Black Panther 2 is on the way. The movie made more money than a black market Vibranium sale and continues to rule the early 2018 box office. The only issue with a Black Panther sequel is, how on Earth will Marvel Studios top Erik Killmonger? I mean, Killmonger had it all, charisma, pathos, and a tragic backstory. This is all just a fancy way of saying that Marvel is going to have to work overtime to deliver a villain worthy of following Killmonger’s badass footsteps.
That’s why we’re here! We took a deep dive into Marvel Comics lore to find a worthy adversary for T’Challa in Black Panther 2. So grab your Vibranium, get Shuri on speed dial, and join us as we open a file on potential evildoers to step up and try to take down the King of Wakanda.
10. King Cadaver
In the wonderful Don McGregor and Billy Graham run on Black Panther in Jungle Action (and believe me, there is no Black Panther movie without these two creators and their unforgettable time with T’Challa), the pair created some of Panther’s most horrific foes. Take the bug-eyed monstrosity known as King Kadaver, a villain that has the power to psychically cause great pain in his enemies, create realistic delusions, and control the minds of others.
Kadaver was one of Killmonger’s most loyal lieutenants. Potentially, as an act of revenge, this ghoul0like villain could come to the now open Wakanda seeking revenge and manipulating the Panther’s inner circle. But really, we want to see this horror fully realized on a movie screen. I mean just look at him- good old fashion nightmare fuel.
9. Princess Zanda
We love ourselves some Jack Kirby and we wouldn’t be able to look ourselves in the mirror if we didn’t include at least one villain from Kirby’s wombat-shit insane Black Panther revival of the late ’70s. But if you tweak some of the crazier aspects of this Panther rival, it actually could work.
Princess Zanda is the regent of the fictional nation of Narobia, a trade and technological rival of Wakanda. She is also a member of a group of international artifact thieves known as the Collectors. In Kirby’s legendarily strange series, Zanda and her crew race Black Panther to steal a time traveling device known as King Solomon’s Frog, which was pretty much just a ceramic frog mixed with the TARDIS. It was bugnuts but awesome.
Now, I don’t think we’ll ever see King Solomon’s Frog on the big screen, but the idea of a rival African nation led by a beautiful and immoral queen sounds compelling to us. Zanda could potentially become T’Challa’s personal Cersei Lannister as Wakanda and Narobia become locked in a technological Cold War.
8. American Panther
American Panther was just a young man when his mother’s Swedish born lover murdered his father. The killer never stood trial for the crime which made the American Panther hate all foreign born people. Name unknown, this angry young man donned the American Panther costume to weed out immigrants from US soil. Panthers American and Black fought on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen when T’Challa came to the US to help out Matt Murdock. And yes, if this happened as a crossover between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV, we would explode too.
As it stands, Marvel could take out the Hell’s Kitchen part of American Panther and create a ripped from the headlines villain fueled by xenophobia and prejudice. The profaning of the Panther legend could make this a very personal villain for T’Challa, but really, we just want to see Panther and Daredevil swing around NYC. A nerd can dream. And in battling the hateful American Panther, that’s just what the Black Panther would be fighting for: the dreams of others.
7. Kraven the Hunter
Yeah, yeah, we known, Ryan Coogler really wanted Kraven in Black Panther, but the idea was nixed because Sony owns the film rights to all the Spidey villains. But ever since Coogler expressed his Kraven love, we just can’t get the idea out T’Challa versus the World’s Greatest Hunter out of our heads. Imagine, a version of The Most Dangerous Game between the Panther and Kraven, a deadly chess match playing out in the Wakandan veldt.
Now that Wakanda is open to the world, Kraven could represent the worst of Anglo-European culture come to the borders of Wakanda to poach, hunt, and kill. Heck man, throw in an appearance of Peter Parker on a Wakandan field trip and Marvel Studios is guaranteed another billion.
Real name Tilda Johnson, Nightshade grew up in poverty in the slums of New York City. Early in her life, Tilda discovered she had an aptitude for the advanced sciences. Fast forward a few years, Tilda used the super weapons she created to take over the rackets of the inner city and became a major underground figure before she was two decades old.
Nightshade kind of sounds like the anti-Shuri, doesn’t she? Shuri uses her skills to help her people, but Nightshade is an immoral street hustler that uses science for her own gain rather than to benefit humankind.
