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Is Winston Duke the new Black Panther? A Pay Raise Could Mean More for M’Baku

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BY January 19, 2022

The next Marvel actor to take the mantle of the Black Panther has big shoes to fill. After the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, it became clear that the role would be one that we would be watching with great interest if only to ensure that it pays tribute to Boseman’s version. Fans started anticipating Letitia Wright’s Shuri to take over, especially after reports that she would be the lead in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. However, new information has us asking a big question. Is Winston Duke the new Black Panther? The M’Baku actor has apparently negotiated a pretty big pay raise for the Black Panther sequel, so let’s take a look at what this means for Winston Duke.

Is Winston Duke the New Black Panther? Why M’Baku Could Be King

A few things influence how much an actor gets paid for a role. More money often comes with greater star power or a lot of screentime. Winston Duke would have signed contracts detailing his pay for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before filming began, but a source has claimed that he’s recently negotiated and will be taking home more money for his role of M’Baku. This is thanks to an “expanded role” in the film. It’s unclear how much he will be making (and how much he was slated to make from his first contract.) Chadwick Boseman earned $2 million for Black Panther, though, so the negotiation is sure to lead to a good pay day.

Fans will remember Winston Duke’s M’Baku from Black Panther. He is the leader of the Jabari Tribe, a group that has strayed further into the depths of Wakanda. He challenged Boseman’s Black Panther for the throne of Wakanda but lost. M’Baku would later help Wakanda fight against Killmonger and Thanos.

winston duke pay raise Image via Marvel Studios.

What Happened With Shuri Before The Winston Duke Pay Raise?

In addition to the pay raise for Winston Duke, wondering if Winston Duke is the new Black Panther seems more reasonable when you think about what is going on with Letitia Wright. Shuri is the sister to the old king, and her confidence and intelligence could easily translate to the throne. But off-camera, actress Letitia Wright is rumored to be leaving the MCU thanks to Disney vaccine mandates.

Letitia Wright is guaranteed to star in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever especially after the film took a production pause while she recovered from on-set injuries. But if this is her last MCU film, then we’re sure that Marvel Studios wants to find someone who will be sticking around. It seems like Winston Duke could make M’Baku be the one to stick for future Black Panther films.

The months-long gap in filming also seems like good timing for the pay increase, as the studio would have had plenty of time to re-write the film’s ending.

Letitia Wright Leaving the MCU SHuri Black Panther Marvel Studios 1 Image via Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Releases in Theaters on November 11th, 2022.

We won’t be surprised if Letitia Wright’s Shuri has a big role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever only to leave M’Baku/Winston Duke as the new Black Panther. He’s certainly a talented enough actor to have such an increased role, and a pay raise means that the studio sees it, too.

Readers, let us know your thoughts on Winston Duke potentially becoming the new Black Panther. Even if he doesn’t take the throne, we’ll definitely be seeing more of him than the studio initially expected. We can’t wait to find out what that means for Wakanda!

Featured image via Marvel Studios.

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Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.

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