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Top 10 Black Panther Wakanda Forever Rumors Explained

Top 10 Black Panther Wakanda Forever Rumors Explained
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Wakanda forever! For this list, we'll be looking at the most prominent fan theories surrounding this upcoming MCU sequel and breaking them down. Keep in mind that none of these are confirmed as of this writing. If you're not caught up on the MCU, beware of spoilers. Our countdown includes The White Wolf, The MIdnight Angels, Dr. Doom and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Rumors Explained. For this list, we’ll be looking at the most prominent fan theories surrounding this upcoming MCU sequel and breaking them down. Keep in mind that none of these are confirmed as of this writing. If you’re not caught up on the MCU, beware of spoilers. What do you want to see in “Wakanda Forever?” Let us know in the comments below!

#10: The Return of the Heart-Shaped Herb

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Obviously, the biggest question mark surrounding this movie is who will take up the mantle of Black Panther in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. But before we figure out the “who,” we have to figure out the “how.” As you’ll remember, the superhuman abilities imbued in the Black Panther comes from the heart-shaped herb. However, the herb was all but destroyed in the first film when Killmonger had it burned upon ingesting it himself. Now, it’s possible that the remnants of the heart-shaped herb still in T’Challa will be passed along, but that’s dependent on a lot of unknown variables.

#9: Sekhmet

While Shuri is one of the leading candidates for being the Black Panther - a theory we’ll be unpacking later - this one takes a different approach to getting her in the suit. According to Wakanda mythology, the goddess Bast is the one who led the original Black Panther to the heart-shaped herb. However, it’s interesting to note that Bast and the goddess Sekhmet are often paired together. Heck, they even both made their onscreen debuts in the Council of Godheads scene in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Should the heart-shaped herb no longer play a role, fans have theorized that Sekhmet will play a new kind of role in imbuing powers, perhaps taking a cue from “Moon Knight’s” Khonshu.

#8: The White Wolf

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One MCU character with an outside connection to Wakanda is Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier. After the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” Bucky is brought in by the Wakandans who are eventually able to wipe his Hydra brainwashing. While there, he’s also given the alias, “White Wolf.” This has been less of an actual identity thus far, but “Wakanda Forever” could change that. Adopting the comics version of the character could be a way for him to further distance himself from his Winter Soldier days. The events of “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” saw him get on semi-rocky ground with the Dora Milaje, but conceivably, he’d still want to return to Wakanda to attend T’Challa’s funeral.

#7: Shuri Mentoring Ironheart

This one feels like a no-brainer. As young as Shuri still is, the stars seem to be aligning for her to take on a mentor role with Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. Riri is already confirmed to be appearing in the film, as the first trailer shows her hammering out her insignia and being on good terms with Shuri. In the comics, Riri develops an Iron Man-esque suit and comes up under the direct tutelage of Tony Stark. Seeing as Tony’s already passed away in the MCU though, Shuri feels like a natural fit for the position. Her technological genius already rivals Tony’s, and in mourning her brother, she may be surprised to gain a new sister.

#6: The Midnight Angels

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In the trailer, seen is a blue-clad Wakandan warrior, whereas the Dora Milaje wear red. This is Michaela Coel’s Aneka, whose comic counterpart could give us a lot of answers as to what to expect in the film. Though Aneka was once previously a member of the Dora Milaje in the comics, fans have pointed out that her outfit is similar to her subsequent Midnight Angels look. Of course, there’s another Midnight Angel, Ayo, who we’re already familiar with in the MCU. Time will only tell if Ayo will join her vigilante sister in this installment and what role they might play. But it should be noted that comics Aneka has a connection with a major Marvel villain whom we’ll be discussing later on.

#5: Nakia Will Defect From Wakanda

With Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia only appearing in the first “Black Panther” prior to this installment, many fans are still waiting for her to come into her own. While the odds of her becoming Black Panther are slimmer than others, we’re sure that Ryan Coogler and company have something cooked up for her. Seeing as Nakia’s comic counterpart is vastly different - essentially a jilted lover of T’Challa turned villain - there may not seem to be much to draw from. Granted, a full-blown heel turn is unlikely, but some fans have theorized that T’Challa’s passing and subsequent developments in Wakanda may prompt her to leave it behind in search of other ventures. What those ventures may be, no one knows.

#4: Storm

The mutants are coming to the MCU - that much is a fact. But with the untitled movie without a release date, we don’t yet know when or how. That said, 2022 has seen big leaps forward in that regard, with a variant of Professor X appearing in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and the word “mutation” popping up in “Ms. Marvel.” “Wakanda Forever” could take another step forward by introducing us to the MCU’s version of Storm. Not just a random mutant, Storm actually has ties to Wakanda in the comics, even marrying T’Challa at one point. Even with T’Challa gone though, it’s possible that they could squeeze her in somewhere as another backdoor entrypoint to mutants.

#3: Killmonger Is the Black Panther

Now we’re getting to the really juicy fan theories. Of course, Killmonger’s story came to a tragically beautiful conclusion in the first “Black Panther.” But even his death can’t stop fans from hypothesizing his return. As you’ll recall, a dying Killmonger asks T’Challa to bury him in the ocean, a request the latter presumably honors. In the trailer for “Wakanda Forever,” a shipping vessel is shown seemingly bringing something up from the depths. Seeing as Killmonger has a blood claim to the throne and prior Black Panther experience, fans have speculated whether his body is being exhumed and revived for that purpose. Though we do shudder to think what condition his body would be in after so many years.

#2: Dr. Doom

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One of the major villains being thrown around for Phases 5 and 6 is Dr. Doom, but some expect him to show up for this conclusion to Phase 4. With a “Fantastic Four” movie coming in 2024, it feels inevitable that Doom will make his appearance sooner or later. With “Wakanda Forever” set to be a very international MCU movie - especially with Wakanda going up against the underwater civilization of Talocan - throwing in a dash of Latverian menace doesn’t feel outside the realm of possibility. Fans have already guesstimated that an outside force is drawing the Wakandans and Talocans to war, and that force could just have a PhD in evil.

#1: Shuri Is the Black Panther

With apologies to Killmonger, the glimpse of Black Panther we see in the trailer does seem to have a feminine physique. While Nakia and Okoye remain on the table, there’s too much evidence pointing to Shuri for us to bet on anyone else. For starters, Shuri does actually take up the mantle of Black Panther in the comics when T’Challa cannot. Second, it’s already been reported that she’ll have a “larger role” this time out, which almost feels like code for “Black Panther.” Should Shuri step into the shoes of her late brother, we’re sure she’ll honor his memory while also throwing in some technological advancements into the suit, especially if she doesn’t have the same inherent superhuman abilities.