Ever since the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, the MCU’s King T’Challa and Black Panther franchise lead, speculation has swirled and rumors have percolated. What fans have been trying to figure out for over two years now is who exactly will take up the mantle of Wakanda’s protector after Boseman tragically passed away.
Could it be M’Baku, who once staked a claim to Wakanda’s throne? Or perhaps Nakia, carrying on the legacy of the Black Panther in honor of her lost love?
The latest trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever showed a distinctly feminine hero wearing the vibranium suit, which has resulted in many doubling down on their belief that it could be T’Challa’s little sister Shuri that will accept the role. But according to the stars of the feverishly-anticipated Marvel film, that may not be the case.
Wakanda Forever Actors Respond to Panther Theories
Speaking to Elle, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, reacted to the rampant speculation that Shuri will take on the mantle of the Black Panther: “We love the speculation.”
“They’re not getting all of it right!“ added co-star Danai Gurira, before Nyong’o replied, “No, they haven’t guessed it at all.”
So, could it be that Letitia Wright’s Shuri is not the one who will inherit the title from her late brother? Or could there be multiple Black Panthers in the movie?
Speaking of Wright, she says of her character “[Shuri has] a lot more responsibilities.” in the upcoming sequel. She adds:
“There is a huge maturity to her. It’s literally art imitating life because I’ve grown up so much myself in the past two years.”
Could one of those added responsibilities possibly entail donning a head-to-toe vibranium suit and protecting her country? Difficult to say for sure at this point, but the actress was sure to note that she has undergone a lot of self-improvement through portraying her character.
“She literally taught me how to process emotion. It’s been a beautiful journey sharing that with the women in this project. There’s a theme that’s following us: female empowerment, on and off screen.”
Who Will Become the Black Panther?
In all likelihood, it will, in fact, be Shuri who accepts the call and ascends to the role of the MCU’s new Black Panther, but Marvel Studios always prefers to keep details like that very close to the vest.
There is a camp, however, that subscribes to the idea that there might be more than one Panther by the film’s conclusion. Certain shots within the new trailer seem to show another character wearing a Black Panther costume that differs from the main one seen in the preview’s final shot.
Or it could simply be a misdirection on the studio’s part. After all, this is the same marketing team that refused to give away Avengers: Endgame secrets back in 2019 under any circumstances.
Whatever the case may be all will be revealed when Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the final film in the MCU’s Phase 4, will leap into theaters on November 11.