri's involvement in Secret Invasion is in the least likely range, due to the fact that the new Black Panther is currently in peaceful isolation in Haiti with Nakia and Toussaint.
Secret Invasion will premiere on Disney+ in Spring 2023.
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss' Val had a significant role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, leading many to speculate that she will also have a notable presence in future Wakandan conflicts. Given that the sequel's ending teased that the US government could be in direct conflict with Wakanda, this could be the sole reason why Bucky Barnes will be recruited to the Thunderbolts.
Part of Thunderbolts' plot could mainly focus on infiltrating Wakanda, with Bucky at the forefront due to his familiarity with the place. As a result, a potential (and heartbreaking clash) between Bucky and Shuri's Black Panther could happen in the movie, but a truce could be made with the Winter Soldier asking the Wakandan princess for assistance to help take down Val.
By the time the Thunderbolts strike or infiltrate Wakanda, Val and her team may choose a time when Shuri is outside the African nation for them to have a better chance of succeeding. As a result, the upcoming villain team-up film would also be in the least likely range.
Thunderbolts will premiere in theaters on July 26, 2024.
Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore described Ironheart as a "direct sequel" to Black Panther 2, indicating that the Disney+ series will address its ramifications. Given that Riri Williams and Shuri already have an established friendship, it's possible that the series could maximize this bond by featuring a surprise cameo appearance from the Wakandan princess.
Shuri could show up in a post-credits scene to check on Riri while also giving tips on how to upgrade her armor. Moreover, Shuri could even deliver the upgraded armor that Riri used in the sequel in order to help her combat the mystical threats that the young hero is facing in the series.
While Shuri and Riri clearly have a strong friendship, the new Black Panther might want to keep her distance at first in order to allow Ironheart to learn on her own. After all, Riri already proved that she has the intellect to be capable of anything, thus placing this Disney+ series at the middle of the likelihood range.
Ironheart will premiere on Disney+ in Fall 2023
4.) Multiple Wakanda Disney+ spin-off series
Variety reported that Marvel Studios is developing multiple Black Panther Disney+ spin-offs alongside Ryan Coogler's production company, Proximity Media. As a result, this opens up many opportunities for a small screen appearance from Shuri's Black Panther.
In fact, the sequel's ending managed to set up how Black Panther will not be in the spotlight in the spin-off shows, considering that Shuri appears to be in isolation in Haiti with Nakia. Whether it is the reported Okoye-led series or the one focused on Wakanda, there's no denying that it wouldn't be complete without the mere presence of the Black Panther even for at least a cameo.
The fact that Wakanda is at the forefront makes it likely that Shuri will be involved directly or indirectly in these spin-off shows.
5.) Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
An Avengers movie wouldn't be complete without Black Panther so it's reasonable to assume that Shuri will be present to help the team in its next crossover outing, thus making it as the most likely option for the hero to show up. Given the major threat that Kang is present and Shuri's intellect, it's likely that the Avengers will head to Wakanda for assistance in beating Jonathan Majors' time-traveling hero.
This would also offer the opportunity for other Avengers like Sam Wilson's Captain America and James Rhodes' War Machine to pay respect to T'Challa after his death.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is due in theaters on May 2, 2025.
6.) Avengers: Secret Wars
Considering that The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars are connected, Shuri's Black Panther will most likely be involved as well.
Moreover, given that it's likely that the film will include Variants and the Multiverse at its forefront, another Black Panther could be featured in the movie, such as a good Killmonger Variant or even a grown-up Toussaint to help defeat Kang or whoever foe that the team will face.
Avengers: Secret Wars will release in theaters on May 1, 2026.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.