New Black Panther: Wakanda Forever promotional images seem to support a theory that Letitia Wright's Shuri will be taking up the mantle of the Black Panther. After the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, Marvel Studios and Ryan Coogler revealed that they weren't going to recast the role of T'Challa in the MCU. This decision meant that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would focus more on characters such as Shuri and Okoye (Danai Gurira), but MCU fans were left questioning who would become Wakanda's new superhero.
Black Panther was a smash-hit for Marvel Studios, giving audiences their first real look at Wakanda, a hidden, technologically advanced country that has access to massive resources of sought-after vibranium. Boseman portrayed T'Challa, the Prince of Wakanda and the Black Panther, a hero given his powers after consuming a vibranium-infused plant. When his leadership is challenged by the return of his long-lost cousin, T'Challa fights to regain the throne of Wakanda and introduce the country to the rest of the world. After Avengers: Endgame, Boseman and the rest of the cast were expected to return, but Wakanda Forever was thrown into disarray after the actor's sudden death.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: When Will The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer Release?
Viewers were reassured that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would still go ahead, albeit with some restructuring, and that T'Challa would not be recast. Instead, it was revealed that the sequel would delve into Wakandan subcultures, putting more focus on characters who found themselves with less screentime in Black Panther. With a November 11, 2022 release date, Wakanda Forever's promotional material has featured characters in proposed costumes for the film, including Tenoch Huerta, rumored to be the MCU's Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Wright and Gurira as Shuri and Okoye. It's the representation of Shuri's costume, in particular, that has Black Panther fans speculating that she will take up the mantle, as it seems to be reminiscent of T'Challa's original outfit.
Will Shuri Become The New Black Panther In Wakanda Forever?
Shuri and Okoye feature together in a poster promoting the tie-in merchandise for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While Okoye is wearing a costume reminiscent of the Dora Milaje uniform from Black Panther, Shuri is featured in an unusual change of costume from what viewers are familiar with, wearing a purple athletic tracksuit set. While the purple color scheme is more regal for the Wakandan Princess, and matches that of T'Challa's superhero costume, the costume change seems to suggest that Shuri might also have a change of role in the film, with MCU fans questioning whether Shuri will become the Black Panther.
Since it can be assumed that the mantle of Black Panther in the MCU is passed down in the regal bloodline (unless they are challenged), it makes sense that Shuri would be the next candidate to become the superhero. The new costume for the character suggests that Shuri will be doing a lot more athletic movement in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, compared to the behind-the-scenes role she took in Black Panther. Whether Shuri can fit into the superhero role as naturally as her brother remains to be seen.
Not much information has been revealed about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. However, there are rumors that the sequel will introduce the long-awaited civilization of Atlantis in the MCU. More details will surely be confirmed after the releases of Thor: Love & Thunder and Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. With the November release date itching closer, audiences won't have to wait too long to see how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will fare without Boseman at the helm.