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Black Panther 2 rumor reveals surprising implications for Marvel TV show

Ryan Coogler has more on his plate than just Wakanda.

Even though it’s wrapped filming, not much is known about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We know who’s involved, but that’s about it — there’s no word on who the villain is, or even who will be taking up the mantle of Black Panther after the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman. However, a seemingly innocuous announcement about the crew behind an upcoming Disney+ series may have just confirmed one of the biggest rumors surrounding the mysterious sequel. Here’s what you need to know.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney+’s upcoming series Ironheart has found its two directors — Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes will each helm three episodes. Additionally, the series has gained another executive producer: Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

One of the biggest rumors surrounding Black Panther 2 is that it contains the MCU debut of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), the protagonist of Ironheart and the spiritual successor to Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Reports from filming show that Wakanda Forever’s production visited MIT, which is famously the alma mater of Stark and Williams.

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Ryan Coogler and Kevin Feige in 2019 announcing the initial release date of Black Panther 2, which would be pushed back two years. Jesse Grant/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

By including Williams in Black Panther 2, we could get our first look at the next generation of Iron Man and a glimpse of what her standalone series will be like. If Coogler’s involvement is any indication, the tone and feel of Black Panther 2 will carry into Ironheart, and we may even get some cameos too.

If this rumor is true, and it’s looking exceedingly likely, then Black Panther 2 has quite the tall task. It doesn’t need to set up the backstory of just one new Avenger, but two. Will it be able to give both Riri and the new Black Panther the screentime they deserve, or will Riri’s role be relegated to a cameo that’s followed up on in her series?

Riri Williams on the cover of Invincible Iron Man vol. 4 #4, published in 2017. Marvel Comics

Considering how Ironheart doesn’t even have a release date yet, it’s hard to answer these questions. But if there’s one way to drum up interest in a series it’s to tease it in a big blockbuster, and Black Panther 2 is guaranteed to be just that. It could be Riri’s time to shine, or at the very least appear and start to make waves in the MCU.

The Inverse Analysis — While nothing regarding Riri’s connection to Black Panther 2 has been officially announced, the evidence is piling up in favor of an appearance of some caliber in the upcoming sequel. Hopefully as we learn more about this movie we’ll see just how Riri factors into the story.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters November 11, 2022.