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Could the Black Panther sequel be set to include a same-sex romance?

Michaela Coel's casting has elicited hopes that an LGBTQ plot from the comic could find its way onto the big screen.

2021-09-09

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Disney and Wiki

The sequel to Marvel’s Black Panther could feature a lesbian romance, according to new rumours circulating about the highly anticipated follow up.

The 2018 superhero film, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman, became one of Marvel’s biggest box office smashes, bringing in more than $1.3 billion dollars worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing superhero films of all time.

The sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is currently scheduled to be released in July 2022.

Michaela Coel is rumoured to be playing the character of the character of Aneka, who in the comic books has a relationship with Ayo (played in the films by Florence Kasumba. (Photo: Wiki)

According to the reputable leaker, Murphy’s Multiverse, the same-sex romance plot could involve I May Destroy You’s actor, writer, and director Michaela Coel, who joined the Marvel film’s cast in July.

She is reported to be playing the character of Aneka, who in the comics has a relationship with the character of Ayo, both characters being members of the all-female Wakandan royal guard, the Dora Milaje.

Ayo, played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by Florence Kasumba, has appeared in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame and the Disney+ series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

In 2018, Black Panter co-writer Joe Robert Cole appeared to confirm that a flirtatious exchange between Ayo and Okoye (Danai Gurira) had been cut from the script.

In those few appearances (having a significant role in the latter) Kasumba has impressed audiences and become something of a fan favourite. Given her seemingly growing role within the MCU, it doesn’t seem out of the question for the movie’s producers to give her a yet bigger role and more of a story to follow. Especially given the loss of Boseman, who played the Black Panther/T’Challa in the MCU to great acclaim.

Much of the film’s plot is still unknown at this point, and this rumour (it’s important to stress it is just a rumour) is only one small gleam of information so far. It’s also likely to heighten anticipation for the film, especially among Marvel’s LGBTQ fanbase, who have had greater representation promised for a while now.

During the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, co-director Joe Russo made a cameo as the first openly gay character in the MCU. It was a minor role that left many unimpressed as it had been teased ahead of the film’s release.

More recently, things have improved regarding representation, with the Disney+ series Loki confirming the titular character’s genderfluidity and bisexual orientation. It’s also been teased that a second series of the show could see Loki getting a boyfriend.  

The Eternals, one of the MCU's next releases, will also feature a prominent gay character, Phastos, who will be played by Brian Tyree Henry.

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