With Shuri taking over the Black Panther role by the end of Wakanda Forever, a lot of fans would think that she would also serve as the new queen of the secret nation. As it turns out, that isn’t the case.
As confirmed by Winston Duke in an interview with Esquire (via Looper), it’s his character M’Baku that ends up becoming the ruler of Wakanda. “Yeah, it’s kind of cool though being revealed as the king of Wakanda at the end of the movie,” Duke says, “So whatever that entails, that’s gonna be a fun one.”
To be clear, being Black Panther doesn’t mean you are immediately the ruler of Wakanda. T’Challa was already Panther in Civil War while his father was king. So now, the role of Panther belongs to Shuri, and she forfeits the leadership role by being absent during the ‘Challenge Day’ scene in the end of Wakanda Forever.
It’s kind of odd that M’Baku should become the king, seeing as he was a sub-antagonist in the first movie who wanted the throne for the Jabari tribe. Despite that, I guess he has grown as a character over the past few years, and it would be great to see M’Baku go on his own journey as he takes on the mantle of king.
For now, Marvel has sown seeds for T’Challa’s son to someday take on the throne of Wakanda, but that story might take place in the next ten years. Who knows, maybe Secret Wars can push the timeline forward and have another young T’Challa back in the spotlight, but who knows what Marvel is planning.
Catch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever now in theaters.