Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a billion dollar superhero franchise, so Miles Marshall Lewis decided to pitch some ideas for the film’s inevitable sequel.
Almost three weeks into Black Panther’s reign atop the box office has placed the Marvel superhero film into rarefied air. Ranking in the top 10 for highest grossing movie in the U.S., Black Panther has demolished records, changed perceptions in Hollywood and showcased that diversity and inclusion are worth big bucks.
All that aside, Marvel has a healthy slate of films coming up, as the next film up will also feature characters from Black Panther (Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and T’Challa) in Avengers: Infinity War, which drops next month April 27. Attention is squarely on Black Panther though, and with that said, the anticipation for a follow-up is as strong as Wakandan vibranium.
Miles Marshall Lewis, an avid comic book lover and one helluva writer, shared with @Okayplayer a few ideas that definitely need to happen for Black Panther 2. Personally, I would say that Ryan Coogler needs to come back to direct. His style is unmatched and his storytelling is unparalleled in that lane. Shuri (Letitia Wright) needs a much bigger role than just being the Q to T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) James Bond.
The second film also needs to focus on a villain who not only threatens the film’s plot, but also provides serious odds against our protagonist, Black Panther. Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) was one of the MCU’s best villains yet, but more can be done to test the limits of the Wakanda royal court and its chief monarch, T’Challa. Naturally, there are some unique stories to pull from that can connect the first film to this inevitable sequel, and as you’ll read below, Miles Marshall Lewis has some good ones that we believe Marvel should use for Black Panther 2. — @KevitoClark
Everett K. Ross Brings COINTELPRO To Wakanda
“Don’t scare me like that, colonizer!” Shuri’s one-liner after healing CIA agent Everett Ross from a spinal gunshot wound goes down as one of the most quotable line of the entire movie, right next to [Erik] Killmonger’s “Hey Auntie!” But what could really be scary about Ross for Black Panther 2? He does, after all, pledge allegiance to the U.S. government. Doubling down on all the double entendre plot points in Black Panther, what if America charges Ross with setting up some kind of COINTELPRO situation within Wakanda in order to steal the nation’s precious Vibranium? Stranger things have happened for real, with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover sowing dissent in the Black Panther Party and the civil rights movement back in the 1960s. We’d still need a big bad villain behind him for all the pyrotechnics, chase scenes and fisticuffs. But what if Agent Ross is a mole?
Killmonger Returns As An Undeniable Force
Unlike its comic book source material every other story arc, the MCU has yet to resurrect anybody—well, except for Bucky… err, Winter Soldier… that is, the White Wolf. But the whole #TeamKillmonger debate has got to be raising eyebrows over at Marvel. What if the prodigal son of Wakanda gets brought back to life? This revoltin’ development could go one of two ways: either Erik does truly reform and resumes his role as a Stokely Carmichael to Black Panther’s MLK Jr. and carries out his own vigilante-style mission to fight for the world’s oppressed peoples of color or, after some subterfuge, he goes right back to his original mission to rule Wakanda. Like the Agent Ross scenario, Black Panther 2 would still need some fresh-blood menace at the center of things to prevent the film from being a remix of the original. But how long does anyone really expect the charismatic Killmonger to stay dead?
Storm Takes Her Rightful Place Next To Her King
The Disney-Fox buyout is pretty much a done deal, causing fans the world over to speculate about the wide-ranging possibilities of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men (and, OK, Deadpool) entering the MCU proper. But when The Hollywood Reporter confirmed a Kitty Pryde standalone film in the works weeks back, Black Twitter clapped back right away with “Where’s STORM?!” How geeked (pun intended) would we all be if Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa crossed paths with the greatest African super-heroine of all time for Black Panther 2? The actress (DeWanda Wise? Nicole Beharie?) would need that perfect combo of regality, sensuality and badassery to satisfy everybody in all the ways Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp largely haven’t. And again—there’s a pattern here—still no knock-down, drag-out villain. Maybe mutant-hunting Sentinel robots invade Wakanda? But a romantic triangle of Black Panther, Storm and Nakia forming while on a mission traipsing through Wakanda and Ororo’s native Cairo would be minting money.
The Ku Klux Klan Vs. The Black Panther
As we’re all sadly aware, going back to D.W. Griffith’s 1915 The Birth of a Nation isn’t necessary to dredge up the Ku Klux Klan—just see the neo-Nazi marchers at last year’s Charlottesville rally defended by the President of these United States. Word is that when the powers that be at Marvel asked writer Don McGregor to include more white people in his 1970s Jungle Action series, his very next issue included the KKK as the Black Panther’s bad guys. Adapting the spirit of that groundbreaking storyline, Black Panther 2 could pit our hero against the alt-right in an allegorical battle against the 21st century racism of this current Trump moment. The MCU approached political commentary before with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Maybe Black Panther 2 gives audiences an actual alt-right supervillain for T’Challa to punch in the face. Maybe the Hate-Monger? Or some ’60s-era flashbacks of T’Chaka battling the actual Klan on a visit down south?
