I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel has opened up about playing a queer character in Black Panther 2. 

In the highly anticipated Marvel film, Coel is set to play the legendary LGBTQ+ hero Aneka.

A former leader of the Dora Milaje – the team of elite warrior women sworn to protect Wakanda – the popular character has been romantically linked in the comics with Ayo, who is played by Florence Kasumba in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In a recent interview with Vogue, the Chewing Gum star revealed that she joined the film due to her character being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“That sold me on the role, the fact that my character’s queer,” she explained. “I thought, ‘I like that. I want to show that to Ghana.'” 

The 35-year-old talent also expressed her hopes that Aneka’s character will help start conversations about Ghana’s archaic anti-LGBTQ+ laws. 

In the West African nation, people caught participating in same-sex conduct could face up to 3-years in prison. The country’s conservative lawmakers have also proposed a bill that would criminalise LGBTQ+ people and allies.  

“People say, ‘Oh, it’s fine, it’s just politics.’ But I don’t think it is just politics when it affects how people get to live their daily lives,” she explained. 

“That’s why it felt important for me to step in and do that role because I know just by me being Ghanaian, Ghanaians will come.” 

Elsewhere in the interview, the film’s director Ryan Coogler praised Coel’s portrayal of Aneka, stating: “It made a lot of meta sense with Michaela being someone who is pushing the industry forward and carving out her own space.”

Wakanda Forever will see the return of Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross and Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda.

Additionally, Dominique Thorne and Tenoch Huerta will make their MCU debut as Riri Williams/Ironheart, a genius inventor who creates an Iron Man-inspired suit of armour, and Namor, the ruler of the underwater nation Talocan.

Following the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, it was announced that the role of King T’Challa would not be recast and that the film would honour the titular star’s legacy.

A synopsis for Wakanda Forever reads: “Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje, fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.

“As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be in cinemas worldwide on 11 November. 

Watch the latest trailer featuring Coel’s openly queer character Aneka here or below.