This post contains potential spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Namor the Sub-Mariner sits at the foot of Castle Doom, an exorbitant spread set before him. Despite the luxury he experiences as a guest of Latverian ruler Victor Von Doom, Namor lacks his usual arrogance. After all, Namor comes to Dr. Doom with the knowledge that he failed, that his previous alliances with both the Illuminati and their villainous counterpart the Cabal have reached their end. This humbling experience notwithstanding, Namor makes his pitch, certain that Doom could not resist the opportunity to save the world and succeed where his rival Reed Richards could not. But to Namor’s shock, Dr. Doom turns down the opportunity to partner with Namor, despite the glory it could earn him. “Doom is no man’s second choice,” he firmly explains.
That scene may come from 2013’s New Avengers #24, part of the Secret Wars storyline from Jonathan Hickman, but it may also be a glimpse into the future of Marvel Studios. Ever since Disney purchased Fox years ago, fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Fantastic Four and their supporting cast in the MCU. With a Fantastic Four movie on the books and a Reed Richards cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, fans (including me!) had reason to believe that Doom would make his debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
But if producer Nate Moore is to be believed, such hopes are unfounded. Speaking with the YouTube channel Phase Zero, Moore did confirm that Ryan Coogler is a fan of the character, but it was never a consideration to include Dr. Doom in the movie. “I get why,” Moore admitted, “and he’s such a great character and the world of Latveria is so fantastic… but once we decided that Namor is the antagonist, that was always going to be the focus.”
While Marvel producers have become double-speak pros, able to parse words in a manner that preserves spoilers, early reports about the film seem to confirm this. According to those who saw the movie’s premiere last week, Wakanda Forever contains only a single, “very emotional” mid-credit sequence, not the type that would be conducive to introducing a major baddie. “The weight of this movie is a bit different,” Moore explained. “We felt the ending to this film was so poetic to then go back and say ‘Hey, there’s a tag at the end credits’ felt a little disingenuous tonally from what we were doing.”
Disappointing as this news may be to some, it’s hard to argue that Coogler and others were wrong. As demonstrated by the response to the first film, Black Panther is a true cultural event, more than an entry in a superhero franchise. The untimely death of star Chadwick Boseman only increased the importance of Wakanda Forever, and interviews with Coogler and co-stars have made clear their intentions to honor his legacy.
And of course, Doctor Doom will certainly make his debut in the MCU! Ultimately, it’s better to choose a different villain than to consider Doom and pass him up. Because, after all, Doom is no man’s second choice.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11, 2022.