Is Shuri the new Black Panther in 'Wakanda Forever'?

Is Shuri the new Black Panther in 'Wakanda Forever'?
'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's production still and official poster (IMDb)

Despite the two trailers, the question ahead of 'Wakanda Forever' is if Shuri the new Black Panther. Much of it has to do with how the movie shaped up after the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, and the fact that Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed that T'Challa would not be recast. Naturally, the focus shifted to Letitia Wright's character who plays the late actor's younger sister in the movie. The sequel is set to release on November 11 and perhaps that's when the world will know if Shuri is indeed the new protector of Wakanda, or is it a one-off with perhaps a trademark Marvel twist in the offing.

The official synopsis of the movie reads. "In Marvel Studios 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,' Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda."


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Note that the logline doesn't explain who the new Black Panther is. For the longest time, Nyong'O's Nakia was speculated to take over, but enough clues, such as the tribal design on the new suit linking to Shuri's make her a strong contender to be the superhero the fictional MCU paradise needed. Plus, the comics have shown that she has taken the mantle on multiple occasions.

Then there's the decision of not recasting the late actor, meaning there had to be someone in the existing set of characters to take over. While there was some hope that Wakanda may call back Erik Killmonger, bringing him back from the grave would mean a major rewrite and an overhaul.  So did Namor and Co resurrect his body? He was buried at sea. All things considered, it does appear that Shuri is the new Black Panther, and for good or for worse, that's the path the MCU has chosen. How it pans out remains to be seen.

'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' releases November 11 in the US.

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