Just days after Marvel introduced T'challa (Chadwick Boseman) in the Phase 3 blockbuster Captain America: Civil War, the cast is starting to come together for the Black Panther movie. Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Lupita Nyong'o has entered negotiations to star alongside Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther, which has already been set for release on February 16, 2018. While it isn't known exactly what character she's playing, it is believed that she will portray T'challa's love interest. Be warned, if you haven't seen Captain America: Civil War yet, there will be minor spoilers below, so read on at your own risk.
It's possible that Lupita Nyong'o is playing part of the Dora Milaje, an elite group of female bodyguards who are also potential candidates to become the new queen of Wakanda. But The Hollywood Reporter says her specific character has yet to be revealed. We saw one member of the Dora Milaje in Captain America: Civil War, which also showed the death of T'challa's father, T'chaka (John Kani). Fans got a brief glimpse of Wakanda in the post-credit scene for Captain America: Civil War, where Bucky Barnes was put into containment in one of Wakanda's secret facilities, with the final shot showcasing a large panther statue.
During certain scenes of Captain America: Civil War, T'challa and T'chaka are seen speaking the Wakandan language, which director Joe Russo recently revealed is an African language known as Xhosa, which Chadwick Boseman learned for these scenes. The director also revealed that over 7.6 million people speak this language, but it isn't known if Lupita Nyong'o, who was raised in Kenya, speaks this language, or if she will be required to learn it for the role. We also don't know if her unspecified character has been established in the Marvel Comics, or if it will be a new role created just for the film.
Ryan Coogler (Creed) is directing Black Panther from his own script, with Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story) writing an earlier draft. Producer Kevin Feige recently revealed that production will begin in early 2017, while teasing that casting announcements will start to be made this summer. We don't know how many major characters have yet to be cast, or if a previously-established character with Wakandan ties will return. Last summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced fans to Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), although we don't know for sure if he will be back in Black Panther.
Lupita Nyong'o has put together quite a remarkable career in such a short amount of time. She made her feature film debut in the Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave, where she also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Last year, she entered the Star Wars universe by playing Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a role she is reprising for Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is currently shooting in the U.K. Most recently, she voiced Rashka in Disney's smash hit The Jungle Book, and she will next be seen in Queen of Katwe.