In the MCU’s newest phase, introducing new heroes seems to be the norm. Now that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the MCU’s most imminent release, Marvel fans everywhere are wondering which new heroes or villains will be introduced next. One rumor suggests that it could be White Tiger, but who is White Tiger, and is he related to Black Panther?
While their names might be similar, White Tiger and Black Panther are completely different characters in the Marvel comic books. However, White Tiger is in the Black Panther comic book series, so if he is joining the MCU, now could be his time. So is White Tiger coming to the MCU?
White Tiger isn’t related to Black Panther by blood, but their characters share one major similarity.
There are two different versions of White Tiger in the Marvel comic books, both of whom could be tied to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. One alias is Hector Ayala, an immigrant to New York City from Puerto Rico who found tiger amulets that had been discarded by the Sons of the Tigers at Empire State University (a fictional NYC university). With the amulets, he could transform into the superhuman White Tiger, with superhuman strength and martial arts abilities.
However, he was first considered a suspect in crimes throughout the city and had a difficult go on his path to becoming a hero. Eventually, he received assistance from Iron Fist and Shang-Chi in a big hero blowout and was able to align himself with the heroes. He even befriended Spider-Man at ESU, and together, they fought against criminals in the city.
But Hector’s version of White Tiger with the amulets, which passes down to his descendants, most notably Ava Ayala, has little to do with Black Panther. On the other hand, a character named Kevin “Kasper” Cole becomes an associate of the Black Panther named White Tiger in the comic books.
Kasper’s White Tiger actually gets his powers by aligning with Black Panther’s sworn enemy, Killmonger, who gives Kasper a synthetic version of the herbs that give Black Panther his powers.
Kasper is an officer in the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau in the Black Panther: Black and White comic book series. He wants to be promoted to homicide detective. Half Jewish and half Black, he was nicknamed Kasper after Casper the Friendly Ghost for his light skin in comparison to his father, “Black” Jack. Pitched by the comic book writer Christopher Priest as “a dark satire of Spider-Man,” he clearly shares some similarities with Hector’s White Tiger.
However, Kasper’s White Tiger is much more deeply connected to the Black Panther. He originally steals Black Panther’s suit to gather evidence, which brings him face-to-face with Black Panther.
Kasper oscillates between hero and villain, wearing his vibranium White Tiger suit that rivals Black Panther’s. While White Tiger and Black Panther aren’t typically related by blood, White Tiger wouldn’t exist without Black Panther.
It’s possible that White Tiger could be in the MCU in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.’
Based on a 2020 casting call, many MCU leakers and theorists believed that at least a portion of the upcoming film will take place in Mexico. At the time, it was believed that Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta was in talks to play a villain named Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Prince of Atlantis. In the comics, Namor floods Wakanda, so this is a definite possibility.
However, according to Marvel leaker Mikey Sutton (via Small Screen), “A source told me that Marvel Studios was discussing White Tiger to be the main foe for T’Challa prior to Chadwick Boseman’s passing.” He believes that if Shuri takes on the Black Panther mantle, she may not be adept enough to defeat Namor, so a more docile villain such as White Tiger could be her adversary, and Tenoch could still play the new superhuman.
It is possible that the MCU will combine both versions of the White Tiger — Kasper Cole and Hector Ayala — into a hybrid White Tiger character who is both Latino and a direct adversary to Black Panther. If so, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could be his introduction … and a way to tie Spider-Man back into this newest MCU phase.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to release in theaters on Nov. 11, 2022.