Warning: This post contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is officially the final theatrical release in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After one final Disney+ movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, this particular era of the MCU will be wrapped up and our heroes will prepare to face a new Thanos-like threat in the form of Kang the Conquerer.
While Wakanda Forever, which is now streaming on Disney+, spent most of its time honoring the legacy of Chadwick Boseman and telling the story of Wakanda after T’Challa’s death, it did seed a few future storylines for the MCU. It introduced a new Black Panther in Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s little sister. It set up a longer arc for the anti-hero Namor. And hinted at the plots of future projects, including Thunderbolts and Ironheart.
Here’s everything you need to know about the future of the MCU after Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther will return
While there is only one mid-credits scene after Wakanda Forever, in which Shuri (Letitia Wright) meets her late brother’s son, Marvel did include an important message when all the credits finished rolling: “Black Panther will return.”
Marvel has not yet set a date for a third Black Panther movie. But presumably we will see Shuri suit up before then in another Marvel film or television series.
Namor will be back, too
Namor (Tenoch Huerta) escapes Shuri’s clutches unscathed—well, except for the wing on one of his ankles. And while Namor and Shuri strike a deal to keep the peace between his kingdom of Talocan and her kingdom of Wakanda, Namor isn’t done plotting. At the end of the film, Namor tells one of his allies that forging an alliance with Wakanda will ultimately benefit his underwater realm. He points out that Shuri is isolated and Wakanda has no allies on the surface world. We already saw at the beginning of the movie that the U.S. and France, among other countries, covet Wakanda’s Vibranium.
When inevitably Wakanda is attacked, Shuri will turn to Namor for help. Namor argues that together Wakanda and Talocan could defeat the surface world and accomplish his goals of subduing those who might threaten his land.
Namor will likely function as an anti-hero character in an increasingly morally blurry MCU. While he certainly has a reason to defend his homeland, he also killed Shuri’s mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and seemed to delight in doing so. In the comics, he’s equally as complex and often finds himself, in turns, allied with or fighting against the traditional do-gooder teams like the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. He has frequently butted heads with the villainous Doctor Doom, who is expected to play a major role in the future of the MCU.
Riri Williams will star in Ironheart
Wakanda Forever introduced the cinematic world to Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a prodigy from Chicago who built her own Iron Man suit during her time studying at M.I.T.
Riri is getting her own show on Disney+ called Ironheart about her adventures in the suit. Riri made her Marvel Comics debut in 2016: With Iron Man in a coma, she steps in to defend the world using the suit she built in her dorm room.
Ironheart has, at times, been part of the Young Avengers team. A much-anticipated (but yet to be announced) Young Avengers project could include her, alongside Ms. Marvel, Wanda Maximoff’s twins Speed and Wiccan, and America Chavez from Doctor Strange, among others.
T’Challa’s son will probably have a role to play
In the end-credits scene for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) introduces Shuri to T’Challa’s son, also named T’Challa. Nakia tells Shuri that she and T’Challa Sr. agreed that he should grow up in secret away from Wakanda and the pressures of being a prince. So Nakia left for Haiti and raised him there instead.
Presumably screenwriters Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole introduced little T’Challa for a reason. Will some bad guy try to expose his identity, threatening the future of Wakanda. Will he return to his homeland and begin to learn how to rule the country? We will have to wait and see.
Read More: Entertainer of the Year: Ryan Coogler
Wakanda Forever sets up The Thunderbolts
A Thunderbolts movie is on its way to the big screen in 2024, and the anti-hero team will likely be lead by Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Val, as she’s better known, has appeared in various Marvel shows and films as a shady figure building a super-team of morally dubious characters. In Wakanda Forever, we learn that Val has been named director of the C.I.A. and her Thunderbolts team will likely be some sort of U.S.-sanctioned force. The members of that team will include Florence Pugh’s Yelena from Black Widow and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier from Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Disney is working on shows for Okoye and Wakanda at large
Ryan Coogler announced shortly after the launch of Disney’s streaming service Disney+ that he intended to produce a series on Wakanda that would explore more corners of the technologically-advanced African nation and follow several different characters. The Hollywood Reporter has since broken the news that Danai Gurira will star in a show about her character Okoye’s origin story on the streamer. It’s unclear if these two projects are the same but expect to explore Wakanda on the small screen soon.
Everything else that’s coming
If you want to dive deep into the future of the MCU, here is a list of all their upcoming projects. But here’s a quick summary:
Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special (Nov. 25, 2022 on Disney+)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Feb. 17, 2023 in theaters)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023 in theaters)
Secret Invasion (Spring 2023 on Disney+)
The Marvels (July 28, 2023 in theaters)
Echo (Summer 2023 on Disney+)
Loki, Season 2 (Summer 2023 on Disney+)
Ironheart (Fall 2023 on Disney+)
Agatha: Coven of Chaos (Winter 2023 on Disney+)
Daredevil: Born Again (2024 on Disney+)
Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024 in theaters)
Thunderbolts (July 26, 2024 in theaters)
Blade (Sept. 6, 2024 in theaters)
Deadpool 3 (Nov. 8, 2024 in theaters)
Fantastic Four (Feb. 14, 2025 in theaters)
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (May 2, 2025 in theaters)
Avengers: Secret Wars (May 1, 2026 in theaters)
Armor Wars (TBA in theaters)
A Wakanda Show (TBA on Disney+)
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