Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review & Post Credits Reveal

Legacy is a heavy burden to carry — especially for super heroes. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) established a Marvel film that broke barriers and inspired fans. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) continues that tradition.

As the last entry in the MCU’s Phase Four, and the first Black Panther film without Chadwick Boseman, Wakanda Forever is a story about honoring what came before and embracing what comes next.

The film introduces key concepts for the next phases of the MCU, especially with Namor and the Talokanil, and reveals how the Black Panther will return. Here’s our Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review and analysis.

Warning: Spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ahead.

Honoring Chadwick Boseman

The film begins with a chaotic scene in Shuri’s lab. She’s rushing to print a synthetic Heart-Shaped Herb to save T’Challa, who is dying from an illness. Despite her best efforts, and the help of her AI called Griot, T’Challa passes away before she can get him the herb.

Though the king’s death is off screen, his presence is felt during Wakanda’s memorial for their fallen leader. The nation mourns T’Challa in a beautiful tribute. But once the ceremony is over, a year passes and his family still struggles with their grief.

A New Source of Vibranium

A driving force behind the conflict in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is resource exploitation. Specifically, other UN countries want what they don’t have: Wakanda’s Vibranium. Wakanda stands firm in their policy not to trade, citing the violence and atrocities they imagine will come from giving Vibranium to military tacticians.

The other countries feel it is their right to also have Vibranium. Queen Ramonda points out that the only people who seek to use Vibranium for this purpose are the same people who would steal it from Wakanda. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine certainly dreams of the day she can create weapons with it.

Underwater Vibranium

At a mining site in the ocean, a new device is used to detect Vibranium. The detector was developed by Riri Williams, but the government of course wants to exploit the resource rather than protect it. Before more of the precious ore can be extracted, warriors from the sea intervene.

A siren song reaches up from the wave and lures soldiers to their deaths. Their attack is swift and their armor is also made from Vibranium — but they’re not Wakandans, they’re Talokanil.

His Enemies Call Him Namor

The ruler of Talokan, Namor, reveals himself to Queen Ramonda and Shuri with a warning: Bring him the scientist who created the Vibranium detector or Wakanda will suffer. His words don’t leave any room for nuance. He will protect his people’s Vibranium at any cost.

Shuri accompanies Okoye on a mission to MIT to rescue Riri, even though Ramonda doesn’t approve of the princess leaving Wakanda. Ramonda’s fears prove right when Shuri is abducted by Namora and Attuma’s Talokanil forces. They take Shuri and Riri to meet Namor while Ramonda strips Okoye of her Dora Milaje status and sends Nakia to rescue Shuri.

Shuri Enters Talokan

Though she’s technically a prisoner, Namor speaks to Shuri as an equal. He gives her the bracelet worn by his mother, and shows her his capital city. Shuri witnesses a people much like her own, who respect their natural wealth and work together. Talokanil are shown harvesting sea kelp trees and playing a game that resembles Pok Ta’ Pok, a ceremonial Mesoamerican ballgame.

After showing Shuri the beauty of his empire, Namor gives her an ultimatum: Join him as an ally or become his enemy.

Namor: The MCU’s First Mutant

Shuri also learns of Namor’s long history and that, unlike the rest of his people, he is a mutant. Back in the 16th century on the Yucatán Peninsula, invaders came and a shaman of Namor’s people had a vision: Eating an underwater herb could save them. The herb transformed the people into blue-skinned water breathers. Namor’s mother was unsure but she ate it to save her unborn son.

In the womb, the herb mutated Namor. When he was born, he could breathe underwater and on the surface. He had increased strength and could fly due to a pair of wings on each foot. His mother’s dying wish was to be buried in her homeland, but when Namor returned he encountered Spanish colonizers. They had enslaved those who looked like him so he killed all the invaders. A terrified priest called him “un niño sin amor,” a child without love, and in that moment he became Namor, a mutant with no love for the surface world.

Talokan vs Wakanda

Namor stays true to his word. He told Shuri that Talokan would destroy Wakanda if they refused an alliance. When Wakanda doesn’t meet his terms, waves begin to flood the nation’s capital. All of Wakanda’s forces can barely defend the city from Namor and his army. In the fight, Queen Ramonda drowns while saving Riri from Namor’s water bombs.

Whatever seeds of trust that grew between Namor and Shuri are now nothing but a memory. Namor promises he’ll return in a week to finish Wakanda’s destruction. In the meantime, Shuri uses T’Challa’s DNA and Namor’s bracelet, constructed of the Talokanil underwater herb, to successfully reconstruct Wakanda’s Heart-Shaped Herb.