T’Challa Joins The Ultimates For A Space Adventure
Crossovers are all the rage in phase three of the MCU: Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming; Doctor Strange and the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok; the entire Marvel universe in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. With Captain Marvel on the horizon for March 2019, what if Black Panther 2 puts the “futurism” in Afrofuturism all the way and takes T’Challa to the stars? Wakandan tech is already super-scientific. A racially diverse Marvel series called The Ultimates teams Captain Marvel and the Black Panther with lesser-known heroes who’d have to be introduced to the MCU: Blue Marvel, Spectrum (both African American) and Miss America (a queer Latina). The team could be a one-off for Black Panther 2, returning our hero to the Motherland for the trilogy finale. Throw in a Guardians of the Galaxy cameo for good measure. The villain? Any given aliens—the Shi’ar? The Kree? The Skrulls? But based on the intergalactic threat of Thanos coming in May, Black Panther can handle anything.
Raising Hell Up In Wakanda
Ta-Nehisi Coates came to write the Black Panther comic series some years ago, invited by Marvel after the runaway success of his 2015 book Between the World and Me. With his first screenwriting credit is on its way: a project with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan entitled Wrong Answer — we suppose Marvel adapts his comic-book storylines for Black Panther 2? In the collected Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, a superhuman terrorist organization called The People causes a vicious uprising in Wakanda, causing some necessary upheaval to the patrilineal nation’s government and traditional way of life. Because of growing corruption in Wakanda, one of the Dora Milajé is sentenced to death for essentially doing the right thing. No more spoilers, but if Coates is about to take Hollywood by storm, what could be better than Black Panther 2?
Slaying The Black Panther
Wakanda has its fair share of enemies inland, which we have seen from W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), M’Baku (Winston Duke, and only for a brief moment) and Erik Killmonger. But that isn’t all and since the other entries in this post have been devoid of that main, arch-nemesis to stand as a foe against our African superhero, this idea would bring a noteworthy character back from the grave, while establishing another memorable female villain not named Hera.
Here’s the gist: With Killmonger dead, all seems safe in Wakanda, but that is not to be true as it is revealed that the woman (:: spoiler ::) who commits these crimes with Erik in the first Black Panther movie, survived and is also Wakandan. Who, pretell, is she? Madam Slay, a supervillain who fights in honor of her late love, Erik Killmonger, and frequent opponent of the Black Panther. Upon discovering her heart’s murder at the hands of the Wakandan king, she devises a plan to have foreign invaders (see: The Avengers) take the rap for assassinating T’Challa, causing inner turmoil and strife amongst the royal court.
With such hype for the first movie still in demand, seeing a badass female villain hand T’Challa the business could make the sequel boon in comparison.
Using Wakandan Religion To Cause A Kingdom To Crumble
Riffing on the idea used earlier where Everett K. Ross uses COINTELPRO to sow dissent in Wakanda, this sequel idea finds the kingdom’s enemies coming from within to break the king and anyone associated with him down into dust. Remixing a storyline from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run, the events of Avengers: Infinity War have caused the nation to be concerned that the Black Panther is not enough to handle outside threats.
Sensing this vulnerability in the royal court, the criminally insane Achebe uses his rogue ties with American operatives and the U.S. intelligence community to create political discord. In the mix of this confusion and calamity, Achebe partners with the leader of the Nigandan army, Zenzi, to overthrow the rulership in Wakanda. Zenzi, a powerful Wakandan mutant, is able to influence the emotions of people and turn them into willing participants of anything dastardly thing she wants.
Together, these two would make a formidable opponent against the Black Panther, who would need everything in his toolbox to save the day, his people and his reign as king.
Send In Moses To Part The Wakandan Kingdom
A very well known villain in the comics, Moses Magnum faced off with numerous Marvel superheroes as his time as a internationally known terrorist. Born in Ethiopia, Mose was always raised to feel superior over other Africans. So, at the end of the first Black Panther, when it is revealed that Wakanda is actually a Vibranium-rich, technologically advanced African nation, his only intentions are to prove that he and his ilk are better by destroying Wakanda and the Black Panther. To do so, there must be subterfuge and Magnum is good at such deviousness. In an attempt to steal classified military and political documents from Wakanda, Mose Magnum sends his agents into the country, but is foiled by Shuri and the Dora Milajé. Faced with an extreme dilemma, Mose Magnum creates a device called the Terrordome to exterminate Africans and African-Americans around the globe, unless the Black Panther can save the day.
Incorporate The World Of Reginald Hudlin In ‘Black Panther 2’
There aren’t many black faces behind the scenes of the comic-book industry. A cynic would say that if you’re black, you’ve got to be a MacArthur grant genius or a Hollywood screenwriter to get the same chance as a “colonizer” with less than half the résumé. That said, director Reginald Hudlin (Marshall, Boomerang) took over duties on Black Panther in 2006, marrying T’Challa to the X-Men’s African goddess Storm, and in a 2009 relaunch, tech-wiz little sister Shuri becomes the Black Panther of Wakanda. Vampires in the Louisiana bayou become the bad guys at some point, as do the alien race of shape-shifting Skrulls (who belong more to the Fantastic Four family, but Disney and Fox are all fam now, right?). A mashup of Hudlin elements for the next installment could make for a worthy sequel.