A NEW BLACK PANTHER is anointed in Marvel’s latest epic, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Who, exactly, is hiding behind that mask?
First and foremost, will they still be Black Panther when the villain Kang the Conqueror shows up in the upcoming Avengers film?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lays up a relatively straightforward future for Wakanda and the Black Panther mantle for the next few years, whereas the future of the MCU is known only by the top brass at Marvel Studios.
The MCU will require the return of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the release of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026.
The Black Panther will undoubtedly become one of them, but beyond that, Wakanda Forever leaves many possibilities on the table.
Discover who steps forward to lead in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and how the conclusion of the film actually sets up numerous other formidable contenders for future leadership.
WHO WILL FOREVER SERVE AS WAKANDA’S BLACK PANTHER?
The tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, played by, is subtly woven into Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Without a monarch and a Black Panther to keep the outside world at bay, Wakanda is defenceless.
Among these is Namor (Tenoch Huerta), king of the underwater realm Talokan, who threatens to destroy Wakanda in order to conceal his own country’s wealth of vibranium.
(Namor holds Wakanda responsible for putting a bullseye on his own nation’s back by announcing the existence of vibranium to the world.)
T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), goes through her own process of loss and development as she prepares to fight back.
Despite insisting at first that the Black Panther is dead, she eventually deciphers the formula for creating a synthetic version of the Heart-Shaped Herb, which Killmonger had eradicated in the first Black Panther.
At least for the time being, Shuri will be Black Panther. Wakanda Forever may be coming to an end. Still, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has backup plans in place in case Letitia Wright decides she no longer wants to be a part of the Marvel franchise (or, more realistically, if she has any more troubling opinions that Disney doesn’t want to have to do PR damage control over).
So, Who exactly is the new Black Panther?
Until Marvel says otherwise, let’s assume Shuri is still the answer. But let’s consider the alternatives. Let’s start with Winston Duke’s M’BAKU.
While M’Baku formerly had designs on the throne, his motivations were less about personal gain (he already ruled over the Jabari) and more about bringing order and prosperity to a troubled country.
M’Baku says that Wakanda requires a monarch and that he is qualified to fill that role. Wakanda Forever ends with a fresh “Challenge Day” for the throne after the threat posed by Talokan has been neutralized.
It’s unclear if M’Baku is speaking for Shuri or if Shuri is offering M’Baku some type of power, but he’s obviously not far from the throne when he once again interrupts the challenge on her behalf.
Then there’s the matter of Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) revelation that she’s actually the mother to T’Challa’s son during the mid-credits scene…
who also goes by the name “T’Challa”
It’s not hard to imagine a mature T’Challa Jr. playing Black Panther in Avengers: Secret Wars, given the MCU’s penchant for time travel, time skips, and the universe.
Basically, Marvel found a way to have a different actor play T’Challa without recasting Chadwick Boseman. Depending on your point of view, it’s either brilliant or craven.
Until the next crossover event, Shuri will most likely be playing the role of Black Panther. She could make a brief appearance or have a supporting part in a future Marvel production.
(Remember, an Ironheart series is coming to Disney+.) Only the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe know if she will remain Black Panther through Kang’s invasion.
It would be great if She-Hulk could break into K.E.V.I.N. and beg him on our behalf, but alas, she cannot.
You may now see BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER in theatres.