With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever out in theaters worldwide, the world now knows who has been chosen to pick up the mantle left behind by the late Chadwick Boseman.
The mysterious identity of this new hero was one of the biggest questions going into the film. Rumors prior to the movie suggested that multiple people might be trying out Bast’s powers within the runtime of the film.
But before the answer to that big question was given, the movie first had to tackle how T’Challa’s fate would be explained in the MCU.
The Loss of King T’Challa
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Marvel Studios found a respectful and perfect way of dealing with the death of Chadwick Boseman in the context of the MCU.
In the opening seconds of the movie, audiences are informed how T’Challa is sick with a mysterious virus—one that remains unnamed throughout the whole project. Shuri is desperately trying to cure him, but the one thing she needs is something Wakanda lost at the end of the first movie: the Heart-Shaped Herb.
To make up for that, Shuri attempts to recreate the herb artificially. However, it’s a complicated procedure, so she’s only able to create one that has an extremely slim chance of working.
Sadly, before she is even able to try it, Queen Ramonda walks in and informs Shuri that her brother has passed on.
Who Is the New Black Panther?
While she isn’t able to create the herb in time to save T’Challa, Shuri saves her people from Namor right in the nick of time. In fact, her enemy is what gives her what the hero needs.
As a token of respect, during her visit to Talokan, Namor gives Shuri a bracelet from his mother. The piece of jewelry is adorned with green stones—which also happen to have traces of Talokan’s own magical herb.
The data that it provides Shuri in her lab later in the film is enough for Shuri to recreate a near-perfect replica of her nation’s biggest treasure.
After consuming it and confronting Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger in the Ancestral Plane, Shuri becomes the new Black Panther.
The Legacy of the Black Panther Lives
By the movie's end, peace between Namor and Shuri’s nations is forged.
T’Challa’s sister remains the Black Panther, while M’Baku is given the throne of Wakanda.
Most interestingly, more Heart-Shaped Herbs are created and planted (far from the throne room where they were previously burned in Killmonger). This opens the door for Marvel to switch up who holds the mantle.
Alternatively, with all these new herbs, Wakanda can have multiple Black Panthers active at once if they ever desire.
Perhaps in future storylines, the distance Shuri will potentially keep between herself and Wakanda will make some upset, leading to calls for a new protector.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters worldwide.