Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only paid tribute to the MCU's past after Chadwick Boseman's death, but it also set the stage for nearly a dozen future Marvel Studios projects in theaters and on Disney+.
Upon its arrival in theaters, Black Panther 2 became an instant hit, earning impressive reviews from critics while also performing fairly well at the global box office. That's on top of bringing one of the most emotional and heartfelt stories that fans have seen since Phase 4 started, furthering the Black Panther legacy while setting up new heroes to further their own stories in future MCU outings.
As has been the case with nearly every other MCU entry, Black Panther 2 laid out the path to a vast number of other Disney+ shows and movies, some of which won't come for another few years. And fans already have some natural ideas thanks to important supporting characters that played starring roles in the MCU's fifth sequel of Phase 4.
The Direct now looks at 10 upcoming MCU projects that are most likely to be impacted by the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In the final moments of Black Panther 2, Okoye broke Agent Everett Ross out of the CIA's custody, setting the stage for his appearance in Secret Invasion. While it's unclear how big his role is alongside major players like Nick Fury and Talos, he'll be an important piece to watch out for as the Skrulls look to take over Earth.
In the first full trailer for the series, Ross is seen only for a moment hiding behind a wall following his escape from his ex-wife Val and the CIA after they arrested him in Black Panther 2. His knowledge of the organization's inner workings and his own skills will surely come in handy helping Fury and Talos work through their scariest obstacle yet, although fans are already arguing the chances that he could end up being revealed as a Skrull himself.
Secret Invasion will debut on Disney+ in Spring 2023.
What If...? Season 2
Chadwick Boseman's final MCU performance came via a voiceover role as King T'Challa in four episodes of What If...? Season 1. And although nothing has been made public from Season 2, the Black Panther is confirmed to return in the show's next set of episodes in 2023.
Footage shown from Marvel Studios Animation at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 only showed a quick second of T'Challa amongst other footage featuring both Hela (Thor: Ragnarok) and Ego (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). But after seeing the Black Panther fight off zombies and become Star-Lord, anticipation is building to see what kind of alternate-dimension shenanigans he'll encounter next.
What If...? Season 2 will begin streaming on Disney+ in early 2023.
Following Dominique Thorne's MCU debut as Riri Williams/Ironheart, the franchise's newest young hero now has an exciting path forward into her own superhero journey. After being taken from MIT, kidnapped by the Talokanil, and saved by Ramonda, she showed her genius by developing a Wakanda-tech battle suit before heading back to Boston to continue her schooling and her skills as a scientist.
Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler revealed that Ironheart will be a direct sequel to Riri's story in her first movie, indicating that her time in Wakanda will influence her journey as she continues evolving as Ironheart. And with Coogler serving as an executive producer on this new series as well, the two will be intricately tied together as Thorne builds Riri Williams' MCU legacy.
Ironheart will debut on Disney+ in Fall 2023.
Marvel Studios' Thunderbolts may have been set up more in Black Panther 2 than in any previous entry to date due to Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Val getting her biggest role in the MCU yet. Not only was she revealed to be the director of the CIA and the ex-wife of Agent Everett Ross, but she also revealed one of her biggest goals - obtaining Vibranium from Wakanda.
After breaking into Ross' house, Director Di Fontaine had her ex-husband arrested while she told him about her dreams about having access to as much Vibranium as possible for her own nefarious purposes. This could lead to her giving the green light for a mission to infiltrate Wakanda for the country's resources, although that could be just the start of what she does with such a powerful team of anti-heroes and villains.
Thunderbolts will debut in theaters on July 26, 2024.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
At the moment, there are no set plot details for the fifth Avengers movie, but it will feature Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror as its main villain. And with the Avengers surely needing as many heroes as possible to take down their next supervillain, the Black Panther will surely be on the list of likely heroes after T'Challa fought Thanos in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
This time, Shuri will likely become a new member of the new Avengers, which will also feature heroes like Shang-Chi, Captain Marvel, and the Hulk as the group has to convene for the first time since 2019. How big a role she plays is still unknown with at least a dozen projects set to arrive before this movie, but she'll be a powerful ally in any capacity.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will debut in theaters on May 2, 2025.
Avengers: Secret Wars
The sixth Avengers movie will likely bring together countless Variants of different heroes from across the Multiverse to fight Kang and Doctor Doom, with rumors even indicating that past Marvel franchises from outside the MCU will be included as well. For a battle that big, it would be a shock if the Black Panther was somehow excluded from the gathering of the MCU's biggest names alongside all of Marvel's extensive history.
This movie would likely bring another version of the young hero Toussaint into play with a Variant Black Panther, although Shuri could certainly be involved herself as the Black Panther from Earth-616. But considering the dozens of other heroes that could be involved, both Panthers could only be small parts of what should be the biggest MCU movie ever made.
Avengers: Secret Wars will debut on May 1, 2026.
Black Panther 3
The simplest choice for the Black Panther's comeback would almost certainly be the eventual Black Panther 3, which many are hoping for after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever got off to such a hot start in theaters. And now, with both a new Black Panther in Shuri and the young T'Challa on his own path to being royalty, it seems only natural that this duo of movies will become a trilogy.
A couple of weeks before Black Panther 2 arrived, Marvel Studios vice president Nate Moore shared that ideas are already in place for Black Panther 3, although there are no confirmed plans for its development yet. And while Phase 5 and Phase 6 are already jam-packed with entries until 2025 and 2026, the Black Panther franchise seems quite likely to get its next entry before too long.
Namor Solo Project
Black Panther 2 gave MCU fans their first taste of Tenoch Huerta's Namor the Sub-Mariner, who was the primary antagonist of the movie from start to finish. But after he yielded the battle to Shuri in the final moments, his Talocan and her Wakanda now have an understood alliance, and many are looking forward to more of Namor, ideally in his own solo project.
When asked about the prospects of a Namor solo movie, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige admitted that he and Marvel would have to wait to see how fans reacted to Huerta's debut performance in the MCU. Now, after widespread praise from across the fandom, the demand for a Namor movie or Disney+ show should skyrocket over the coming weeks and months.
Wakanda Disney+ Series
Over the past couple of years, reports have detailed plans for Marvel Studios to develop a series featuring the wide world of Wakanda for the MCU. The series is being developed under a production LLC company called "Maglev Train Productions," but for now, there is little public information known about its story or development.
Black Panther franchise director Ryan Coogler is said to be a producer on this series, bringing his expertise from the movies to the Disney+ sphere and ensuring that the hidden African nation will be developed to the best of Marvel's abilities. He'll use the expertise he showcased on Black Panther 2 to dive even deeper into Wakanda's inner workings, although it will likely be a long time until more progress is made in its production process.
In Spring 2021, reports revealed that Marvel has multiple Wakanda-centric series in the works, including one starring Danai Gurira's former Dora Milaje General Okoye. While she's also set to star in other series featuring the world of the Black Panther, this one will be all Okoye all the time, with Black Panther 2 having set up an exciting new path for her.
Although she was relieved of her duties with the Dora Milaje, Okoye now boasts her comic-inspired Midnight Angel costume as she looks to impact the world as her own new hero. She's already busted Everett Ross out of CIA custody, and she now has a chance to go on more thrilling journeys as a solo hero with a new suit and new skills all at the same time.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.