Fans will be returning to the world of Wakanda with the upcoming sequel to the box office hit Black Panther and as production gets underway in Atlanta, a new member of the cast has already started to fuel speculation.
According to an exclusive in Variety, actress Michaela Coel has joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in an undisclosed role. With the announcement fueling speculation, I decided to dive into the world of Wakanda and give my take on who Coel could play in the upcoming sequel.
Storm aka Ororo Munroe
I just want to get this out of the way because it is the current go to for anyone speculating on any black female character being cast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coel could absolutely take on the role of the weather controlling mutant hero and would absolutely kill based on her performances in I Might Destroy You and Been So Long, but my biggest apprehension to this choice would be timing and necessity. Mutants have not been introduced into the MCU yet and Feige might be waiting to bring them on in a way that makes sense to their story and with the story of the sequel not focused on T’Challa, why would the production bring on the character he eventually marries?
I could absolutely be wrong about this and the easiest explanation for it could be the eruption of the multiverse that was featured in Loki and will play out in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Coel could absolutely play Ororo from a different Earth that is transported to ours during that time. Something that would definitely solve the mutant question as well.
With most of the original cast returning for the sequel, adding another potential hero could be overkill so what if Michaela Coel were playing one of the villains of the film? In that regard, one of the villains she could be playing is Zenzi. Born in the neighboring country of Nigandan, Zenzi developed the ability to enhance and bring forward people’s emotions. Her ability to manipulate emotions not only saved her life, but helped her become a powerful foe to Black Panther and Wakanda as she sided with rebel forces in the country to overthrow T’Challa and used whole armies to fight under her command.
With the film expanding the world of Wakanda, having the country deal with both internal strife and neighboring threats could be the perfect vehicle for the character to be introduced and Coel to take command of it.
This one is a little tricky because the character’s real persona already exists in the Black Panther film world, but the character herself has an interesting story that could be adapted by keeping the origin but changing the real name. Malice is Nakia, a former member of the Dora Milaje who became obsessed with T’Challa and eventually was removed from her duties. After using a toxic herb to give her powers, Malice would seek revenge on Black Panther.
Changing the character’s name from Nakia and keeping the rest of (or slightly altering) Malice’s back story could add some interesting drama to the film, especially having Michaela Coel going toe to toe with Danai Gurira’s Okoye.
This is another choice that could be interesting in different ways. Marvel has been known to change the gender of certain characters (the Black Widow reveal being one of them) so there’s nothing stopping the studio from making Michaela Coel into one of Black Panther’s most unpredictable and twisted villains. The character is kind of a clean slate for the most part with his origin basically being that he is an unknown farmer whose family is murdered by guerillas and it drives him insane with grief and hatred. After selling his soul to Mephisto (I know. I know.) and destabilizing a neighboring country to Wakanda, Achebe fled to the hidden nation and began a campaign to overthrow it while T’Challa was out of the country.
Achebe could be the perfect foil for the upcoming sequel and I have no doubt that Michaela Coel could play the character perfectly.
This choice is one of my personal favorites because it encompasses so much about Black Panther, Wakanda and the bigger magical/mystical direction the MCU is taking in its latest phase. Bast is the Panther Goddess and one of the oldest members of the Orisha (the pantheon of gods worshipped in Wakanda). She is the deity who created the first Black Panther to protect Wakanda after the discovery of vibranium. She is linked to anyone who takes the heart-shaped herb and judges whether someone is worthy to be the Black Panther.
With the death of Chadwick Boseman, Bast could play a pivotal role in continuing the legacy of the Black Panther through another. Michaela Coel could absolutely play the character with all of her regal flair and it would be an interesting character to bring into the world of Wakanda.
Let me know what you think. These are just a few of the characters Michaela Coel could take on as a member of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever cast. What are your choices? Let me know in the comments below.