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This Black Panther cast member isn’t returning for Wakanda Forever

Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever is the next upcoming Marvel movie, but it’s slowly starting to seem a bit less marvelous? Slated for a November 11 release this year, the Black Panther sequel was dealt hit after hit, starting with the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular Wakandan king.

Now, we’ve learned that Black Panther co-star Daniel Kaluuya (who played W’Kabi in the first Black Panther film) will not be in the second chapter. Kaluuya, who is starring in Jordan Peele’s Nope (due July 22), was too busy.

News first broke when Rotten Tomatoes’ Jacqueline Coley tweeted (opens in new tab) out “Fresh from my Nope interview with Daniel Kaluuya he did not reprise his role in #BlackPanther2 due to his schedule conflicts,” with the Jordan Peele film. Disney reps then confirmed this to IndieWire (opens in new tab)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been troubled by cast questions

While this casting disparity must have been known well in advance, the Ryan Coogler-directed MCU film has had some casting issues for quite some time. Last year, fan demand for Michael B. Jordan — who played Erik Killmonger, who died at the end of the first film — led to the actor fielding many questions. He ranked the chances of reprising the role as low, stating “I’ll go with a solid 2. I didn’t want to go 0, you know what I mean? Never say never, I can’t predict the future. 2 sounds OK I guess.” 

Then, speaking to MTV (opens in new tab), Jordan almost suggested it had a better chance of happening. “Man, I mean I think it’s a character and a world that I love so much, you know who knows?” Jordan said. “But as we all know, Marvel has their plans and their things. Who knows how things are going to shake out.” Killmonger could return, of course, via the ancestral plane where T’Challa spoke with his deceased father.

Then, fan demand for a new T’Challa, recasting the role, became a whole new debate online. This led MCU producer Nate Moore to tell The Ringer-Verse (opens in new tab) podcast that there will not be a recast T’Challa, stating “I’m being quite honest, you will not see T’Challa in the MCU 616 Universe … We couldn’t do it. I will say when Chad passed, it was a real conversation we had with [director Ryan] Coogler, about ‘What do we do?’ And it was a fast conversation. It wasn’t weeks, it was minutes of ‘We have to figure out how to move this franchise on without that character,’ because I think we all feel so much of T’Challa in the MCU on the screen — not in comics, right — is tied to Chadwick’s performance.”

Lastly, of course, there’s the Letitia Wright situation. The actress, who plays Shuri — who some thought could be the next Black Panther, was injured on set, which led to delays. Then, there were concerns that Wright may not even be in the film, due to a rumor she wasn’t interested in getting the Covid-19 vaccine (opens in new tab). The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) later confirmed that Wright will reprise her role.

Analysis: One thing to look forward to in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

While most of the details of the new movie are kept secret at this time, THR (opens in new tab) reported that we’ll get more of Winston Duke (Us), as M’Baku is going to have “an expanded role.” Duke told Collider (opens in new tab) that “It was very emotional to read the script. It was emotional to pack to go back to set. But we’re all a bit of a family now and we grieve together, and we’re making something really special.”

We got so little of M’Baku in Black Panther that we’re excited to see his return. We expect to hear more about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at Marvel’s Saturday panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

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