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The following story contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Sticking around for the credits scene during a Marvel movie is, well, just part of the deal at this point. And while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not only the visually stunning adventure that we expect from director Ryan Coogler but also a mature, restrained meditation on grief, it’s still, at it’s core, a Marvel movie. Your theater still probably reacted in a big way when a surprise character—Val!—showed up, and an inordinate amount of people probably hung out in their seats even once the credits started to roll. That’s because they know that while Marvel movies aim to keep audiences excited and pleased and on the edges of their seats for length of the movie, they also know that they need to keep audiences excited for what’s to come. Hence, the big endings and bigger credits scenes.
Everything comes full circle at the end of Wakanda Forever, when Shuri (Letitia Wright), now herself the Black Panther but having given M’Baku (Winston Duke) the throne in Wakanda, returns to visit Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) in Haiti. She reveals that she’s there with a specific purpose: to burn her white funeral robes, just like Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) wanted her to do. This ritual signifies the end of the mourning period, and the beginning of the next chapter. It’s an indicator of being ready to move on.
And while Shuri was unwilling to do it at first, and her conversation and memory of her mother was interrupted by their first meeting with Namor (Tenoch Huerta), with the whole ordeal (for now) behind her, she is ready to move on. She is the Black Panther, and while her mother is gone, she has the chance to honor both the nobility of her late brother, and some of the reasonable points that her cousin, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), made—though he of course went about them in the wrong way. Though she now sits in her normal clothes burning the white robe, we think of her Black Panther suit with both silver (honoring T’Challa) and gold (honoring Killmonger) trim.
But Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has another surprise up its sleeve in its credits scene reveal. Let’s get into it.
How many credits scenes are in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
In a break with most Marvel films in the last five years or so, there’s only one credits scene for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Likely because the movie largely deals with the grief and mourning that come in the aftermath of T’Challa’s (and his actor, Chadwick Boseman) death, it makes sense that Marvel and director Ryan Coogler would keep the somber tone restrained with only one more scene paying tribute to their late star.
Wakanda Forever Credits Scene: Meet Toussaint—a.k.a. T’Challa
After Shuri finally begins to burn her robes—imagery that lasts throughout the credits as Rihanna’s new anthem “Lift Me Up” plays—she’s approached by Nakia, who has a surprise. She’s got a young boy with her, and while she introduces him as Toussaint, it’s pretty apparent who this is: Nakia and T’Challa’s son. And before the end of the credits scene, it’s spelled out—Toussaint’s Wakandan name is also T’Challa, and both parents agreed that it would be best for him to grow up outside of Wakanda and away from the pressures that come with the nation’s throne. Shuri, emotional, acknowledges her nephew with a loving expression.
While Toussiant/T’Challa is clearly a child now, Marvel doesn’t make these sorts of introductions without purpose. With a new “T’Challa” now in the mix, this gives the MCU the opportunity to both recast a King T’Challa in the future while still paying tribute to Boseman at the same time. This T’Challa is young now, but also keep in mind that other characters, such as Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) sons Billy and Tommy will eventually need to be aged up to become Speed and Wiccan. Perhaps that same time jump (or adjacent plot device) will age this T’Challa up. The opportunity would be there for a T’Challa to once again become Black Panther.
We don’t know when this would happen, and it could be any time from the next couple years or even as much as a decade or so away. But there’s also comic precedent for this—in the Marvel Comics, T’Challa has a son with Storm (who, no, still has not been introduced into the MCU) named Azari. Azari comes into the Marvel Universe in an alternate timeline called Next Avengers where Ultron rules; he has the cat-like powers of his father and the mutant power to control weather of his mother. The title Next Avengers refers to a team formed by Azari and other children of the heroes we know who have since died—grim stuff! We don’t know if that will happen in the MCU. But it’s possible that our new T’Challa could be a part of whatever Young Avengers team is on the horizon with Kate Bishop, Billy and Tommy, Ms. Marvel, America Chavez, and so on and so forth.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.
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