Winston Duke, a relative newcomer to the industry, may well become a big name soon enough. Variety was the first to break that story that the Person of Interest actor may have just been tapped to portray one of the villains in the Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther. If reports prove true – as of now, Marvel has yet to issue a formal statement – Duke would be vying for the role M’Baku, one of the strongest rivals for Black Panther‘s Wakanda prince T’Challa, to be portrayed by Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up). Boseman debuted his soon-to-be headlined character in this summer’s smash Captain America: Civil War.
Reportedly, Marvel has been testing various actors as of late for the role of M’Baku, with rising actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down) supposedly also in the running. The news fleshes out support that Marvel may be stacking the decks on terms of villains; Black Panther may indeed have three foes. Chief among them is likely the character of Erik Killmonger, already confirmed to be played by Michael B. Jordan (Creed) while Andy Serkis is rumored to be a part of the film as well, reprising his role of Ulysses Klaue. Speculation from Deadline suggests M’Baku (also known as Man-Ape) may simply be introduced in Black Panther before joining the dark side officially in film entries later down the road.
Black Panther is being directed by Creed‘s Ryan Coogler with a screenplay credited to Coogler and Joe Robert Cole (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story). Along with Boseman and Jordan, the ensemble cast is rounded out by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead). Duke, along with appearances on CBS’s procedural Person of Interest, has also appeared on the television Major Crimes and The Messengers; Black Panther would mark his feature debut.
Black Panther is expected to hit theaters on February 16, 2018.