Marvel fans can start off 2023 by streaming the latest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives on Disney+ on Jan. 20. The release marks excellent timing as audiences eagerly await the next MCU film to hit theaters, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania set to debut on February 17.
Yet in the MCU, where every film is interconnected, first-time or experienced viewers can always brush up their Marvel knowledge by checking out the films and series that lead to the events of its latest entry in Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther 2: What to Watch Before
The story of Wakanda Forever is directly connected to its predecessor film of 2018’s Black Panther, with established characters such as Shuri, Nakia, Okoye, and Queen Ramonda returning from the first film. The sequel explores themes from the first film while also dealing with the passing of Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed the titular Black Panther / T’Challa in the first film and Captain America: Civil War.
Civil War not only marked the debut of Boseman’s Black Panther, but also the debut of Everett Ross, a former CIA agent and Deputy Task Force Commander that is portrayed by Martin Freeman. Ross once again reprised his role in both Black Panther and Wakanda Forever, with the character’s involvement in the MCU set in stone for the future. Freeman is set to portray Ross once more in Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion, the next series to hit Disney+ sometime in 2023.
Speaking of the Disney+ series, fans would be remiss to not revisit The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in order to familiarize themselves with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, portrayed by Julia Louis Dreyfuss. Valentina, or Val, first made her appearance in the end credits of 2020’s Black Widow, eventually returning once more in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Val is set to play a more consistent, and active, role in the MCU going forward, possibly continuing with the latest chapter in Wakanda Forever.