The Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con was another to remember. From the moment Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took the stage, there was one bombshell announcement after another. It was a tough act to follow, but Marvel may have surpassed itself with one of the best MCU trailers to date, with the first teaser for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
While fans knew that Marvel would not remake Chadwick Boseman as T'Challaand that Namor the Sub-Mariner would be involved, this MCU production was kept under wraps in ways that few films are nowadays. And thus, when the trailer for Black Panther 2 finally appeared on the Hall H screen, it was truly the MCU's first look at what this sequel would be like.
This first look acknowledges T'Challa's passing and thatWakanda is in conflict with Namor and his watery kingdom. But before the Wakanda Forever title card graces the screen, viewers get a quick glimpse of someone dressed in Black Panther pants.
So, who is in the race? Who will take over the mantle of Black Panther in the future? Candidates include Shuri, Okoye, and even Nakia. There's also speculation that another member of the original cast might take the title. Here's how it might be arranged.
Erik Killmonger, who is he?
Erik Killmonger of Michael B. Jordan played T'Challa's cousin in 2018's Black Panther, and he served as Wakanda's king for a short period.
Killmonger pledged revenge and would utilize the secret nation's Vibranium technology to arm all African descendants who he believed Wakanda had also left abandoned.
After attempting to thrash T'Challa in ritual combat, he assumed the throne and received the powers of the Black Panther after drinking the heart-shaped herb. However, T'Challa returned and won the throne.
Despite Killmonger's brutality, his story influenced T'Challa and helped him convince him to open Wakanda to the world. This fact, combined with Michael B. Jordan's performance, is why many MCU fans consider Killmonger to be one of the best on-screen Marvel villains to date.
What happened to Erik Killmonger?
Killmonger passed away at the end of Black Panther, but where he is both physically and spiritually may be the key to his recovery.
InCaptain America: Civil War, T'Challa referred to death as a "jumping off point" and where "when you reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into the green veldt, where you can run forever."
The first teaser for Wakanda Forever may provide an insight into a Wakandan funeral and burial, as demonstrated by the statues of Bast and Sekhmet. However, whether the Green Veldtis is the same as the Ancestral Plane remains to be seen.
According to Wakandan custom, kings have the right to be the Black Panther; and after consuming the heart-shaped herb, they are buried in sand before awakening amongst kings of the past.
Killmonger had a slightly different experience while T'Challa experienced this and spoke with his father.After drinking the herb and being buried in the sand, Killmonger woke up in a representation of theOakland house where his father was killed,but with the faint purple-hued light of the Ancestral Plane or afterlife outside the window.
"I should've taken you back long ago, but instead, we are both abandoned here," says Killmonger's father N'Jobu.
Killmonger replies, "Even if your house is the one that's gone. That's why they can't find us."
This exchange indicates that Killmonger and his father aren't at the location where T'Challa converses with his father and sees the past Wakandan king.
Instead, they are "abandoned" and cannot be found in a corner of the afterlife or a sort of limbo, similar to what Marc Spector experienced in Moon Knight while on his journey to the Field of Reeds.
Killmonger's Potential Return
If Killmonger's afterlife is in jeopardy, like Marc Spector, there may be a way to bring him back, especially since he was in possession of the heart-shaped herb.With the help ofKhonshu, perhaps he may be able to do the same thing.
Another possibility has to do with the way Killmonger was put to rest.
Burial is important not only in the way Black Panthers reach the Ancestral Plane, but it also appears to be important to all Wakandans.
T'Challa laments the fact that he was not given a proper burial when he tells Nakia about his father killing his brother. Shuri echoes this sentiment when she believes T'Challa died in ritual combat and can't bury him.
Killmonger is denied a proper burial, despite T'Challa's efforts to protect his cousin, like his father. Instead, he tells T'Challa: "Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from the ships, because they believed death was better than bondage."
Namor the Sub-Mariner is expected to pose a threat to Wakanda in Black Panther 2. However, instead of Namor ruling Atlantis, as he does in the comics, the Sub-Mariner will rule the Aztec paradise of Talocan, named after those who died a water-related death.
The fact that a Black Panther was buried in the ocean might tie into Namor's role in the sequel, even though Killmonger didn't drown. Plus, ships appeared to be looking for something (or someone?) in the ocean.
Killmonger wears a black Panther suit with a jaguar-inspired design in the 2018 film. Interestingly enough, Black Panther 2 crew gifts featured the Aztec god of darkened caves, earthquakes, and jaguars.
Erik Killmonger may return to the Ancestral Plane in another fashion.
Perhaps Shuri or anyone who takes on the role of the next Black Panther will travel to the unliving realm to seek guidance. As Killmonger is in the royal family's bloodlines and has drank a healthy portion of the Heart-Shaped Herb, there's a very good possibility that he will survive the remainder of his days as a human.
Killmonger may have had a heartache since his arrival in the afterlife, offering advice to the next Black Panther on how to fulfill their role. Alternatively, Michael B. Jordan's character might serve as a devil's advocate, countering other wiser beings in the Ancestral Plane, like T'Chaka.
Hints at a Killmonger Resurrection
It's worth noting that the Wakanda Forever outfit has the same gold detailing as Killmonger's from the 2018 film, complete with his gold panther claws.
Kendrick Lamar's "Everything Gonna Be Alright" sings to the line"Uh, and when I wake up," but is this a hint for a Killmongerresurrection?
Killmonger's ReturnServices Make Wakanda Forever
T'Challa didn't appear as a teenager in Black Panther, but the film was still a coming-of-age story.
T'Challa, as both king and black Panther, had to accept the fact that his own hero, his father, made mistakes; and in retaliating for the mistakes of the past, he became a leader and his own man.
What better way to pay homage to what made T'Challa who he was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than having Killmonger, the driving force for T'Challa's advancement, come to the same agreement and continue his cousin's quest in correcting the mistakes of the past?
Also, who better to confront Namor and eventually broker peace if he is prepared to attack Wakanda because he and his people have been wronged?
There is also the fact that there will no longer be heart-shaped herbs, implying that there will no longer be any more Black Panthers, although a LEGO set suggests Shuri might take on the mantle.
Shuri would presumably resemble a Black Panther from a narrative standpoint; but given her abilities - and the absence of the herb - it makes much more sense for her to be different from her brother's and possibly of Killmonger's.
HerBlack Pather may be more dependent on her technology suit and gadgets than on her spirituality and tradition as a result of her intelligence and leadership in the Wakandan Design Group. However, that doesn't mean there isn't room for another, and that this is not necessarily the path Shuri will continue to take.
Although the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still relatively new, it is Marvel Studios' next major film. Therefore, further information and even footage are expected during Marvel Studios' D23 panel on September 10.
It'll be interesting to see if Marvel continues to tease the new panther or if this is the only hint users get ahead of the sequel's release on November 11th.