Many assumed that Winston Duke, who played M’Baku in Black Panther, would reprise his role in the upcoming sequel, but there has never been any official announcement or confirmation — until now. Speaking to Collider while promoting the indie drama Nine Days, which hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles next week, Duke has finally confirmed the return of M’Baku in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Writer-director Ryan Coogler is currently filming the sequel in Atlanta, and it’s certainly an emotional shoot given the tragic passing of original Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman last August.
“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,” said Duke.
The actor didn’t shed any light on the film’s plot or how the sequel plans to address the absence of T’Challa, but Coogler and Marvel‘s Kevin Feige will surely handle it with great sensitivity, as Boseman was beloved across the globe. Production may be bittersweet, but the way I see it, the film’s cast and crew are honoring Boseman‘s memory by pressing forward with the sequel, especially given how much the first film meant to millions of moviegoers around the world.
Feige had previously indicated that the main cast members from the first film would be back in Wakanda Forever, but he never mentioned anyone by name. Lupita Nyong’o and Martin Freeman confirmed their involvement a while ago, and Angela Bassett told us she’d be back during an interview on behalf of Gunpowder Milkshake. Collider also previously confirmed that Danai Gurira would return as Okoye in both Wakanda Forever and the upcoming Black Panther spinoff series coming to Disney+. That would leave us to speculate that Feige was also referring to the return of Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya and Florence Kasumba.
So are there any new cast additions to the sequel? Yes, but only one that has been publicized thus far. Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta is joining the ensemble — reportedly as Namor the Sub-Mariner — and I expect him to cause some problems for the proud people of Wakanda, even despite their technologically advanced weaponry.
Black Panther grossed $1.3 billion worldwide and was the first superhero film to ever earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The film ended its theatrical run as the 12th-highest-grossing movie of all time, and it didn’t even need an appearance from Robert Downey Jr.‘s Iron Man to do it. Wakanda Forever will hit theaters on July 8, 2022. Bring tissues.