There are few things Rihanna can't do. In her 32 short years on this earth, the global superstar has already proven herself to be a skilled singer, dancer, beauty magnate, skincare enthusiast, lingerie designer, and a connoisseur of luxury fashion. In the near future, she's even venturing into homeware! And let's not forget that the ANTi singer can also act. Her shapeshifting dance routine in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets stands out as the most memorable scene in that otherwise bonkers sci-fi fantasy and I'm sure I'm not the only who watched Donald Glover's Guava Island just because she was in it. Her turn as Nine Ball in Ocean's 8? Also canon.
But is Rihanna ready for the Big Leagues of Hollywood? Or in plainer terms: is Rihanna ready for a spot in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe? The true marker of Hollywood superstardom these days is a role in one of Disney's ridiculously popular superhero franchises, and according to some recent rumors, there's reason to believe that Rihanna is ready for the leap with a role in the upcoming sequel to the box office-smashing Black Panther.
The rumors follow The Hollywood Reporter's recent confirmation that filming on Black Panther II is set to resume sometime around July 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. This follows a major delay following the untimely death of titular lead Chadwick Boseman, an unfortunate event that understandably inspired director Ryan Coogler to slow down, confront his grief, and reconsider his plans for how best to move forward without his star. (Early reports confirmed that Marvel would not use CGI to replicate Boseman's likeness on camera.)
In addition to an update on a possible start to filming, this weekend's report also confirmed Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta would join the cast as "one of the antagonists." No other actors were named by sources, but now, when you Google search "Black Panther 2 Cast," you might be surprised at what you find. Amidst expected names like Michael B. Jordan (who played the titular character's chief nemesis Killmonger), Letitia Wright (who played his brainy younger sister Shuri), Lupita Nyong'o (the love of his life Nakia), Angela Bassett (his loving and determined mother Ramonda), and Winston Duke (the Jabari Tribe leader M'Baku), there is one that is somewhat less expected: Rihanna. Of course, this reveal sent the internet into a tizzy.
While neither the pop star nor a representative for Marvel have said anything to indicate that there is any truth to this rumor, the idea of Rihanna in a Marvel film, particularly Black Panther, isn't too crazy a notion. As one of the biggest names in the world (across industries), Rihanna would be a huge get for the MCU and a vital life source for Black Panther as they try to carve out a new way forward without the Black Panther himself. And as one of the most recognizable Black women in the word, who better for the job than Rihanna?
I guess we'll just have to wait a little while longer for that new album.