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The MCU's Next Black Panther

black panther mcu



BY MATT TUCK

Wakanda Forever and a Wakanda spin off on Disney+ are on the slate, but there’s still no word on who will wear the Black Panther suit. While Shuri is the favorite, there are other possibilities.

WAKANDA FOREVER

There is so much we don’t know about the Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever

After the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios announced that T’Challa will not be recast. What that means for the franchise is anyone’s guess. Last year, the buzz was that Shuri would follow her comic roots and take up the throne as Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda. While that theory has merit, Marvel has remained quiet on the topic.

It leaves things open for multiple theories. Will Marvel find a way to write Killmonger back into the script? Actor Michael B. Jordan has publicly stated that he would be open to a return despite his character having died in the first film. Will Shuri become the new Black Panther? Marvel has been looking for more starring roles for female and minority superheroes, and Shuri would fit that bill. 

Could fan favorite Dora Milaje Okoye become Black Panther while Shuri rules Wakanda? With Okoye’s rumored Disney+ series on the horizon, the show could become her Sam Wilson/Captain America transition moment. 

Another pair of possibilities could be the emergence of the original White Wolf or even White Tiger, either of which would put a huge twist on the character.

WHITE WOLF OR WHITE TIGER?

In the MCU, the White Wolf is the Wakandan nickname given to the Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes. The comics, however, told a much different story.

Hunter was a child when his father’s plane crashed over Wakanda. The boy was the only survivor, and King T’Chaka adopted Hunter and raised him as a son. Once T’Challa was born, Hunter became jealous of the Wakandan prince. Instead of attempting regicide, the White Wolf becomes even more devoted to Wakanda and rises through the ranks of the king’s secret police, the Hatut Zeraze. Once T’Challa’s rule began, he disbanded the Hatut Zeraze, and Hunter became a mercenary who clashed with Black Panther and Wakanda. 

In the comics, Hunter would eventually try to take the title of Black Panther from T’Challa, but that has already been done with Killmonger in place of Hunter. However, the original White Wolf could appear in Wakanda Forever or perhaps in the Okoye Disney+ series to challenge for the mantle. 

Considering how much the Black Panther character has meant to people around the world, it is hard to believe that Hunter would become the new Black Panther. However, there is a forgotten character who could better fit the bill, White Tiger.

WHO IS WHITE TIGER?

Kevin “Kasper” Cole is a New York City policeman who impersonated Black Panther to fight crime. Cole was a narcotics officer who was suspended from the NYPD. In order to gather evidence against a crime boss, he pretended to be Black Panther. After a brief story arc, he would encounter T’Challa, Hunter, and even Erik Killmonger, who introduced him to the herbs that grant Black Panther powers. Taking a synthetic version of the herbs, Kasper would use the enhanced abilities to become White Tiger.

THE KEY ISSUES

BLACK PANTHER #1 (1998)

Since the original Black Panther movie broke box office records around the world, Okoye has been one of the most popular figures to emerge from Wakanda. After the Dora Milaje appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, MCU fans can’t get enough of the elite Wakandan task force. That is why it would be fitting for the most popular of the group, Okoye, to ascend to Black Panther when her Disney+ show reaches its finale.

With all the attention on Okoye, it has caused prices for ‘98’s BP #1 to more than quadruple in two years. Back in 2019, a 9.8 of the standard cover averaged $103. In May, coinciding with FATWS, one copy jumped to a ridiculous $475.

BLACK PANTHER #2 VARIANT COVER (1998)

Speaking of Okoye, it would be wise to aim for her first cover appearance, which happened to be on this variant for BP #2. A couple years ago, you could have owned a 9.8 for only $43. In June, one sold for $350.

BLACK PANTHER #4 (1999)

Hunter, the White Wolf, made his debut in 1999’s Black Panther #4. With the possibilities of Marvel exploring more of Wakanda, it raises the odds that he could make his way onto the screen. That will make this issue a nice addition to your collections. 

At the conclusion of Black Panther, T’Challa christened Bucky Barnes as the White Wolf. Adding Hunter to the mix could create a rivalry between the two versions of the White Wolf. It also would add even more value to BP #4, which saw a 9.8 peak at $188 on April 25 after Bucky was called White Wolf on FATWS

BLACK PANTHER #50

Kasper’s first appearance in BP #50 went from nothing to something overnight earlier this year. It sat on the shelf for 19 years without any graded sales on record. Then in February, the first 9.8 traded hands for $320. A month later, another sold for $385. The roof came off at the end of April when one earned an unbelievable $800. There have not been any sales since then, so we will have to wait and see if that is an outlier or the new standard for this particular book.

THE NEXT BLACK PANTHER

Although Marvel is reluctant to recast T’Challa, it is hard to imagine there not being a Black Panther in the MCU. Whether or not we will see a new Panther in Wakanda Forever or the mysterious Disney+ project. Who will get tapped to carry on the legacy? Only Kevin Feige knows for sure.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.



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