A debate about which character should become the next Black Panther in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arose among fans following the death of franchise star Chadwick Boseman. Some fans believed Marvel Studios should follow the route established in the comics and have Shuri assume the mantle. Other fans, however, had other ideas. Nakia, M’Baku and the villain of Black Panther, Killmonger, all made the lists of fans around the globe. Killmonger, who was played in the first film by Michael B. Jordan, was an interesting choice given the fact that he was both canonically deceased and made terrible choices during his reign as King and Black Panther of Wakanda. Ultimately, writer and director Ryan Coogler made the decision to have Shuri become the protector of Wakanda and take on Namor. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for Jordan’s Killmonger in the film.
Upon recreating the heart-shaped herb and moving into the Ancestral Plane where she believed she would be greeted by her brother, Letitia Wright’s Shuri was shockingly greeted by her cousin, the villainous Killmonger. The return of the character to the Ancestral Plane was the subject of rumor and speculation long before the film’s release, but Jordan never gave it away. In fact, according to the star, he knew that working with Marvel Studios meant he “had to lie to everybody” to keep the appearance a secret.
While discussing his return in an interview with Extra, Jordan indicated that lying and denying is just part of the deal when working with Marvel and that includes lying to his family.
I had to lie to my family over here. I had to lie to everybody out here… I had to just keep it under wraps… When you’re dealing with Marvel and stuff like that, you know the routine. So you just gotta, you know, deny, deny, deny, deny, deny until the end of it, yeah.Michael B. Jordan
Marvel Studios and its actors are, of course, famously disingenuous when it comes to discussing upcoming projects. The “Marvel way” of lying and misleading fans rather than using the actors’ presence in the project is certainly a curious way to build hype, but Marvel has maintained its intense level of secrecy for well over a decade, at times to the dismay of stars such as Zoë Saldaña, who compared working with the studio to being part of a cult in terms of holding on to secrets. Hopefully, Jordan’s family forgives him in time for the holidays!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still in theaters!