Black Panther 2 is the wild card of Marvel’s next stage.
While other upcoming Marvel movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are all set to explore the new frontier of the multiverse, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever seems unlikely to do the same.
Though the film’s plot is under wraps, we do have some details. Since the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, it’s been clear that this sequel to Black Panther, in which he starred, will shift focus to new characters, such as the future Ironheart, Riri Williams.
But a new leak hints at another new character entering the fray in Wakanda Forever, one with deep connections to the fictional Afrofuturist nation of the title.
I May Destroy You breakout Michaela Coel, who was previously confirmed to appear in Wakanda Forever, will play the character of Aneka, according to reputable leaker Murphy’s Multiverse.
In the comics, Aneka is the captain of the Dora Milaje, who leads the squad through an invasion by Namor the Sub-Mariner, an attack from Thanos, and even Nakia turning against Wakanda. A strong leader, she occasionally ruffles feathers among her own ranks but ultimately does what is right.
But there’s another aspect of Aneka that makes her essential to the MCU — she was in a romantic relationship with Ayo. For those who don’t recall, Ayo was a member of the Dora Milaje who appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; played by Florence Kasumba, she was tasked with hunting down Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) for crimes against Wakanda.
This appearance brought renewed attention to Ayo, who had previously been overlooked as part of the Dora Milaje. This new leak suggests her role will only grow if that character follows the comics' storyline of establishing a relationship with Aneka.
For those looking for more clearly LGBTQ+ characters within the Marvel universe, this news could be major. As it stands, the only canonically queer characters in Marvel are Loki and variant Sylvie, who were both established as bisexual yet fell in love with each other in what may be the ultimate expression of their narcissism.
Aside from that, there’s hope Wiccan and Speed will come out eventually, but even they only briefly existed in the MCU as small children. The MCU has a lot of ground to make up in terms of representation, and bringing Aneka and Ayo into Wakanda Forever could be one step in the right direction.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters July 8, 2022.