Heading into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, MCU fans knew the sequel would address the passing of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and pass the torch onto the film's supporting cast. What they didn't know was just how long the film's call sheet would be.
But in true MCU fashion, Black Panther 2 is not only set to introduce a new Black Panther, but also Namor, the ruler of Talocan, and Riri Williams' Ironheart.
However, since their roles have been front and center in the film's marketing, the question is just who else Marvel Studios is hiding?
Due to the film's political themes, Doctor Doom has been dominating the various theories with several rumors hinting at a mid or post-credits scene role.
Now that Wakanda Forever has premiered for critics, Marvel creatives are finally getting the chance to respond to all of the Doctor Doom speculation.
Marvel Producer Comments on Doctor Doom Cameo
In talking with Brandon Davis for Phase Zero, Marvel producer Nate Moore responded to whether Doctor Doom was ever considered for Black Panther 2, confessing that, "It wasn't:"
"It wasn't, to be quite honest, although I get why. He's such a great character and the world of Latveria is so fantastic and Ryan is a fan. But once we decided Namor was the antagonist, that was always going to be the focus."
In the comics, Victor von Doom is both a scientific genius and the ruler of the European nation of Latveria.
In some ways, his genius and position parallels that of Shuri. However, Doom is an iconic villain and integral antagonist to the Fantastic Four.
And so, since Doom is a political figure with ties to Phase 5 of the MCU, fans saw him as a leading candidate for Marvel to tease a bit of what's to come.
In fact, the leading rumor was that he would be referenced in a post-credits scene where Howard Stern calls on Doom to comment on the tension between Wakanda and Talocan.
However, Moore wasn't the only Marvel creative to be asked about the Victor von Doom speculation.
Phase Zero's Aaron Perine was able to ask Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler the same question about Doom; and, interestingly enough, he had the same answer:
"In this movie? No. I try not to read too much. But yeah, no."
Are the Black Panther Doctor Doom Theories Actually Doomed?
Following Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's red carpet premiere, reports claimed that the film had only one post-credits scene which was described as touching and "sweet".
Clearly, Doom wasn't in that particular scene. However, Marvel Studios has been known to tuck in an extra post-credits scene after its Hollywood premiere. But the chances that Doom will be part of that cameo seems less likely given Moore and Coogler's responses.
Not only did both deny him even being considered, but Moore's statement about the focus being on Namor makes sense. Marvel Studios want audiences to leave the film talking about Namor, not Doom.
While it seems that the Doctor Doom theories are quickly sinking in the face of Namor, Ryan Coogler responding to the question with "This movie?" raises a few eyebrows.
Is Doom set to appear in a different MCU film? Is Coogler working on another upcoming MCU film? Is this further evidence of him being in the running to direct Avengers: Secret Wars?
Recent reports suggest that Doom's role in the MCU's Fantastic Four reboot will be minimal and only be introduced in the film's "mid-credit or post-credit scene."
Is that the other movie Coogler was referencing? Or does he have plans of his own for the ruler of Latveria?
While it seems that the question of whether Doom will appear in Black Panther 2 has been answered, the MCU faithful may have more questions than ever about the character's on-screen future and whether Ryan Coogler will play a part.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on Friday, November 11.