M’Baku Gets Expanded “Black Panther” Future
Filming has resumed on Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” a sequel that has to deal with the unexpected passing of the first film’s star Chadwick Boseman.
Rather than recast, director Ryan Coogler has created a story that acknowledges and works around Boseman’s absence. Part of that will be giving more screen time to side characters like Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Winston Duke’s M’Baku.
Wright suffered injuries whilst performing a stunt last summer and, after a lengthy break, has recovered and is back to shooting. Whilst she is expected to see the biggest jump in screen time, Duke’s character is also set to be a major player.
Today, THR reports that Duke negotiated a hefty raise to reprise the role of M’Baku along with scoring “an expanded role in the ‘Panther’ mythos.” Just what that expansion might be is unclear.
Th character is based on the comic supervillain Man-Ape, but Duke’s version is quite different. Producer Nate Moore tells EW that’s a very deliberate choice:
“We don’t call him Man-Ape. We do call him M’Baku. Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong. But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is still on track for a release on November 11th this year.