Everyone knows you don’t leave the cinema when the ‘Directed By…’ credit shows up on the screen, at least if you’ve just watched a film from Marvel Studios.
Since 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel has included a scene at the end (or something in the middle of) the end credits to tease what’s to come. They create hype and have become essential watching to keep up with Marvel’s shenanigans.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is no different. The only credits scene they have happens in the middle of the credits, and boy, oh boy, it’s a biggie.
Consider this a warning; the following will discuss the plot details of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in detail, so if you haven’t seen it, bookmark this page and come back to it when you have.
Who is the new Black Panther?
After the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel needed a new Black Panther. The character, whose importance is almost insurmountable within the modern cultural landscape, was always more significant than just one actor, but Boseman gracefully embodied everything Black Panther represented.
In Wakanda Forever, Shuri attempts to recreate the heart-shaped flower that gives the Black Panther his powers, hoping it will save T’Challa, who is dying of an undisclosed illness. Shuri can’t duplicate it to save her brother, and Wakanda is left with no Black Panther.
Later in the film, Shuri successfully recreates it and becomes the new Black Panther, complete with a new suit. She forms a touchy, shaky new alliance with Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and finally moves on from the overwhelming grief T’Challa’s death has brought.
What happens in the mid-credits scene in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
At the end of Wakanda Forever, Shuri travels to Haiti to reunite with Nakia. On a beach, Shuri is finally ready to burn her funeral garment, which she could not do earlier. This signifies her ability to forgive and eventually move on from T’Challa’s death.
At that moment, Nakia appears behind her with a small child, introducing the child as her and T’Challa’s offspring.
Nakia and T’Challa had agreed to send the child to grow up outside of Wakanda to save him from the pressures of being an heir to the throne. Queen Ramonda also met the child.
The child tells Shuri his name, Prince T’Challa.
What does this mean for the future of Black Panther?
A third film has not yet been officially greenlit, although Kevin Feige did admit having talked to Ryan Coogler about it. Coogler directed both Black Panther films and has collaborated with actor Michael B. Jordan in all four of his feature films, Fruitvale Station and Creed being the first two before Jordan took on the role of Killmonger in the two Black Panther films.
It seems that by introducing Nakia and T’Challa’s son, Marvel is introducing us to a new heir to the Wakandan throne and a future Black Panther.
The child seems awfully young in Wakanda Forever, but we could be looking at a new Avenger.
With Shuri the current Black Panther, but seemingly not the ruler of Wakanda – M’Baku is seen challenging someone at the end of the film – it’s fair to assume Marvel would keep actress Letitia Wright in the role for at least a couple of movies.
Wright has proven to be a controversial figure. She has previously expressed some anti-vaccination views online (in a now-deleted tweet). The topic seems to be an awkward one, as is evident from this Variety article in which the journalist couldn’t get a straight answer on whether Wright was vaccinated against Covid-19 for the filming of Wakanda Forever as was reportedly required by the studio.
With this in mind, perhaps Marvel is looking further into the future to a new Black Panther to move the focus (including the media) away from Wright, whose performance in Wakanda Forever is phenomenal.
How does this affect the narrative of Wakanda Forever?
The introduction of Prince T’Challa seemingly undermines the entire narrative of Wakanda Forever.
Coogler’s film, for almost the entirety of its mammoth 161-minute runtime, focuses on how the people of Wakanda can move on from losing their king, son, protector and friend.
The film, specifically, bravely, focuses on the women of Wakanda, with Shuri, Queen Ramonda, Okoye, Nakia and RiRi Williams, one of the new characters, in particular focus here. Introducing Shuri as the new Black Panther is a bold move, even if it was the most logical one.
So the introduction of T’Challa’s son, a new heir, seems to completely disregard all the emotion and power that Coogler’s film otherwise holds. It seemingly celebrates women and painstakingly shows how grief affects us and how we must overcome it.
It’s a frustrating scene, for sure, even if it’s also an exciting one.