Who will be the next Black Panther villain?
One bitter sweet aspect about the Black Panther film is that they actually used up two of his best villains right out of the gate. It’s also possible they’ve painted themselves into a corner concerning two more villains. I’ll explain more about that very shortly.
First let me point out that Black Panther’s “good” rogues list is thin with Killmonger and Klaw topping out the bunch. But many of his memorable adversaries have been major Marvel characters. A Black Panther sequel could be used to extend the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t know how I feel about that but it’s definitely a possibility.
Let’s get started with the list:
Yes, in the comics Black Panther and Nakia became enemies. They weren’t in a relationship but she was a Dora Milaje who became obsessed and then started killing people in an attempt to win his affection. She was also tortured by Killmonger and changed her name to Malice. It almost seems unlikely that Marvel will make her a villian at this point because she’s so well liked but it would definitely make for some interesting drama.
The White Wolf-
If you stayed for the after credits scene (who leaves at this point?) in BP then you saw Bucky being referred to as the White Wolf. But in the comics the White Wolf was T’Challa’s adopted white brother. T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, found a baby alive after a plane crashed in Wakanda and took him in. He later would grow up to be the head of Wakanda’s Secret Service. The White Wolf harbored some jealousy of course but he loved Wakanda regardless of his feelings. When T’Challa became king he disapproved of the White Wolf’s methods and they became enemies once he was expelled from Wakanda.
Now with the way T’Chaka was portrayed in the film, leaving Killmonger behind, and calling Bucky the white wolf in the film makes him seem an unlikely option. That is a shame because the White Wolf is a great villain.
Achebe is one of Panther’s more obscure villains who could be interesting. Achebe was a humble peasant farmer who took in some guerilla soldiers that were starving and wounded. After feeding them and nursing them back to health they in turn stabbed him 32 times and left with his wife who had fallen in love with the their leader. Achebe, like any reasonable man after his wife leaves with the people who stab him, sells his soul to the devil. He hunts down the rebels and kills them one by one. Then he hunts down his ex wife’s family and kills them as well. But he doesn’t stop there, he kills everyone who ever had contact with his wife until the only person left was a man who had sold her a pair of shoes. So yeah...Achebe is insane.
He’s not a traditional beat’em up and punch’em out villain. He’s more of a psychological evil similar to the Joker just with a little less random crazy.
M’Baku the Man Ape-
Man Ape we see in the film. He plays the opposite roll in the comics. Comic M’Baku started as T’Challa’s friend and then betrays him beating he and Captain America in the same day.
But movie M’Baku starts as rival challenger and ends up a council member. He can still be a villain but it seems unlikely at this point. But would people want to see it? Movie M’Baku would definitely need some sort of upgrade in order to deal with movie Panther.
There are a host of other villains from the 70’s who have rarely appeared anywhere else, Baron Macabre and Madame Slay for example. But some of Black Panther’s best battles and stories have involved other major characters. His fued with Namor is great, and it could be used to introduce Namor into the MCU. Doom is another possibility. Doom has used nanotechnology and political unrest to successfully unseat T’Challa and take all the vibrainium in an effort to take over the world. The story involves the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and even Deadpool. With Marvel acquiring the rights to these characters, this could definitely be an option now.
I’d personally like to see them step away from the well explored trope of someone attempting to take over Wakanda, and maybe see them step into the realm of a political thriller. Perhaps international tensions building up with a large scale war on the horizon with Panther dealing with domestic (Nakia/Malice) and international issues at once.
So where will they go? Will they elevate someone? It’s still early but it’s fun to speculate. What do you think?