Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has a post-credits scene that looks and feels a little different from other recent Marvel teasers.
Over its last few movies — Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder — Marvel has used its post-credits scenes to announce big new castings. Harry Styles, Charlize Theron, and Brett Goldstein all had cameos introducing new characters (Eros, Clea, and Hercules) who will be major players in those respective franchises. One might assume that would happen with Wakanda Forever, especially with how the movie introduced the antihero sub-mariner Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and the underwater city of Talokan.
But Wakanda Forever did something different, using its post-credits scene to further one of the movie’s ongoing plots.
In the film, Shuri (Letitia Wright) is holding on to an immense amount of grief after losing her brother T’Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman) to an unknown disease. In real life, Boseman died in August 2020 at the age of 43 after his colon cancer had progressed to stage four. He kept his disease private and his death was a shock to his fans and colleagues. In Wakanda Forever, his character dies offscreen.
Shuri wrestles with her anger and guilt at not being able to help him. She’s unable to give herself closure — something her mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) urges her to do. At the same time, we learn her brother’s lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) did not attend T’Challa’s funeral. Nakia moved to Haiti after Thanos’s snap turned T’Challa and half the Earth’s population into dust (T’Challa was brought back in Endgame but died sometime after his resurrection).
In the movie, Nakia gives Shuri a standing offer to live with her in Haiti. The movie’s final scene has Shuri finally visiting Nakia and performing a Wakandan ritual in which she says goodbye to her brother.
The post-credits scene is a continuation of that scene. As Shuri is grieving, Nakia approaches her with a 6-year-old boy in tow and asks if they can grieve with her. Nakia introduces the boy as her son, and he tells Shuri his name is Toussaint. Nakia then explains that Toussaint is T’Challa’s son, at which point the boy recites his Wakandan name and title as Prince T’Challa, son of King T’Challa, the late king of Wakanda.
Nakia tells Shuri that she and T’Challa had the child secretly (and seemingly prior to Thanos’s snap), and that she fled to Haiti because they didn’t want their son to grow up with the pressure of the throne. They wanted a normal life for Toussaint, Nakia says, and the scene ends with Nakia and Shuri’s newfound nephew asking Shuri to keep their secret.
In the comic books, T’Challa does have a son, known as Azari T’Challa. But that child exists in an alternate universe and his mother is Storm, the X-Woman who hasn’t been introduced in the MCU or the Black Panther series yet. T’Challa’s child with Nakia seems to be a brand new character who doesn’t have to follow source material. And because Prince T’Challa is so young, it seems unlikely that he’s going to be a major recurring character (though I guess this could change some 20 years down the road).
Instead, the post-credits scene feels more like the ongoing tribute to Chadwick Boseman and the character he played. Although Boseman had been a star since playing Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, his time as T’Challa struck a particular chord with audiences. Shuri’s flashbacks to times with her brother allow fans to remember and honor the actor. Their shared moments are some of the best parts of the first Black Panther movie.
Young T’Challa instantly brings not only joy to Shuri but a sense of hope, the feeling that her brother is still with her. In a way, the scene also feels like Marvel’s way of saying goodbye. Now T’Challa has a brand new world of possibility ahead of him, full of wonder and endless possibility. That’s what Boseman meant to so many people, so many fans, and especially so many children who love and were inspired by the character he played.