In “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” director Ryan Coogler and others in charge of shaping the franchise confront the death of Chadwick Boseman head on by writing the death of his “Black Panther” character, T’challa, into the sequel. With that decision come questions unaddressed by the film’s opening funeral sequence, though. Who will succeed him? What will happen to his onscreen legacy? And how might it be shaped by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s multiversal timeline?
“Wakanda Forever’s” credits scene holds, if not answers, then at least some clues.
At the end of the film, we see Letitia Wright’s Shuri in solitude on a beach in Haiti, burning ceremonial robes to honor her late brother. She is in the Caribbean nation visiting Nakia (Lupita N’yongo), who approaches her with a young boy — her son, Toussaint. A surprised Shuri is even more surprised when she is introduced as an aunt, and told by the child that his real name is Prince T’challa, son of King T’challa.
Some speculated this would happen. Some even tried to offer proof. But the revelation will be as much a shock to many fans as it is to Shuri. Here’s what it all might mean.
Toussaint/T’Challa also shares a name with a legendary real-life warrior. François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture was an ex-slave turned Haitian general and the primary leader of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), which succeeded in ending slavery in the former colony and ending French rule there, leading to the establishment of Haiti as an independent nation.
‘Wakanda Forever’ contains a clue about the timeline of his birth. Earlier in the film, Nakia tells Okoye (Danai Gurira) that she is sorry not to have joined them in the battle against Thanos — and the five years between “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame” would have been time for Prince T’Challa to reach his current age and size. Being pregnant with and raising a young future monarch in exile is plenty of reason not to take risks battling intergalactic creatures trying to kill you.
There’s a comic-book backstory here. There have been two children of the Black Panther in Marvel Comics. The first is Azari T’challa T’chacka Evan Duke, son of T’challa and Ororo Monroe, or Storm of the X-Men. Azari has the heightened senses and strength of his dad and the power of electrokinesis (control of electricity) from his mom. In the comics, he is part of a group called the Next Avengers, alongside other sons and daughters of current Avengers. The duo’s other child is Kymera, a mysterious daughter of Storm whose ties to the Black Panther/T’challa are less fully defined. That said, she does have a huge panther that glows in places as a companion and enhanced senses and fighting abilities, so it’s not like she doesn’t take after her dad at all.
And a multiverse connection. Both children are from alternate timelines (Earth-10943 for Azari and Earth-13729 for Kymera), which would seem to preclude any connection to their stories in the next Black Panther story from the MCU. But with the ability to bring multiple characters from differing realities together now well established — see “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” — nothing is off the table.
What we do know is that with Shuri and Toussaint, the legacy of the Black Panther will live on.