“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is here, and like any good Marvel Studios movie, it has a mid-credits scene that expands the story in new and exciting ways.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” follows the secret African nation as it deals with the loss of its king and protector T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), alongside the emergence of a brand new threat in the form of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), an ancient god from an undersea civilization. Namor wants to conquer the surface world and he wants Wakanda’s help. Otherwise, they’ll be the first on his list of places to wipe out. It’s up to T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), partner Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and colleague Okoye (Danai Gurira) to figure out how to save their nation and deal with Namor, all while attempting to ordain a new Black Panther.
But what happens after the credits roll might be the most important and emotionally satisfying moment of the entire movie, and we are going to break it down for you.
Huge spoilers for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” follow. If you haven’t seen the movie, turn back now! Is this credits scene the perfect emotional button to an already very emotional film?
What happens during the credits sequence?
Things pick up immediately after the final shot: Shuri is sitting on the beach in Haiti, having just burned her funeral robes (signaling that she is ready to move on and begin the healing process, for real this time). Nakia comes up to her and says that there’s something she hasn’t been told. Something that nobody besides Ramonda knows – that she gave birth to a child conceived with T’Challa. While Shuri has assumed the title of Black Panther, the kid is the true heir to the throne. Her son’s Haitian name is Toussaint but his Wakandan name is T’Challa.
Wait, how old is T’Challa’s son?
He’s about five or six.
Earlier in the movie Nakia said that she has been in Haiti for six years, away from Wakanda. That means the child was conceived (and was possibly born) before the events of “Avengers: Infinity War” and the blip that turned T’Challa into floaty dust particles. T’Challa and the rest of those that were wished away by Thanos (Josh Brolin) returned five years later. That means that T’Challa returned from the Blip and died almost immediately after. Nakia said that he at least met his son and that Ramonda knew of him. But that was it. For his own protection his identity was kept secret.
Does he already have the powers of the Black Panther?
Maybe! When going through Namor’s backstory, it’s revealed that his mother ingested a similar substance to the herb in Wakanda that gives the Black Panther his or her powers. When Namor was born, his powers were passed along to him genetically. This means that T’Challa’s child could already have the Black Panther abilities, even though he didn’t ingest the herb and go on a cosmic vision quest to meet his ancestral elders. Since the little kid T’Challa didn’t punch anybody through a wall or drop out of a spaceship, we just don’t know what he’s capable of … yet.
Namor describes himself as a mutant. Could young T’Challa be a mutant too?
Possibly. Since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, mutants are fair game for the MCU now, and the Disney+ series “Ms. Marvel” already introduced us to the first mutant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Does young T’Challa show up anywhere else in the film?
Actually yes! When Shuri first visits Nakia in Haiti to ask for her help, there’s a young boy at the school where Nakia works. He asks Shuri if she wants to see the headmistress. THIS IS T’CHALLA. Some Marvel Easter eggs are more emotionally rewarding than others!
Is this credits scene the perfect emotional button to an already very emotional film?
But does it also negate the movie’s feminist underpinnings?
Yes, it does that too.
So much of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” deals with the strength, intelligence and creativity of the women in T’Challa’s life – his mother, sister, love and best friend. To a point the movie suggests that it’s these qualities, along with loyalty, understanding and tenacity, that are the real superpower, not something that you can ingest or get from a magical ring (or whatever). They are absolutely awe-inspiring throughout the film and the performances are all genuinely amazing (Bassett, in particular, should be in the conversation for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar). So it’s kind of a bummer that, after all that goodwill and thoughtfulness, a male character is introduced who could take over for Shuri or challenge her power or whatever. It just feels like it undercuts everything that came before it in a really unhelpful way. And that’s a shame.
But it’s still great?
It is. It’s a movie of singular power and beauty. And it makes us ready for whatever comes next in the “Black Panther” corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is now streaming on Disney+.