Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is going academic.
Plot details for the upcoming Marvel sequel have been kept tightly under wraps, and since the tragic loss of star Chadwick Boseman last year, fans have been left especially uncertain about what’s next for the Kingdom of Wakanda. One popular fan theory involves technological wunderkind Shuri taking on more responsibility, perhaps even taking over the Black Panther mantle.
A new filming leak seemingly confirms she’ll be getting her due — and that Shuri could soon come face-to-face with a kindred spirit, one who could represent nothing less than the future of the MCU.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently informed members of its community that filming will take place later this week — from Friday, August 20 to Monday, August 23 — on a project referred to as “Summer Break.” Sequences to be shot around the campus will feature a series of vehicles driving on the streets around MIT; filming for these scenes will primarily consist of overnight driving scenes and a daytime scene in front of a residence hall.
“Summer Break,” as Marvel fans know, is the working title for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and these details on filming suggest that MIT will play a role in the plot. That said, the quick turnaround in shooting time makes it clear the college won’t play a major role in the sequel. Might Shuri be visiting the university to present Wakandan technology to the rest of the world?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever filming at MIT had been previously rumored by The Disinsider and Murphy’s Multiverse, but Inverse has confirmed that shooting around the campus will get underway later this week. It’s not uncommon for Marvel to film at a college. Still, transplanting production from its usual Atlanta locations to Cambridge, Massachusetts seems like further evidence that MIT itself will factor into the plot.
What connections exist between the MCU and MIT? Erik Killmonger received a Ph.D. in engineering from MIT in the comics, but the university’s most famous fictional alumnus is Tony Stark, who graduated from MIT at an incredibly young age. He later returned to the school to present the B.A.R.F. technology and establish the September Foundation scholarship, as seen in Captain America: Civil War.
But seeing as Tony Stark perished in Avengers: Endgame and will never haunt the hallowed halls of his alma mater again, another incredibly exciting theory is that Wakanda could visit MIT and run into Riri Williams, confirmed to be played by Dominique Thorne in the upcoming Disney+ series Ironheart. Riri made a splash at MIT in Marvel comics when she debuted her own bootleg version of Tony Stark’s Iron Patriot suit.
From there, she became a hero in her own right, and Ironheart will surely track that journey when it premieres on Disney+. But could the character make her first live-action appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? For a film introducing the next generation of Wakandan heroes, it certainly would seem appropriate to explore the next stage of Iron Man’s legacy.
Of note: The residence hall that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will film daytime scenes in front of is Simmons Hall, the architecture of which is particularly distinctive. Could Riri be studying at the university and living on campus?
A previous scoop from leaker KC Walsh suggested the Black Panther sequel will, in fact, be Riri’s introduction, and this filming leak makes an appearance by the future Ironheart — however brief — feel as inevitable as Thanos himself.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters July 8, 2022.