What a time to be alive, ladies and nerds.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has single-handedly sparked waves of dollars to the coffers of Disney, while simultaneously breaking records and creating in-house competition. For all the growing hype pegged to the forthcoming Captain America: Civil War film, it is the debut of one of Stan Lee‘s cherished characters that has us personally geeked.
Yes, kiddies, T’Challa, better known as The Black Panther or comic’s first character of color will be roundhouse kicking audiences (and Bucky, The Winter Soldier) in this summer’s next blockbuster. If that isn’t enough to get excited over, the King of the Dead will also have his own feature-length film in 2018, which marks the first time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a predominately black cast.
Despite all the hoopla (and the reveal of Wakanda’s vibranium mines) — there hasn’t been any information about who will actually star in this glorious sight. On IMDB.com, the only names listed are Andy Serkis, who plays Ulysses Klaue, and Chadwick Boseman, who everyone knows is T’Challa / Black Panther. Without the Marvel Cinematic Universe having to go full origin story, we are not quite sure how the latter character will be introduced and we’re not even going to spoil it by guessing.
We are, however, going to muse about some of the other characters from the popular comic series that we feel would star in The Black Panther when it comes out in 2018. So, without delaying any longer, here are Okayplayer’s ideal cast list that will join T’Challa in defending the homeland of Wakanda in the MCU.
P.S. Huge shout out to Alex Ampadu (@itsPSOnow) for helping me come up with this list!
Don Cheadle as War Machine
Ever since Terrence Howard walked away from that boatload of money, Don Cheadle has stepped in and carried the role through four Marvel Cinematic adventures (yes, this includes Captain America: Civil War). In Avengers 2 (spoiler alert!!!), Rhodey brags about being a soldier of fortune amongst his fellow mighty heroes, signaling that he may be doing some black ops work for the government.
This seemingly small tidbit could develop into a greater concept in either Cheadle finally starring in his own standalone picture or taking the place of Chris Evans‘ shield-carrying member in a storyline for The Black Panther that finds him going toe-to-toe (or getting revenge) with T’Challa.
Keith David as T’Chaka
Armed with extraordinary range and talent, Keith David‘s body of work is something to behold. From his roles in Dead Presidents to Barbershop to working with documentarian Ken Burns — Keith David commands attention anytime he steps in front of the camera and opens his voice. Even though he has not had any screen time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, KD has voiced Nick Fury for The Marvel Experience.
As the chieftain of Wakanda, Keith David’s T’Chaka could make his debut alongside Chadwick Boseman during the events of Captain America: Civil War. Without musing too deeply about his role in the film, Keith David’s distinctive and demonstrative voice could serve as not only that of reason to his son T’Challa (Boseman), but also an emotive presence that resurfaces throughout The Black Panther.
Lupita Nyong’o as Shuri
Oscar award winning performer Lupita Nyong’o is already deeply invested in the Disney Empire. As Maz Kanata, the Kenyan actress showed that she didn’t even need to showcase her stunning features in a galaxy, far, far away. In addition to that, her role as Raksha in Disney’s The Jungle Book finds her able to channel the villainous side in a film, too. For The Black Panther it is a no-brainer that she would play Shuri, an heiress to the throne of Wakanda.
Lupita as Chadwick Boseman’s sister and the only daughter of chieftain T’Chaka would not only empower the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a much needed dosage of feminine heroism, but it would promise that The Black Panther franchise could continue with her as the owner of the title. Comic fans are already familiar with her wishes to become the first woman Black Panther, so give the people what they want and make The Black Panther 4 starring Lupita for 2029.
Tessa Thompson as Monica Lynne
No, no, we’re not trying to typecast the wonderfully talented Tessa Thompson into roles that feature her portraying a singer. We are saying that she would make the best choice to play T’Challa’s love interest Monica Lynne since the cinematic rights to Storm are held by 20th Century Fox. For those unfamiliar with the character, Lynne moved to New York where she met the Black Panther (which could be done as a one-shot after Civil War) and he saved her life from the Sons of the Serpent.
Tessa Thompson captivating good looks, commanding presence and breakout talent are just the tip of the iceberg as to why she should play Monica Lynne. Seeing her as the character possibly as a touring act who has a gig at Wakanda and then watching her get cozy with T’Challa at the royal palace would give black nerds a chance to see themselves as lovers in the characters they have come to revere.
David Oyelowo as W’Kabi
This has been a common choice amongst other publications that have written about this subject. David Oyelowo, an Oscar and Golden Globe nominated actor, has frequently been on the minds and hearts of black nerds who want him to play W’Kabi, the chief of Wakandan security and T’Challa’s second-in-command. As David has become Hollywood’s most sought after actor, his style, aplomb, grace and panache are key attributes that would make him the right choice to play such a celebrated presence.
As W’Kabi, David Oyelowo would not only be the “Protector of the Nation,” he would also be another capable warrior to fight the big baddie alongside Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. Plus in an element of keeping true to the comics, W’Kabi could also show his disdain for the Black Panther’s choice of love by offering trite comments to Tessa Thompson’s Monica Lynne which could be used as humor to balance the “geopolitical” nature of The Black Panther.
Danai Gurira as Nakia of the Dora Milaje
There isn’t anyone quite like Danai Gurira in Hollywood or on Earth for that matter. The 38-year-old star of AMC’s The Walking Dead is quite handy with a sharp weapon and can say a lot without having to say any lines of dialogue. Her emotive presence and fierce combative skills elicit us to say that she would make the perfect Nakia, one-half of the Dora Milage.
Pronounced “dora-meh-LAH-shay,” Gurira would represent the personal bodyguard of the Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic film. A subplot for the 2018 picture could find Nakia quietly vying for the affections of T’Challa, as in the comics where she dreams of earning the King of the Dead’s love. Danai, who by now needs no introduction, has proven her skills with a sword and isn’t afraid to put it down in a fight. We could possibly see the Dora Milaje represented in the upcoming Civil War where they assisted T’Challa at The White House, in a battle against War Machine and while meeting Captain America.
Omar Sy as Zuri
Complications aside, Omar Sy would make a great addition to the film as a fellow warrior and companion to T’Chaka and T’Challa. Like a strong and determined Semi to Chadwick Boseman’s super-powered Prince Akeem, Sy’s character would be another special attendant to accompany him in the 2018 picture.
In a bit of a nod or creating an Easter Egg, you can even have Zuri acknowledge Thor in a later picture since the two were friends. The Chocolat actor might have a contract deal with 20th Century Fox when it comes to Marvel properties, but we’re hoping that it is not ironclad as he would be the perfect warrior presence to have alongside T’Challa during his fight against Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue.
Who would you add/subtract in Marvel’s The Black Panther? Tell us in the comments section below.