At some point in the future, Marvel’s Black Panther sequel will hit theatres and continue the story of the African nation that played a key role in saving the universe from Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. Interestingly, Endgame might feature a few a hints about what’s in store for Wakanda, along with a curious detail about the nature of the Soul Stone.
One of the more disappointing, though not wholly unsurprisingly, things about Avengers: Endgame is how little screen time Danai Gurira’s Okoye gets—especially considering the story is ostensibly about the new generation of Marvel heroes stepping up to the plate after the events of Infinity War. With half the universe wiped out, Black Widow, War Machine, Rocket, Nebula, Captain Marvel, and Okoye function as a sort of intergalactic Avengers team (albeit a very understaffed one) that’s doing all it can to deal with the chaos that’s engulfed multiple planets including Earth.
While the space farers are busy putting out fires amongst the stars, the baseline humans do what they can back on Earth. Widow acts as de facto leader, Rhodey’s out in the field tracking Hawkeye Ronin on his world murder tour, and Okoye’s seemingly posted up back in Wakanda to keep an eye on things in her part of the world.
As the group reports into Widow with their most recent status updates, the interesting thing to note is that Okoye’s the only person monitoring a situation that can’t exactly be “dealt” with because it’s a natural occurrence that, during the events of the film, only has the potential of becoming a natural disaster. When Widow asks what’s been done about the tectonic disturbances that’ve been picked up off the African coast, Okoye exasperatedly explains why they’re simply observing for the time being
“It was a mild subduction under the African Plate…It’s an earthquake under the ocean. We handle it by not handling it.”
Okoye’s general absence from the rest of Endgame is noticeable given how everyone else on the team (except for Carol) ends up coming back to America to participate in the big time heist that ultimately saves the day, but her mention of an oceanic earthquake could provide a very good reason for it. In Marvel’s comics, the Wakandans have a rather significant history with the Atlanteans and their impetuous, scantily-clad king, Namor. Like DC’s Atlanteans, Namor’s people are a secretive race of sea dwellers who, like the Wakandans, have no desire to interact with the outsiders, but become involved in a number of the Earth’s conflicts when the surface dwellers’ conflicts threaten the oceans.
Over the years, Namor and T’Challa have crossed paths numerous times in their capacities as heroes and allies to the Avengers, but the most important, recent plot line that brings the two monarchs together focuses on a Phoenix Force-empowered Namor singlehandedly destroying Wakanda with a tidal wave.
In, written by Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman, with art from Olivier Coipel, inks by Mark Morales, and colour from Laura Martin (it was a big event), Namor and four other avatars of the Phoenix set out to rebuild the world and make it a better place for mutant kind. Ever the hothead, Namor’s displeased with his fellow Phoenixes’ plan to strategically win over the public’s favour while making the Avengers look bad, and he sets out with plans to take them on by himself.
When the Scarlet Witch easily flings Namor back to Phoenix HQ because she doesn’t want to fight him, the amphibian king refuses to be made a fool of and sets off again, this time with his sights set on Wakanda, because he wants to make a statement to the world about his belief in mutants’ supremacy over humans. Namor’s tidal wave obliterates the city and kills millions, prompting T’Challa to ban mutants from entering the country entirely (and also pushing him to divorce Storm).
Since then, Namor and T’Challa have never really seen eye-to-eye and the Wakandan king’s taken his own opportunity to lay waste to Atlantis in retaliation for Namor’s actions, because that’s the sort of thing that kings who enjoy playing at being superheroes do.
For obvious reasons, folding in the events of Avengers vs. X-Men into Black Panther 2 would be both challenging and a narrative/logistical nightmare, because the most of narrative elements building up to Namor’s attack (see: mutants, M-Day, etc.) aren’t a part of the MCU yet—and it’s unlikely Marvel would rush to bring all of that to the big screen so soon.
But, something’s been going on in the water near Wakanda, and with Killmonger out of the way and left quite dead after Endgame, Black Panther 2 is going to need a villain. Who better to take a well-aimed shot at the Black Panther than another ambitious king?