Daniel Kaluuya Won’t Return In ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

A scheduling conflict with ‘Nope’ meant W’Kabi couldn’t come back to avenge Killmonger.

Daniel Kaluuya Chadwich Boseman Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman and Daniel Kaluuya in 2018’s Black PantherCourtesy of the Everett Collection

When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11, Academy-Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya won’t be among the returning cast from Marvel’s 2018 global smash. According to a flurry of reports yesterday—initially broken by Rotten Tomatoes and then confirmed by Variety—Marvel wanted the actor to return, but he unfortunately had an irreconcilable scheduling conflict: He was already committed to Nope, his reteaming with Get Out writer/director Jordan Peele, which opens July 22 and shot at the same time as Wakanda Forever.

Variety was also able to confirm that Kaluuya was asked to reprise his role as W’Kabi in the sequel, which, like the first film, has been directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler. In Black Panther, W’Kabi was the close confidant and best friend to Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, and functioned as the head of security for the Border Tribe before he was convinced to partner with Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) to help overthrow T’Challa.

After Boseman’s sudden and tragic passing in 2020, Marvel decided they wouldn’t recast the role of T’Challa, opting instead to focus on the extensive list of returning characters, including Wakandan soldiers Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and M’Baku (Winston Duke); T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), and mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett); and CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman). It was long assumed Kaluuya would be part of that returning ensemble, but his involvement was never officially confirmed one way or another—until now.

Details on the plot of Wakanda Forever are still pretty slim, despite being four months out from its November 11 release. However, we’ll likely get more information next weekend, during Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. We know that Kaluuya’s Judas and the Black Messiah co-star, Dominique Thorne, will appear in the sequel as genius inventor Riri Williams, who, in Marvel comics, creates an Iron Man-like suit in her garage. Might Wakanda Forever rework that origin slightly and position Williams as one of the students at the Wakandian outreach programs that T’Challa created at the end of the first movie? Additionally, newcomer Tenoch Huerta and I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel will star in undisclosed roles. It’s also anticipated that Forever will explore the legacy of T’Challa, so it’s slightly disappointing that audiences won’t get to see W’Kabi’s reaction to (what we assume) will be the death of T’Challa in the MCU.

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