Shuri’s Rage and Acceptance

Shuri spends the majority of the film filled with very understandable anger. However, like she tells Ramonda in the bush, she can suppress it if she doesn’t think about her brother for too long. Shuri possesses an overwhelming desire to burn the world. She wants vengeance, but won’t act out of anger. Her feelings are sanitized and controlled. However, all bets are off when she finally creates the synthetic Heart-Shaped Herb.

Here’s the thing. Shuri buries herself in her cold and calculating scientific research in order to ignore her emotions. It is both unfortunate and tragic that the moment she creates a medical miracle, the floodgates of her emotions finally open — because now she’s hurting beyond words and powerful beyond imagination. Thus she channels all of that energy into her war against Namor.

Black Panther Shuri

And the new Black Panther is … Shuri! In Marvel Comics, Shuri is the next to inherit the mantle when her brother falls ill. It’s also important to note there was no contest. Shuri drank the Heart-Shaped Herb, and there was never any question about her right to it. But there was a long emotional journey before it happened.

The Panther’s Legacy

Wakanda loses a beloved Black Panther with T’Challa. Their Heart-Shaped Herb crop was destroyed and they have no way of creating a new protector. Shuri, who shirks at tradition at every turn, isn’t trying to create a synthetic herb to recreate the Panther. She doesn’t care. In her mind, the Panther died with T’Challa.

In an extremely compelling move on Ryan Coogler’s part, Shuri sees Erik Killmonger in the Ancestral Plane after she takes the synthetic herb.

Erik Killmonger

“You chose me,” Erik explains when Shuri lashes out. Ultimately, Erik appeals to Shuri’s rage. Likewise, Erik and Namor share many similarities. Both declared war upon the world for the very real injustices and prejudices they faced. But Erik is here instead to appeal to his cousin’s desire for revenge against Namor.

When Shuri emerges from the Ancestral Plane, she is devastated. She shouts that her family abandoned her. That narrative is easier for her to understand than acknowledging Erik’s point of view. However, we later see the rest of her conversation with Erik — one in which she declares she is not her brother, and she will kill Namor for his actions. Shuri also uses Erik’s Black Panther mask and modified suit. Even after death, Erik is influencing his family members to betray themselves.

Wakanda Battles Talokan

Earlier, Shuri shared a prototype armor with Okoye, though the general disapproved. Now, with an impending attack, Okoye accepts Shuri’s new Midnight Angel armor, which she also gives to Aneka. Together with Nakia and Riri, Shuri lures Namor’s forces with a decoy Vibranium detector. A bitter battle ensues between the two mighty empires.

Both Shuri and Namor give in to their hatred. The difference between these two, however, is how they confront this rage. They fight, and it’s a brutal and unsettling action sequence. With Riri Williams’ help, Shuri dehydrates Namor enough to gain the upper hand in their fight.

Moving On and Acknowledging Ancestors

Luckily, Shuri does not take Erik’s teachings to heart. She sees Ramonda at a pivotal moment in her final fight. “Show him who you are,” Ramonda tells her daughter, paying homage to the Warrior Falls scene with her son in Black Panther.

This is significant for a few different reasons. One, Shuri didn’t actually believe in the Ancestral Plane until she accessed it, which means she is now open to its existence and reach. Two, it shows how Shuri has grown as both a character and a person. Even if she doesn’t value her culture and religion in the same way as her parents, she can acknowledge its existence. Shuri realizes that their mutual vengeance will only hurt their people rather than solve anything. She spares Namor.

Talokan Vibranium and Other Future MCU Impacts

A truce is reached. Wakanda and Talokan will work together … for now. When Namora questions her leader about the truce, Namor assures her that the alliance is strategic. After all, they have Vibranium too. While Shuri forgives, Namor refuses to forget her transgressions.

Meanwhile, Wakanda celebrates. Aneka and Ayo share a kiss, the capital city rebuilds, and Riri returns to the U.S., where she will soon become Ironheart. Thanks to Shuri, Wakanda will again have access to the Heart-Shaped Herb. But Shuri must still process her brother’s memory.

Black Panther Mid-Credits Scene

There’s only one extra scene during the credits. Shuri visits Nakia in Haiti, where she finally completes the mourning ritual she began with her mother. This act bridges the gap between her non-belief and her mother’s rituals. While Shuri must leave Wakandan soil to find her family, she will always return to her home. As Shuri watches the white robes burn, Nakia asks to join her. But a small boy is at Nakia’s side.

Nakia tells Shuri that this is Toussaint, her child with T’Challa. They kept the boy a secret but, as he tells his auntie, he knows that his Wakandan name is T’Challa. After the credits are done, a message affirms that Black Panther will return.

What do you think is in store for Black Panther’s legacy? Share your thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with other Marvel fans in the Let Your Spoiler Sideshow: MCU Phase Four Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!