After finally getting to don the suit, Letitia Wright reveals that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever originally included two Black Panthers. The Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel saw Wright’s Shuri and her family and eponymous country grappling with the loss of King T’Challa, tying into the real-life death of actor Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer in 2020. Following the death of her mother, Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda, and the impending war with Tenoch Huerta’s Namor and the Talokan, Shuri was able to recreate the heart-shaped herb, using it to become Wakanda’s new Black Panther, succeeding her late brother, though this wasn’t always the intent.
While appearing on the Empire Movie Podcast, Letitia Wright opened up about becoming Wakanda’s new protector in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The MCU star confirmed that not only was it always the plan for Shuri to get her own suit, but that the recently released sequel originally included two Black Panthers with her and T’Challa, though this changed following the death of Chadwick Boseman. See what Wright shared below:
It was bittersweet. Shuri was always gonna do it. But it was gonna be done in a different way where her brother was gonna be alongside her, really explore that, like the comic books, the ways that T’Challa and Shuri would be Black Panther alongside each other and try to figure out how to defend their nation. But unfortunately that’s not how it panned out. I knew the responsibility, I knew the weight of it, but it was just bittersweet, something I struggled with a lot. But I’m extremely proud of myself, had great support.
Could Multiple Black Panthers Still Happen In The Future?
In the lead up to the film’s release, various theories circulated among MCU fans about multiple Black Panthers being included in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to fill the gap left by Boseman’s T’Challa, all of which primarily pointed to Wright’s Shuri being at least one of them. Considering this was the case in Marvel’s comics, it made the most sense for Shuri to take on the mantle, while audiences debated whether Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Danai Gurira’s Okoye or Winston Duke’s M’Baku would also don the suit. The early Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailers memorably kept the identity of the new hero under wraps, though the inclusion of Shuri’s gauntlets and slimmer physique led many to believe, correctly, that she would become Wakanda’s new protector.
Though Shuri ultimately became the sole Black Panther in the film, the question does remain as to whether the MCU’s future could see multiple incarnations of the hero exist. Given Shuri was able to reconstruct the heart-shaped herb utilizing an herb from the Talokan by the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the door is open for another to take on the mantle and become Wakanda’s protector. This was even teased near the end of the MCU sequel as M’Baku sought to challenge for the throne in Shuri’s absence, establishing him as the King of Wakanda and therefore opening the door for him to become a new Black Panther.
However, while the first film indicated that the power must be stripped from the prior wearer of the suit for such a challenge, M’Baku’s respect for Shuri and vice versa in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as the two grieved T’Challa and Ramonda’s deaths could see the former allow the latter to keep her powers and suit. Though with M’Baku already a powerful being without the abilities of the Black Panther, it would be interesting to see him forgo ingesting the heart-shaped herb all together and create an alliance with Shuri to rule over Wakanda together, or have her serve as its protector while he is their ruler. Considering the film also introduces T’Challa’s son Toussaint, there could be a whole family of Black Panthers coming in the MCU’s future.