It seems our prognostication about Deadpool 3 replacing Black Panther 2 was premature.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is set to being production in July of 2021 with Tenoch Huerta in talks to play the primary antagonist. The news is definitely a shock for those who assumed the film would be delayed by years following the sudden and tragic death of Chadwick Boseman. The film was originally set to go into production in March of next year, but the loss of its star and the emotional toll on director Ryan Coogler was something we thought might take longer to process.
Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett are all presumably set to return with THR suggesting Wright will have a more prominent role. This makes sense as Shuri has become Black Panther herself in the comics and may end up taking T’Challa’s place in the film series. While it has been a little too ghoulish to speculate on what the sequel would become following Boseman’s passing, handing the series the Shuri seems like the best way to honor his memory. It also repositions the whole endeavor with an added female dynamic and an already proven scene-stealer in Wright’s Shuri.
In fact, now that we think about it, the internal and external conflicts she could face as Queen of Wakanda are quite interesting. What happens when all she wants to do is create new technology, but the affairs of state require her attention? Then there’s the problem of Black Panther itself. All of the flowers giving the Black Panther power are gone. Will she use technology to simulate those gifts or, somehow, engineer a version of the lost botanical?
One wonders if the film will end up being called “The Next Black Panther”
You also have to wonder who Huerta will play. Since the film was announced for the Phase 5 slate, many have said T’Challa would face-off against Namor. It is possible Huerta could play the part — in fact, we’d love to see Atlantis re-envisioned as a domain of Latinx people — but it is also possible the actor will play an agitator using Shuri’s unsure rein as a chance to get at some of that precious vibranium.
Though Black Panther 2 is currently set for release on March 6th, 2022, the planned six-month production may lead to the film moving later into Phase 5.