Yesterday it was revealed that Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar-winning star of 12 Years A Slave and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, will have a leading role in the upcoming Black Panther. This is super exciting, not only because Nyong’o is a spectacular actress, but because this also opens up a world of possibilities as to who she might be playing, and what this means for the story overall.Obviously, there are tons of cool characters from the comics that Nyong’o could be playing, but we’ve narrowed it down to these main options. And, surprisingly enough, she might actually become the Black Panther.1. Dora Milaje (a.k.a. The Adored Ones)The Dora Milaje are the Wakandan royal guard. Lethal and highly trained, the Dora Milaje take only the elite warriors, and have been serving the Wakandan royal family for hundreds of years. Oh, and they’re all women, which is pretty awesome.
The Dora Milaje are fearsome.
We already caught a glimpse of the Dora Milaje in Captain America: Civil War — when Natasha recruits T’Challa for Team Iron Man, she faces off against a stately woman who looks like she’s ready to rip out Nat’s throat at the first sign of threat. (Here’s hoping she appears in Black Panther because I think I’m in love.)Lupita Nyong’o could well be playing the leader of this royal guard, an elite warrior trained her whole life to protect T’Challa. This would be an interesting set up, allowing Nyong’o to join Chadwick Boseman in most of the action sequences. And if Nyong’o is meant to be a love interest, this would be a really interesting dynamic between the two characters (think The Bodyguard, but reversed, and also they both beat people up). But although many people are predicting Nyong’o will be a love interest for T’Challa, we have another theory…2. Shuri (a.k.a. Black Panther)Shuri is a fantastic character from the comics. As the daughter of King T’Chaka, Shuri was a candidate to become the Black Panther, but she lost out to her brother.
Shuri as princess of Wakanda.
Shuri would later take up the mantle of Black Panther, saving her brother and defending Wakanda from attack, despite not actually possessing the powers of the Black Panther (bestowed by the Wakandan Panther God). Thanks to her act of self-sacrifice, she proved herself worthy, and the Panther God granted her superpowers anyway. Thus the title of Black Panther passed to Shuri.It would be fantastic to see Nyong’o play Shuri in Black Panther, as she is torn between her love for her brother, and her desire to take up his heroic mantle.
Shuri as the Black Panther.
It would be unlikely for Shuri to become the Black Panther in the upcoming solo movie, but introducing her to the MCU would set up the potential for this to happen. We all know how destructive a battle Infinity War will be, so maybe it’s not just Cap’s mantle that will be passed?3. Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Captain MarvelMonica Rambeau is an interesting character from the Marvel comics. Taking up many titles along the years, Rambeau was actually the first female Captain Marvel (1982), and the second character to take up this particular mantle.
T’Challa gives Monica a pep talk.
Monica and T’Challa have had a complicated but flirtatious relationship for years, hampered from actually getting together by the fact that T’Challa is married (to Storm, no less). With Fox holding the rights to Storm, Monica could be a good love interest replacement for T’Challa, as the two have an excellent dynamic. She’s also imbued with fantastic powers, as she’s able to manipulate energy and even travel at the speed of light.This might seem like a bit of an obscure character to introduce to the MCU, but Monica’s friendship with one Carol Danvers would be a great entry point for Captain Marvel herself.
Monica and Carol reunite.
Nyong’o as Monica could cross over into the upcoming Captain Marvel, linking the two movies and giving the audience a character they recognize. Of course, there are plenty of other options for who Nyong’o could be playing (like T’Challa’s long-time girlfriend, Monica Lynne), but we think these are the most interesting options. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long until we find out!Who do you think Lupita Nyong’o should play in Black Panther?