Spoilers! How 'Wakanda Forever' sets up a new Black Panther for Marvel's present and future
Spoiler alert! The following post discusses important plot points and the ending of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” so beware if you haven’t seen it.
Marvel’s new “Black Panther” sequel honors an icon of the past, bestows the mantle on a new superhero for the present and also plants seeds for a namesake in the future.
The movie opens with the scientifically gifted youngster trying to save her dying big bro’s life by creating a synthetic version of the heart-shaped herb that gave him extraordinary abilities as the Black Panther.
Shuri initially refuses to take on the Black Panther mantle, but after her mother is killed in an attack by Namor’s Talokan people, she changes her mind and creates an herb that works, giving her superheroic skills.
Shuri goes to the Ancestral Plane, she's surprised to see her cousin Killmonger, who died at the end of the first “Panther.”
In final battle with Namor, wearing a high-tech supersuit of her own design, Shuri opts to follow in her brother’s footsteps, sparing her enemy’s life and taking on the Black Panther name.
Let's talk some truth: Marvel made the right call to not recast T’Challa after Boseman’s death from colon cancer in 2020 and instead expand Shuri’s role in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As the MCU explores the multiverse, introduces a new big bad in Kang the Conqueror and careens toward a pair of upcoming “Avengers” movies – “The Kang Dynasty” in 2025 and “Secret Wars”. This new Black Panther can be deployed in a bunch of different situations.
But “Wakanda Forever” also sets up a Panther-in-training: In an end-credits scene, Shuri travels to Haiti to visit her friend Nakia, who introduces her 6-year-old son, Toussaint. The boy’s real name is Prince T’Challa, like his father.
Usually, Marvel’s post-credit stingers set up what’s to come in the MCU, though this scene is obviously meant to honor Boseman’s hero and remind that his presence will long be felt in this constantly expanding world.