Within the first few minutes of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” King T’Challa dies of an unknown sickness, and the film has the unenviable task of dealing with the devastating loss of actor Chadwick Boseman.
His death has far-reaching consequences, as Shuri (Letitia Wright) and her family deal with the loss of their king while also coming into conflict with Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and the country of Talokan.
Shuri comes to terms with her loss and accepts her position as the new leader of Wakanda’s warriors.
Yet, writer Joe Robert Cole recently revealed to Rolling Stone that the identity of T’Challa’s successor was a major issue of discussion before filming began, as the team sought to uncover the character path that would have the greatest emotional impact.
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The author elaborated: “We’d toss about concepts, speculating on what may happen next and which decisions would have the greatest impact on the plot, asking ourselves: which path would lead to the best outcome? Also, what happens to these people once the credits roll? There’s no doubt that M’Baku took a few blows to the head.”
Black Panther spy Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, was in the running, as verified by Cole: “That was tossed about and slammed around! Undoubtedly, she became a target of name-calling.”
Given her background as a spy, Nakia would have made for a compelling Black Panther, but it’s evident that her arc was mostly meant to foreshadow the eventual discovery of T’Challa’s son, Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun).
Cole went on to suggest that, given her backstory, it makes the most sense for Shuri to take up the suit after her brother.
The author continued: “Shuri becomes Black Panther in the comics quite naturally. However, you test the waters with a wide range of concepts. And all you want to do is make the right call and advance the plot.”
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