Black Panther 2 ‘to include lesbian romance’ involving Michaela Coel’s character, leak claims

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther

The Black Panther sequel could take queer representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to new heights with an on-screen lesbian couple, reports suggest.

Marvel hasn’t always had the best track record with LGBT+ characters, but the tide has slowly started to change in recent years – and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could be the next film to help move the franchise forward.

According to Inverse, reputable leaker Murphy’s Multiverse has claimed that I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel will play the character of Aneka.

In the Marvel comics, Aneka was a former captain of the Dora Milaje.

After she was found guilty of killing a cheiftan who had been terrorising women, she and Ayo, a member of the Dora Milaje played by Florene Kasumba in the MCU, became vigilantes known as Midnight Angels, according to Vulture, and became romantically involved

Kasumba previously confirmed to Vulture that a scene in the first film referencing her character’s sexuality had been abandoned, after rumours the film would have included a comicbook storyline where Ayo and Okoye (Danai Gurira) were together.

If Aneka and Ayo’s characters follow the same storyline that appeared in the comics, Marvel fans could be treated to a meaningful, relationship between two queer Black women.

Marvel has promised that more openly queer characters are on the way

Numerous senior Marvel producers have repeatedly promised in recent years that more LGBT+ characters are on the way – but fans haven’t always been impressed with the end result.

Avengers: Endgame proved particularly controversial when it included the MCU’s first openly queer character – but fans were disappointed when he turned out to be an unnamed widower who attends a support group meeting.

Meanwhile, Marvel fans have been waiting with baited breath for Eternals. The film, helmed by Nomadland director Chloé Zhao, has promised to deliver the goods for LGBT+ cinema-goers with Phastos, the franchise’s first openly gay superhero.

Brian Tyree Henry will play the gay superhero in the hotly-anticipated film, which also stars Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Don Lee and Lauren Ridloff.

The next Thor film, Love and Thunder, is set to explore Valkyrie’s sexuality, with actor Tessa Thompson teasing that as Asgard’s new king, “she needs to find her queen”.

As of now, Loki and variant Sylvie remain the only canonically queer characters on-screen.

Eternals is currently scheduled for release on 5 November following a number of COVID-19 related delays with Thor: Love and Thunder following on 6 May. 2022.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently scheduled to be released on 8 July, 2022. Marvel first confirmed that the project was in development in mid-2019 after the original film became a commercial and critical smash.

However, producers later had to change their plans for the film when lead actor Chadwick Boseman tragically died from colon cancer. Creators ultimately decided not to recast his character, instead choosing to focus on other storylines within the MCU.