Black Panther Gets Forest Whitaker as Wakanda Statesman Zuri
Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker has joined the cast of Marvel Studios' Black Panther. The film, directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), has also added Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, and Florence Kasumba to an all-star lineup that includes Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, and Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, plus Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye, members of the fierce Dora Milaje.
Whitaker (Roots, Lee Daniels' The Butler, The Last King of Scotland) will play the role of Zuri, an elder stateman in Wakanda. Whitaker appears in this year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as fringe Rebel leader Saw Gerrera, and he'll be seen in The Forgiven as famed activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Head of the Turth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa. Kasumba will reprise her Captain America: Civil War role as Ayo, a member of the Dora Milaje.
Kaluuya (Skins, Black Mirror, Sicario) will play T'Challa confidant W'Kabi. Duke (Person of Interest) will appear as M'Baku, leader of a rival tribe in Wakanda. Marvel hasn't released an official plot synopsis at this time, but during a Comic-Con interview, Lupita Nyong'o revealed the first story details, stating that Black Panther's "leadership is threatened when two foes come together," as T'challa seeks the help of both the CIA and the Dora Miljae. At the time, it wasn't known who these "two foes" may be, but it's possible that it could be Erik Killmonger and Man-Ape.
There was also a report earlier this year that claimed Captain America: Civil War star Martin Freeman was reprising his role as Everett Ross, while Avengers: Age of Ultron star Andy Serkis is reportedly coming back as Ulysses Klaue. There was also a casting report that claimed Marvel is still casting for roles such as Monica Lynne, T'challa's longtime love interest in the comics, N'Gassi, T'challa's adviser and Queen Divine Justice, a member of the Jabari tribe. While that report has yet to be confirmed, that report also revealed that characters W'kabi and Zuri would be cast, and they were both added today.
Ryan Coogler is directing from a script he is co-writing with Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story). Production is scheduled to begin in early 2017, although no specific shooting locations have been revealed quite yet. Black Panther will be in theaters on February 16, 2018.