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Black Panther died before Wakanda Forever – now, we know exactly when

Updated Oct 26th, 2022 3:39PM EDT
A poster showing King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) during the funeral.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released in less than a month, which means Marvel will only intensify its marketing campaign for the movie. Like many MCU properties, the Black Panther 2 sequel sells itself. Maybe even more so, given Chadwick Boseman’s untimely passing a few years ago. Wakanda Forever won’t just honor Boseman’s legacy in the role of King T’Challa/Black Panther. It’ll also introduce us to the MCU’s new Black Panther

We know from Kevin Feige that Marvel thought it was too soon to recast T’Challa. And we know from the most recent trailer that the next Black Panther will be a woman.

While we wait for the big reveals, we have one more important detail about the Wakanda Forever plot. We know exactly when Black Panther died before the action in Wakanda Forever.

Mind you, spoilers will follow below.

How did Black Panther die?

One of the big Wakanda Forever mysteries concerns Black Panther’s death. Marvel didn’t add Boseman digitally to the Wakanda Forever production, so a heroic death in combat is out of the question. Not to mention that we saw that happen already. Wakanda and the entire planet lost T’Challa once already in Infinity War

Incidentally, the five-year gap between Infinity War and Endgame allowed the Wakandan people to figure out a way to move forward without their King. That might imply that they had talked about succession, both when it comes to the throne and the Black Panther role. However, the Black Panther ritual would have probably been impossible to perform, given how the first Black Panther movie ended.

Black Panther
Scene from first Black Panther movie with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in the foreground. Image source: Marvel Studios

Losing T’Challa again should be even more devastating after the Avengers defeated Thanos (Josh Brolin). That’s what we’d expect Wakanda Forever to explore. We know from the trailers that we’ll see T’Challa’s funeral. And we’ll probably learn how the King died. 

Moreover, the transition to the new Black Panther should be even more seamless for the Wakandan people, considering that T’Challa will have died a second time in a matter of a few years. But it won’t be any less painful. And, again, Wakanda does have an herb problem that needs fixing.

The MCU timeline

Whatever might have happened with T’Challa off-screen, we still don’t know where Wakanda Forever sits on the larger MCU timeline. That’s always an important detail when looking at new MCU adventures, and Black Panther 2 is no different. 

Ramonda (Angela Bassett) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer.
Ramonda (Angela Bassett) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

We need to understand how the events in Wakanda Forever related to the bigger MCU picture after Endgame. And we did come a long way after the battle against Thanos. Adventures like Ms. Marvel and Thor: Love and Thunder take place in 2025, several years after the blip.

We’ll have to wait for Marvel to reveal more details about Wakanda Forever’s place on the MCU timeline. But we don’t have to wait just as long to learn Black Panther 2’s timeline. 

The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever timeline

According to writer/director Ryan Coogler, there will be a big time jump in the sequel between T’Challa’s death and the events in the movie.

“Ramonda realizes that it’s been a year since T’Challa’s passing, and Shuri’s still not healing—she’s not taking steps to move forward in a healthy way,” Coogler said. “They take a retreat—stepping away from the city, from the technology—to sit with no distractions and perform what is essentially a grief ritual. That’s when Namor shows up.” 

Ramonda (Angela Bassett) will play a big role in Wakanda, at least according to the trailers. She’ll be stepping up now that her husband and son died. And now that Shuri (Letitia Wright) is distraught.

Trailer 2 gives us the best Black Panther teaser so far.
Trailer 2 gives us the best Black Panther teaser so far. Image source: Marvel Studios

Shuri, of course, is the primary candidate for taking that Black Panther mantle. But this plot detail might indicate that Shuri won’t necessarily be ready for that. Producer Nate Moore also teased the impact of T’Challa’s death on his sister.

“For the story of Wakanda to move forward in a world where T’Challa is now no longer with us, it only made sense to investigate what that loss meant for all of the people that he touched,” he said. “And there’s no one who’s going to feel that effect more than his little sister, Shuri.”

We’ll have to wait until November 11th to see exactly who becomes the next Black Panther, how it’ll be possible, and whether Shuri will indeed be Marvel’s next Black Panther.

More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.