In the comics, Nightshade took on Captain America and the Falcon and she even came up with a formula to transform people in werewolves because comics. But other than the werewolf angle, now that the Black Panther and Wakanda are involved in America’s inner cities, Nightshade and her street science could take on the Wakandan Royal Family in a future Panther film. And really, who doesn’t want to see Nightshade and Shuri science the bejeezus out of each other?
Recently, Nightshade joined the Occupy Avengers team so there’s a built in redemption arch in this hidden gem of a character. And werewolves. Anything that moves us closer to Werewolf by Night in the MCU is okay with us.
5. Sons of the Serpent
Now that Wakanda is revealed to the world, T’Challa will have to face some of the racial issues facing other nations. The Sons of the Serpent is Marvel’s version of the KKK, and now that Panther, Shuri, and company have set up shop in the US, they will have to face groups like the Sons.
When the Sons were introduced back in 1966, it was a subversive, underground hate organization dedicated to eradicating all non-white races. Sadly, in 2018, what was once underground is now mainstream and the Sons of the Serpent could be a perfect foe for Black Panther to take down now that he is involved in world affairs. I know an Inhuman-hunting version of the Sons of the Serpent already appeared on Agents of SHIELD, but it could be a simple matter for that group to expand and change their focus to Wakanda.
Now listen, you don’t just cast Andy Serkis in a role unless somehow, somewhere that character becomes animated. In the comics, the villain known as Klaw is made of solid sound. Yeah, this jungle smuggler/poacher/Vibranium thief/son of a Nazi/scumbag started out very similar to the Klaue from the film, but the pith helmet wearing douche also ends up killed and transformed via Vibranium into a being made of solid sound. We can totally see Black Panther 2 going that route. Movie Klaw already has the badass Kirby arm and everything.
As we know, Klaw’s war with Wakanda is very personal, even more so now that a Wakandan, namely Erik Killmonger, murdered him. So if and when Klaw returns in his glorious pure sound form, things are going to get very loud very quickly. I think we all want to see Serkis don a mo-cap suit and become a Kirby drawing come to life.
3. Baron Zemo
In the MCU, Helmut Zemo killed T’Challa’s father during Captain America: Civil War. Zemo was defeated when T’Challa refused to give into his hunger for vengeance and spared Zemo’s life. T’Challa defeated a villain that manipulated the Avengers by showing mercy and empathy. But this conflict may not be over. Zemo still lives and if he ever escaped, one could imagine his trail of revenge leading to Wakanda.
Yes, Zemo’s vengeance against the Avengers seemed sated when he tore the team apart by revealing that Bucky killed Tony Stark’s parents. But with Bucky in Wakanda, the time just seems perfect for Zemo to show up once again in order to make T’Challa sorry for not ending Zemo’s life when the king had the chance. And we never got to see the film version of Zemo don that iconic hood. The back story and the high personal stakes are there for the next stage of Zemo’s plan in Black Panther 2.
2. White Wolf
The man simply known as Hunter lost his parents in a plane crash in Wakanda. Hunter was taken in by King T’Chaka and Queen N’Yami and the child was raised as their own. Hunter was trained, and when he grew, was made leader of the Hatut Zeraze, the secret police of Wakanda. Hunter was violent and efficient, but when T’Challa took the throne, the new king disbanded the overly brutal Hatut Zeraze. Bitter at T’Challa’s choices and jealous of his adoptive brother’s ascension, Hunter has remained a man who is loyal to Wakanda but wary of its king. Yeah, this smells like a movie to us, too.
The name White Wolf was already given to Bucky in the film, but perhaps there was another White Wolf before Shuri healed Bucky, an angry and wary White Wolf ready to return to protect his suddenly vulnerable nation now that Wakanda has revealed itself.
1. Doctor Doom
Yeah, yeah, Fox owns the rights, blahblah. But if Disney’s lawyers get their legal briefs together and the Disney/Fox merger happens in time, T’Challa could face Marvel’s other great king.
Doctor Doom has long been king of the nation of Latveria, a cruel and proud monarch whose pride is only matched by his hunger for power. Doom is a matter of science and sorcery and will do anything to prove himself superior to any foe. Can you picture what would happen if we got a cinematic war between Wakanda and Latveria? Doombots versus the armies of Wakanda, Doom versus T’Challa in struggle for freedom. Wakanda has never been invaded as it has always hidden from the yoke of European imperialism. But Wakanda has never met Doom, and if the stars align, two of Marvel’s most regal figures could go to war in a future Black Panther installment.
Think about it, with his technology and his Machiavellian like ability to rule and manipulate, Doom is basically T’Challa without all that glorious morality. One gets chills just thinking about it.