With the upcoming and much anticipated release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel fans are waiting to see how the fabled fictional nation will be dealing with the death of their beloved leader T’Challa and who will ultimately take over the mantle of the Black Panther. The sequel is already known to involve a primary conflict with Prince Namor’s underwater kingdom of Talocan, and plenty of Wakandan figures are confirmed to return, including Ramonda, Nakia, Okoye, M’Baku, and Everett Ross.
Marvel fans are wondering if other Avengers might appear in the film as well. There’s an array of established comic canon to choose from, mostly from the sagas of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Secret Wars, and New Avengers, as well as the fact that many Avengers were also frequently crossover members of Marvel’s The Defenders, a more eclectic team notorious for including Namor the Submariner in its ranks.
The grudge between Namor’s Atlantis and T’Challa’s Wakanda goes back several decades within the pages of Marvel Comics. Namor has vacillated between antagonist and protagonist countless times, being an immensely powerful being (and soon-to-be MCU mutant) whose notorious temperament tend to rival his considerable abilities.
As a frequent member of the original Defenders, he was teammates with several old-school Avengers who moonlighted on the side as a Defender, including the Wasp. In the books, it was Janet who ranked in the original rosters, but in the established MCU, it would assuredly be Hope. The Wasp has had to pull sidekick duties to Scott Lang’s Ant-Man, and she deserves her own supporting role outside the series other than a brief appearance in Avengers: Endgame.
At this point, Bruce Banner is more or less the quiet MVP of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, seeing as how he’s yet to star in his own vehicle. Mark Ruffalo has appeared in more MCU projects than any other regular MCU entity who hasn’t yet had a solo film, including all four Avengers films, a supporting role in Thor: Ragnarok, and cameos for fellow heroes Tony Stark, Shang Chi, and Jennifer Walters.
The Hulk was an original member of the comic canon Defenders, fighting alongside Namor regularly. Since audiences now know the Hulk has returned from offworld with his son Skaar, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him participate in the Wakanda-Namor conflict.
It’s a bit too soon to expect a resurrection of Wanda Maximoff after the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but the MCU’s been known to suddenly flip narrative expectations before. Yet the established canon is quite clear that Wanda is in fact one of the few Avengers who can adequately counter Namor’s immensely formidable powers. In the pages of Avengers vs. X-Men, Namor is imbued with the additional powers of the Phoenix Force, which enables him to quite shockingly overwhelm Black Panther and the assorted Avengers present.
Wanda Maximoff manages to use her own considerable magic to counter the Phoenix Force and defeat Namor single-handedly. Audiences have seen this level of power from Wanda before when she went head-to-head with Thanos, and would no doubt thrill to such power levels again should she swoop in to redeem herself in Wakanda.
It’s a safe bet audiences would happily take a supporting appearance from either Clint Barton’s presumably retired Hawkeye or Kate Bishop’s newly mantled Hawkeye in the Wakandan conflict. Though Kate Bishop has yet to appear in cosmic team-ups in the MCU, she would already have a commensurate peer group present with the likes of Shuri and Riri Williams, perhaps setting up more of the Young Avengers storyline which seems to be manifesting in Phase 4.
And Clint Barton was also a member of the original Defenders and fought alongside Namor in many of the dark horse team’s unsung battles. Though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will rightly showcase its established Wakandan heroes, a cameo from one of the world’s best archers would be welcomed.
Like everyone present at the outset climactic battle of Avengers: Endgame, Valkyrie became a de facto member of the Avengers when she joined the mass force amassing against Thanos‘ minions. As a longstanding member of the Defenders, she sparred alongside, and sometimes against, Prince Namor due to his fickle mood and arrogance.
In established MCU canon, she’s currently the Queen of New Asgard. It stands to reason in the power vacuum created by T’Challa’s death and an oncoming incursion from Namor’s kingdom of Talocan, Valkyrie might be inclined to try and intervene, negotiate, or even choose a side, having ruled over her own kingdom of decidedly irregular citizens of Planet Earth.
Much like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker seems to be a virtual gadabout around the MCU, popping up and around the least likely places, like Russian airports, Ebony Maw’s Q-ship, Thanos’ home world of Titan, Europe, and of course a rather spectacular multiverse incursion moment involving two other versions of Spider-Man. Thanks to Doctor Strange’s forgetting spell, nobody knows who he is now, but that doesn’t mean Peter Parker wouldn’t lend an international hand should he somehow be roped into duty.
It’s well known Tom Holland’s wall crawler has become one of the MCU’s most popular heroes, second only to Tony Stark himself, and Spider-Man was in fact a key participant in the Avengers vs. X-Men saga, though he has yet to step foot in the MCU’s Wakanda.
Now that Iron Man is no longer in the picture, Phase 4 showed that Stephen Strange has become the frontrunner hero for managing situations with global, universal, or multiversal stakes. It’s yet unknown whether the new Wakanda story will be set within the parameters of the Multiverse Saga or whether it’s a standalone film. But the latter seems most likely as director Ryan Coogler wants to focus on an honorarium for Chadwick Boseman.
Doctor Strange is also one of the original Defender teammates in comic canon and regularly engaged with Namor’s difficult personality as they faced off against assorted adversaries. It’s likely a long shot as he’s already made two Phase 4 appearances in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness, but stranger things have happened.
A cameo from Sam Wilson’s Captain America in a vast, CGI-splashy conflict between Wakanda and Talocan is nearly a certainty. Not only does the MCU’s new Captain wield new wings from Wakanda’s stores of vibranium (gifted to him by the Dora Milaje themselves), the comic book canon Steve Rogers was a key integral player in the Wakandan-Atlantean war as rendered in the pages of Avengers vs. X-Men.
Based on things comic book fans know, Namor and Rogers have known each other since World War 2, and both were upstanding members of yet another Marvel super team The Invaders, though they came to blows plenty as is often the case with Namor. Captain America and Namor go back a long way, and though Sam Wilson doesn’t have that history with the underwater antihero, it would be surprising if he doesn’t show up in some fashion as an ally to Wakanda.