By Stephen Ippolito | April 29th, 2020
With a little more than two years to go, one of the biggest questions for the MCU’s Phase 4 is who will T’Challa face off in Black Panther 2. Scheduled to open May 6th, 2022, the sequel to the worldwide phenomenon will see the return of Ryan Coogler as director/writer. During last August’s D23 event, Coogler, as expected, was very tight-lipped on the film and refused to reveal who he’s chosen as the villain.
I’ve identified four candidates for the role and also give my take on the likelihood of him/her being the one to go up against the Black Panther.
One of the fan favorites characters in the first film was M’Baku, who was played by Winston Duke. Leader of the mountain tribe, the Jabari, M’Baku started the film out as a foe to T’Challa. He opposed his ascension to King of Wakanda and fought him in ritual combat only to lose. However, after saving T’Challa’s life after his fight with Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, he would join him in helping take back the throne. In Infinity War and Endgame, M’Baku is seen fighting alongside the Black Panther again.
In the comics, M’Baku’s portray is a little different. Also known as Man-Ape, he’s mainly known as a villain to the Black Panther and not an ally. He also possesses superhuman abilities, such as strength, agility, stamina, and durability. He acquired his powers when he consumed a sacred white gorilla’s fresh and bathed in its white blood.
It’s all but given that Winston Duke will make his return as M’Baku. However, I do not see him being the film’s main villain. I could see him turning on T’Challa and becoming a secondary villain. Perhaps he is influenced or manipulated by another big bad who will come up later in this list. Also, I could see the studio going away from his origin of how he acquired his powers. Instead, maybe he could use some advanced type of armor that makes him become a more evenly matched foe.
Either way, I just can’t see Coogler or the studio, making him the main villain. They should bring in someone off the grid and new to the MCU.