Shuri’s powerful legacy in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Shuri (Letitia Wright) came to live action as the embodiment of the values ​​of Wakanda, Marvel’s fictional Afro-futuristic city. With a privileged intelligence and an indomitable spirit, she embodied an independent territory. But she, at the time, she was a radiant figure. While her brother (Chadwick Boseman) was portrayed by director Ryan Coogler as a man loaded with responsibilities, her sister was vivacious and carefree.

In much of the sequence in 2018’s Black Panther, the duo brought a curiously familiar energy to a sober, ethnically driven film. Together, they shared gestures, conversations and, especially, mutual admiration. They were two versions of an ancient but innovative culture thanks to its technical advances.

A nuance made clear in T’Challa’s now iconic battle to gain access to his dynastic rights. At the same time that most Wakandans watched intently and gravely, Shuri made jokes and cheered for his brother.

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So, for the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the big question was how the character would evolve. The film’s script, the fruit of Coogler’s effort to honor the late Chadwick Boseman, also had another purpose.

Emphasize who would take their place, under what conditions and in what way. Would the old dynastic tradition, classic in comics, be broken to favor another character outside the royal family? After all, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) was a strong but mature woman with a responsibility to the throne.

Shuri, a young royal figure who had no ambition for power


The cinematographic Shuri, on the other hand, seemed not to fit entirely in the more thoughtful and complex version of the princess narrated by the comics. The incarnation of Wright in the original film was not prepared to take the place of her brother in the fiction.

So much so that, in the original argument, the second in succession was only the technological head of the country. A competent genius, but one who didn’t have much ties to the intrigues of the throne, the tribes, or the Black Panther investiture. “I only improve what is already good,” the character insisted on a few occasions. Especially when his role as an accomplice in T’Challa’s adventures became clear. The character was the lieutenant of a king who proved himself.

Perhaps for this reason, the opening sequences of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever begin with Shuri in a desperate attempt to cure T’Challa. The sequence implicitly shows that not all the resources of the most powerful country in the world can stop the inevitable.

It is that perception of frustration and fear that breaks Shuri’s will until she becomes a shadow of the character she was. In a flawless plot twist, Ryan Coogler leads the princess to a dark spot inside her. The opposite extreme of the happy young woman the previous film portrayed, even as comic relief.

But the new Shuri must deal with the death of her father and, later, her brother. With a historic duty she couldn’t handle, and finally with the suffering of a greater loss. Few characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have experienced such a grueling process. Constructed with such care and attention to the perception of a subtle and emotional arc of redemption.

Suffering in Marvel: a journey towards more adult and moving figures

For the superhero franchise, the humanity of its characters is essential. But, in particular, during the last five years he devoted attention to more intimate spaces of his great epic figures. Thor, in Avengers: Endgame showed powerlessness through his body. The thunder god withdrew and gained weight after brutal emotional trauma.

There were critical voices for using the character’s appearance for jokes and mockery, but the image showed something else. The hero’s suffering was a tragedy that encompassed the plot of the film and the message of him on the periphery. That total and devastating loss in which the snap of Thanos plunged the world.

By then, Marvel had taken some interesting steps on similar issues. Tony Stark had panic attacks in Iron Man III, in which he expressed the deep desolation that hurt him. Like the anguished silence of Steve Rogers upon awakening 75 years after sinking into the sea. For the saga, pain is not an unknown topic and one of its great triumphs is to humanize its characters with careful growth arcs.

But Shuri’s tour implied something more. At the center of a plot based on the rigors of mourning, it was not just about finding the strength to continue. The princess was once again the embodiment of Wakanda, of the broken nation and under siege by greater forces. Shuri, her face twisted with hatred, rage, and grief, showed a kingdom that suddenly knew the desolation of being vulnerable. She of losing everything she believed to be immutable, not knowing how she could get it back.

Shuri and the rebirth of the children of the goddess Bast

For his final stretch, Coogler gives Shuri one of his pivotal moments and perhaps his most significant sequence of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. After managing to replicate the effects of the Heart-Shaped Herb, the princess agrees that she must assume the role of T’Challa. Which includes putting on the costume of the mythical dynastic hero. By drinking the potion that will allow her to obtain her powers, she only has one idea in mind: to do justice. Even if that includes revenge.

Shuri, Princess Black Panther

By then, Shuri went through a third painful loss that pushed her to a decision she didn’t want to make. Assuming her place in the history of her country meant bonding with her deepest feelings. Ryan Coogler then uses symbolism to narrate the final test that the princess must face.

Accessing the astral plane involves, in Wakandan tradition, finding unknown regions of the heart of the one doing so. For this reason, the character does not find his brother or his father, as expected, but his cousin Killmonger, a symbol of chaos and fear. It is the short conversation between them that pushes Shuri to a crossroads. Will he try to set the world on fire, just as his relative wished, or, on the contrary, honor the tradition of peace of his elders?

The answer will take time to arrive. However, standing by her enemy and refusing to become an assassin, Shuri understands that the best of Wakanda still lives in her. Also, that she represents a new generation of her subjects and a long tradition of nobility based on a sense of justice. By then, the new Black Panther had reached the stature of a hero. At the same time, she was able to come to terms with her past.

Life and death, a natural cycle that encompasses all things

By the post-credits scene of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Shuri is able to dismiss T’Challa’s memory. Likewise, accept the hope that embodies a small child. Her death hurt her deeply and that is undeniable. Even so, the character found the impulse – internal and intangible – to rebuild himself. To forgive the past and continue in transit towards a promising future.


With a moving evolution, Shuri found on a lonely beach the end of a long journey that transformed her into a capable and charismatic leader. What do you expect for her in the rest of the stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It is not yet clear, but one thing is certain. The princess is once again the emblem of her country. Of her values ​​and identity.

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A metaphor for the ability to continue, despite suffering, towards the best qualities of a mythical figure. Black Panther returns to watch over Wakanda and does so from the conviction of a young woman, who stands on her ideals to achieve it.

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