This article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
It’s finally here – the long awaited sequel to Black Panther has hit our screens but make sure you bring tissues as it’s an incredibly moving tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Wakanda Forever had a lot of questions to answer, from who will be the next Black Panther to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will handle the death of King T’Challa, so it’s no surprise that the runtime is over two and a half hours.
We see the people of Wakanda learn how to process their grief and move forward, with the ending and mid-credits scene representing the closing of one chapter and the beginning of the next.
It’s worth noting here that Wakanda Forever deviates from the usual MCU formula, only featuring one mid-credits scene and nothing post-credits, in tribute to Boseman.
And so, the question remains – what does the mid-credits scene mean for the MCU going forward? We dive into it.
Before we take a look at the mid-credits scene itself, let’s briefly recap the ending of the film which also looks towards the future of the MCU.
Despite being consumed by rage and wanting to seek revenge for the murder of her mother Ramonda, as the new Black Panther Shuri decides to show Namor mercy telling him “vengeance has consumed us, let it not consume our people”.
The pair agree to a truce calling off their armies, also making promises to each other – Namor will no longer attempt to kill Riri Williams and Wakanda will seek to protect Talocan from interference from the surface world.
Talking of Riri, since she is no longer being pursued by a sadistic mutant, the young tech genius heads back to MIT to continue her studies – with her solo Disney+ series debuting next year, we are guessing things don’t exactly go back to normal for Ironheart.
And talking of Disney+ shows, remember that rumour that Okoye was going to get her own series and Wakanda Forever more than sets that up. Here, she goes from being the head of the Dora Milaje, to civilian stripped off her duties, finally becoming a Midnight Angel – a new group within the Wakanda army that sees its soldiers wearing winged stealth suits armed with weapons.
There seems to be much more to come from Okoye after this huge story arc…
The last we see of Okoye here is her visit to Wakanda’s “favourite coloniser”, Agent Everett Ross, busting him out of police custody following his arrest for secretly communicating with Ramonda.
Of course it was Val who put the handcuffs on Ross, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s mysterious government agent who has spent most of her appearances in the MCU so far recruiting villains presumably for the Thunderbolts team (that movie releases in 2024, after all).
Wakanda Forever shows that Val has a senior role in the American government, and with Okoye freeing Ross, our guess is that they will team up in an attempt to take her down.
Bringing it back to the kingdom of Talocan, not everyone there is happy about their truce with Wakanda but Namor assures them that the nation is a powerful ally to have.
It is his expectation that when the likes of America come for Wakanda, they will reach out to Talocan for help and together the two kingdoms can destroy the surface world.
That’s clearly still his goal and we can potentially expect to see more of Namor in the future.
Finally we have Wakanda. At the coronation ceremony to crown the new Queen of Wakanda, M’Baku of course challenges Shuri to the throne but she doesn’t turn up – the implication perhaps is that she is happy for someone else to be leader.
Instead Shuri joins Nakia in Haiti, performing a ritual she previously refused to partake in for her brother, burning the clothing she wore for Ramonda’s funeral, a representation of her processing this grief.
Although we don’t see or hear T’Challa, it is implied that Shuri can feel both his and Ramonda’s presence as the garments burn, sitting in deep reflection.
Cue the credits and Rihanna’s ballad Lift Me Up, which represents Shuri’s capacity to find a way forward despite her pain.
Once the song has ended we have the mid-credits scene which picks up with Shuri and Nakia on that beach – a child joins them who Nakia introduces as the son she had with T’Challa before his passing.
The young boy has been kept hidden as T’Challa wanted his child to grow up without the pressures of the throne, but he did meet Ramonda before her death.
He tells Shuri his Haitian name is Toussaint whilst his Wakandan name is Prince T’Challa – okay seriously, where are the tissues?
It’s an emotional scene and a great way of introducing a new T’Challa without recasting Boseman’s part – following the actor’s death head honcho Kevin Feige quickly assured that the role wouldn’t be given to another actor.
As for what it means for the MCU going forward, we aren’t too sure as this moment isn’t designed to directly set up a sequel or future project, instead reminding Shuri that she will never be alone – even though he’s gone, her brother has left behind something precious.
It also once again celebrates Boseman, his legacy, and his significant impact.
Maybe we will see this child in the MCU again or maybe we won’t, given T’Challa’s wish that he grows up away from Wakanda.
If he does become a part of the MCU’s future, he could be a potential member of the Young Avengers superhero group which the franchise is clearly building towards – other members include Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie Lang, Hawkeye’s protégé Kate Bishop, and America Chavez from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
Unfortunately the comics don’t necessarily hold the answers as there the Black Panther doesn’t have a counterpart in the Young Avengers and T’Challa instead has a son in the multiverse with Storm from the X-Men.
Black Panther Will Return
What we do know for certain is that “the Black Panther will return”, which are the final words the film closes on right at the very end.
So, we can definitely expect a return to Wakanda and more of Shuri with her new mantle.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in cinemas now.