Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently underway, and the franchise has been lining up an ever-growing number of movies and TV shows for the years ahead. On Monday, fans were treated to an epic sizzle reel previewing the film side of things, which included some new footage and new details surrounding a number of upcoming blockbusters. Among these was the confirmed title for the second Black Panther film, which will be titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Not only has that title — and the significance of it amid the cultural impact of the film — resonated with audiences, but even the title treatment itself has courted speculation. As some have begun to wonder, there’s a chance that the film’s silver title treatment could signify one major thing — the MCU debut of Victor Von Doom.
Ever since the first Black Panther film was released, some had suggested that Doctor Doom would be a formidable villain for a potential sequel, in part because he had previously gone toe-to-toe with Black Panther and all of Wakanda during the Doomwar event. In late 2019, rumors began to swirl that Doctor Doom could, in fact, be the sequel’s villain, especially now that the Disney/Fox merger had come to pass and put Doom back in Marvel Studios’ arsenal.
It’s safe to assume that Wakanda Forever‘s script has been reworked significantly in the wake of franchise star Chadwick Boseman’s death, and that those rumors surrounding Doom’s involvement in the film have since been swept aside. But given the unique storytelling parameters from which Wakanda Forever is operating in, there’s still a chance that Doom could appear — and that the silver in the film’s title card could be a homage to the chrome mask he wears.
For one thing, the Doomwar arc saw Doom and his Latverian forces trying to vanquish the Wakandan royal family — something that could only be more justified within the film, depending on exactly how T’Challa’s absence is written. Having the Black Panther seemingly taken off the table would theoretically put a larger target on Wakanda’s back, which, combined with Doom’s desire for Vibranium, would only grow direr. This would add a new significance to the Wakanda Forever subtitle, using the backdrop of a Wakandan/Latverian conflict to show how the franchise’s supporting characters adapt in T’Challa’s absence. The original comic story also just so happened to be a significant moment for Shuri’s incarnation of Black Panther, something that could easily be adapted or retooled for whoever does end up taking the Black Panther mantle in the MCU.
Introducing Doom in Wakanda Forever would also work on a larger storytelling basis, allowing for a fresh take on the villain who was previously adapted to various levels of success in the Fox movies. Instead of directly placing Doom against the Fantastic Four in his first appearance, a storyline within Wakanda Forever would subvert what general audiences expect from a Doom story — while also weaving more lore into the MCU in the process.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to be released on July 8, 2022.