The Marvel Cinematic Universe is like a yearly curriculum for a class that never ends. It's usually pretty fun to study... but not everybody has time for every single movie and TV show. There are a lot these days! That said, if you watched one Marvel thing this year, it was probably Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Not caught up and/or confused about what happened at the end (and why Julia Louis Dreyfus was there, you know, for example)?Here's where everyone ended up at the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and what it means for future MCU movies and Disney+ shows.
Shuri and Namor called a truce
Wakanda Forever centered around a conflict between the hidden African nation of Wakanda and the hidden Mayan nation of Talokan. The latter is lead by the film's antagonist, the smoldering mutant Namor. At the end of the film, the two hot-headed leaders put aside their differences and embrace their similarities. As T'Challa said at the end of the first Black Panther film, "more connects us than separates us" and "in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers." However, Namor sees his surrender as a path to future world domination. Now that they have Wakanda as an ally, they can take on the surface world together.
Riri Williams went back to school
The MIT student was not, unfortunately, allowed to take her Ironheart suit with her. But considering that messing with vibranium almost got her killed, it seems like a fair compromise. (Though honestly, I think we should be looking into the MIT professor who sold her design to the U.S. government. That snitch got away scot-free!)
Riri's story will continue in 2023 on Disney+ with the series Ironheart.
Shuri is not Queen of Wakanda
At the end of the film, Shuri leaves Wakanda to visit Nakia in Haiti and properly mourn her brother and mother's passing. She is still The Black Panther and the protector of the most powerful nation in the world, but she did not succeed her mother and take the throne. Instead, M'Baku challenges for it. We're meant to believe that he will now be the King of Wakanda, as he wanted all the way back at the beginning of the first Black Panther film. Splitting up those duties is probably smart—Shuri has great instincts but still has growing to do before she becomes a great leader.
Shuri also planted more heart-shaped herb so that the legacy of the Black Panther can go on without (or perhaps even in addition) to her.
Okoye and Aneka are the Midnight Angels
In Marvel comics, the Midnight Angels are a subset of the Dora Milaje. Initially just a covert operation within the army, the Midnight Angels were reimagined in a comic by Ta-Nehisi Coates as Dora soldiers who rebelled against a sexist chieftain in the Jabari-Lands. In the comics, Aneka and her girlfriend Ayo lead the rebellion as the Midnight Angels, not Aneka and Okoye. That is a super interesting origin story. But Ryan Coogler is developing a Wakanda series for Disney+ that will probably be about the Dora Milaje, so hopefully, we'll get more Midnight Angels in that!
Martin Freeman is now a fugitive
His character, Everett Ross, was arrested by the head of the CIA—who happens to be his ex-wife. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis Dreyfus, is extraordinarily shady. She's been collecting morally gray characters in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow. She seems to love violence and chaos, and it's concerning she's that high up in the United States government. But she was not able to successfully detain her ex-husband. Ross was rescued by Okoye at the end of the film. Guess he's an official citizen of Wakanda now.
There was a mid-credits scene
After Rihanna's song finished, we cut back to Haiti where Nakia introduces Shuri to her son Toussaint. The cherubic little boy then reveals his secret name is Prince T'Challa, son of King T'Challa. Nakia quickly explains why she and Toussaint did not attend the funeral at the beginning of the film and assures Shuri that Queen Ramonda did know he existed. We're used to character reveals in the credits, but this was oddly personal. It's a lovely, final way to keep Chadwick Boseman's spirit alive in the MCU and opens up the possibility for another Black Panther named T'Challa in the future. (I've seen House of the Dragon. I know that princes sometimes want their birthright.)
A lot of Avengers have kids now. Some characters, like Hawkeye and Ant-Man, already had kids when they suited up in these movies. Then Iron Man had a daughter in Avengers: Endgame. Then Wanda created, and lost, twin boys. Then Thor adopted a daughter. Even Hulk found out he had a son. Muppet Avengers Babies, when??
There was ultimately not a post-credits scene for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. If you stuck around for the name of every key grip, production baby, and song on the soundtrack, all you saw at the end were the words "The Black Panther will return." So it sure sounds like Shuri will be in the next team-up movie, or there could be a third Black Panther movie before that happens! Typically Marvel Studios movies are planned out many years in advance, but you never know. The next Avengers movies are Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars in May 2025 and 2026, respectively, and there are a couple of unannounced films in between now and then. Either way, plenty of space for more of Shuri and Wakanda!
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