Every MCU Movie And TV Show To Watch Before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

It's that time again: a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is hitting theaters! That means we can be both excited and nervous, but also that there might be a little bit of homework involved. Perhaps you've not been keeping up with Marvel's packed release slate or maybe you simply need a refresher because it's been a while.

Considering "Black Panther" is one of the MCU's strongest and most vital films to date, expectations are understandably high for its sequel. Plus, there's the question of how Marvel Studios will fill the undeniable void left by Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing in 2020. The script for the film that would become "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" had to be completely changed and Marvel wisely chose to not recast the actor, who is utterly irreplaceable. Still, the mantle is too important to not pass on and fans have been anxiously awaiting the reveal of the next Black Panther. The film, largely serving as a tribute to Boseman by all accounts, will even break from MCU tradition and not feature an end-credits scene.

So, if you're preparing to see "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" — and why wouldn't you be? — you might be unsure of what to watch in preparation. Well, don't worry, because we've got you covered! I'll be honest, the vast disconnect between "WandaVision" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has made me wonder whether or not Marvel is still actually committed to its method of interconnected storytelling. Okay, so I'm still bitter about Wanda's fate, but in this case, certain projects will definitely give you a much fuller picture of T'Challa's story moving into the MCU's newest release. Let's look at what to watch before you head to the theater.

Captain America: Civil War

"Captain America: Civil War" turned the MCU upside down — even behind-the-scenes. Not only did the 2016 film pit our favorite heroes against each other — Team Cap for life — but it also introduced the world to Chadwick Boseman's pitch-perfect Black Panther. Marvel Studios has always had a gift for casting, but it was immediately apparent here. The actor's portrayal of T'Challa was warm but regal, both charismatic and understated. This role was always going to be important, but fans couldn't take their eyes off of Boseman, who instantly cemented Black Panther as one of the MCU's most beloved heroes.

In the film, T'Challa must grapple with losing his father, as well as the fact that bringing his murderer to justice won't be as straightforward as he thought. The death of T'Chaka (John Kani) not only propels the action of the film but also leads to T'Challa taking over as King of Wakanda, which sets his course for all the appearances that follow.

Black Panther

After T'Challa's spectacular debut in "Captain America: Civil War," it was only a matter of time before the character headlined his own movie. "Black Panther" arrived in 2018, giving fans everything they'd hoped for and more. The film, which was the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, brought the world of Wakanda and its inhabitants to brilliant life. Ryan Coogler's movie is a triumph on so many levels and its importance cannot be overstated. "Black Panther" is undoubtedly one of the MCU's finest achievements.

Aside from Boseman's captivating performance as T'Challa, "Black Panther" also gave us an incredibly compelling villain with Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). The film continued the MCU's inspired casting choices, introducing several other stellar additions to the MCU as well, including Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett. If you only have time for one thing before "Black Panther: Wakanda," make sure this is it.

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

Both T'Challa and Wakanda play a pivotal role in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame," particularly the former, though the latter is Boseman's last live-action appearance in the MCU. Released in 2018 and 2019, in both films, Black Panther and his forces make a stand alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes against a version of Thanos. Of course, one of these battles is far more successful than the other, which resulted in many of our heroes being blipped out of existence with a snap of Thanos' fingers.

This iconic moment comes straight from the comics and even though fans knew it was destined to be undone, this event sent ripples throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, the impact of these films was so great, much of Phase 4 has felt insignificant in comparison. Hopefully, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" will change this and remind fans why they loved these movies so much in the first place.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is likely to not figure too much into the plot of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which is kind of a relief since it was one of the weaker Marvel offerings from Disney+ — I say this as someone who absolutely adores both Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie), and did enjoy certain aspects of the 2021 show. Either way, the completist in me insists it be included as characters from Wakanda do appear.

The Dora Milaje show up rightfully angered after Bucky helps Zemo (Daniel Brühl) bust out of prison. Sure, Bucky had his reasons, but Zemo was responsible for the death of King T'Chaka, so he can't walk free just because he's useful at the moment. The show expanded on Bucky's White Wolf connection to Wakanda, which could be significant for the character moving forward. Aside from that, it was pretty awesome to see the Dora Milaje beat the stuffing out of John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who definitely deserved it.

What If...?

"What If...?" isn't exactly something you have to watch before "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," but it's certainly worth it to see Boseman's final appearance as T'Challa. Boseman loved exploring a different side of the character in the 2021 MCU animated series, particularly episode 2 "What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?" That shines through in his performance, which he won a posthumous Emmy for. It was this episode that featured him most prominently, but Boseman's Black Panther showed up in several other installments too, such as "What If... Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?," which featured other characters from Wakanda as well.

Like the comics they are based on, these episodes are mostly fun adventures about the roads not taken in Marvel Comics that don't affect the overall continuity of the universe. So, while not necessary for an understanding of what's going on in the "Black Panther" sequel, definitely give it a watch for Boseman's fantastic performance. The actor will be sorely missed throughout the entire multiverse.

"Black Panther" hits theaters November 11, 2022.