Winston Duke's M'Baku In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Follows In The Footsteps Of Past Marvel Villains

When "Black Panther" came out, it was a shock to the system of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is a movie that introduced audiences to a lived-in world with complex and detailed societal structures and rules, a rich culture with exquisite production designs, and a fantastic cast you could follow for hours and hours at a time, with some of the best and most complex villains in the entire MCU.

Some — not one — because as incredible as Michael B. Jordan was as Killmonger, he was not the only antagonist in "Black Panther." Indeed, before N'Jadaka threw his cousin off a cliff and took over his throne, there was another challenger who was introduced as a potential enemy to T'Challa: Winston Duke's M'Baku, the White Gorilla.

The moment M'Baku first enters the screen, he is a formidable, intimidating, and quite charming presence. Even as he challenges T'Challa for the throne, you kind of want to see what he'd do, even if you don't want him to succeed. Of course, though he lost the duel, he still helped out in defend Wakanda from Killmonger, and then helped defend the Earth against Thanos (twice). Still, it is hard to believe the two are buddies. Indeed, there may be more than just Atlanteans that the new Black Panther will have to face in the upcoming "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Unleash the white gorilla

Speaking with Collider, Winston Duke talked about M'Baku's position as a villain in the MCU, though he doesn't think of the character strictly as a villain.

"They're all so complex that I always just call them antagonists. They just want different stuff, and they'll go head-to-head with our 'heroes' to get what they want. And Marvel does such a good job of making their antagonists so palatable and worthy of redemption. M'Baku understands the complexity of the situation. In that way, his mind is always open, and it's always working. I'm really excited for people to see the complexity inside this movie."

Though the plot is kept heavily under wraps, we have heard some things about M'Baku's role in the sequel. Early this year there were reports that Winston Duke would have an "expanded role" in "Wakanda Forever." Meanwhile, Duke has been slowly teasing the evolution of M'Baku, and how the events of the Blip changed him. "The Jabari are now full-fledged members of Wakanda," the actor said. "M'Baku was a part of every single conflict; every event, and I don't think they could really exist in isolation anymore."

Of course, with the big question of "Wakanda Forever" being who is taking over the title of Black Panther, M'Baku is one of the obvious choices, what with his formidable appearance and experience in leading one of the major tribes. Even if he doesn't end up in the suit, with the changes brought to Wakanda by the opening of the borders, it would make sense for M'Baku to have more of a leadership position with the country, especially once it enters a war with Atlantis. 

An M'Baku spin-off?

But could we see a full on M'Baku spin-off? We would love to see it, and so would Duke. As he said earlier this year, "the Jabari-Lands are such a rich space of culture within Wakanda that it would be really cool to explore that," Duke continued, "I like the idea of what M'Baku would be like, out in the world. That would be pretty cool because he's not a character that we usually see exploring. I think his type of code of honor would be pretty cool to see interact with so many other things."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" will hit theaters on November 11, 2022.