According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is in negotiations with Marvel to star in Black Panther. Read on below for more details.
Following her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years A Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has become a go-to talent for Disney. She provided the voice of Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens and Mowgli’s mother, the wolf Raksha, in The Jungle Book. It is unknown which character she might be playing, but THR described it as a love interest for T’Challa/Black Panther, the warrior king of Wakanda. Who does that leave as the top candidates, I’ll refer you to a post by We Are Wakanda that outlines the past love interests of Black Panther (excluding X-Men’s Storm since Fox owns the rights to the character):
There was Malaika, the Wakandan Trade Envoy to Paris. She’s known mostly for the fact that she spoke French and had impressive 80s hair.
Though nothing official ever happened, Monica Rambeau aka Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar/Spectrum/indecisive and T’Challa have gotten pretty close. She’s an outsider but Wakandans love her anyway and call her the “Sun Goddess”. There may be some lingering feelings.
For most of his history though, he’s been in an on-again, off-again relationship with a singer named Monica Lynne. She was first introduced in the early 70s in Avengers #73 and they’ve been in and out of each other’s lives ever since. She plays a large role in one of the Black Panther’s most highly praised stories, “Panther’s Rage” by Don McGregor. Took place in Jungle Action #6-18 and had a lot to do with the fact that T’Challa brought Monica back home to be with him despite that being pretty taboo in Wakanda. No spoilers but, some people were very upset. Years later they actually almost got married in another McGregor mini-series called “Panther’s Prey.” But as it is with many heroes, there came a time when he realized their relationship put her in too much danger. They run into each other on occasion, but last we saw her, she’d just heard about his engagement to Storm.
If the report is mistaken and the role isn’t for a “love interest”, then it’s possible Lupita Nyong’o could play Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. Shuri has a much meatier history in the comics and would avoid simply having another Jane Foster type on the screen that serves little more to the story than being a love interest. Either way, Lupita is a talented young actress and a welcome addition to the Marvel community. While not being a household name like Iron Man, Spider-Man or Captain America, Black Panther has the potential to be a strong entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to all the talent involved. Who know, perhaps it could wind up being a surprise hit like Guardians of the Galaxy.
How do you feel about the addition of Lupita Nyong’o to the Black Panther cast? Who do you think she’ll end up playing in the film? Black Panther arrives in US theaters July 6, 2018.