Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!
As far as Marvel movies go, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was generally light on surprises. However, the filmmakers couldn’t resist dropping a massive bombshell on moviegoers during the sequel’s mid-credits scene. In what might be the film’s most-talked-about moment, Nakia reveals to Shuri that she gave birth to T’Challa’s son (also named T’Challa) and has been raising him in secret for the past several years. The scene has been lauded as a heartfelt tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020. It also opens the door for his namesake to become the next Black Panther in a future MCU installment. But shockingly, co-writers Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole started planning the boy’s introduction even before Boseman passed away.
Cole shared this info while joining Rolling Stone for a wide-ranging conversation about Wakanda Forever’s many secrets. He explained that if Boseman lived to make the sequel, T’Challa’s son would have played a much bigger role in the storyline. His offspring would have shown up a lot earlier on in the film as well. Regardless, Boseman’s sudden death from colon cancer forced Cole and Coogler to re-think the younger T’Challa’s placement.
“T’Challa had a child in a previous iteration of the script prior to Chad’s passing,” confirmed Cole. “Him having a child was always in the DNA of what we wanted to do. We just weren’t sure, after he passed, about the best way to incorporate him. So there were various iterations of his son being in our new story. And we finally landed on the reveal at the end. There was a point where I think when Ramonda [Angela Bassett] goes to Haiti, we had talked about potentially having him be revealed there. So we knew we wanted him to be a part of the movie in some way, and landed, I think, on the best possible version.”
“[In] a previous iteration, we really were more child-focused in the narrative, and his son was a part of that,” continued Cole. “Obviously that changed, but we wanted him to exist in the film in some way. It was much more reduced. And there were conversations about, when do we reveal this information to the audience and what’s the best version of it? Not only emotionally, but just narratively for the story and how it affects the characters in the story when they find out this information, and so forth. We played around a little bit, but he was never going to have a much a larger presence after Chad passed.”
Although motherhood comes with its own set of challenges, Cole says he and Coogler thought about giving Nakia some extra responsibilities in the sequel. By now, most of us know that Letitia Wright’s Shuri has assumed the Black Panther’s mantle following T’Challa’s death. But apparently, Lupita Nyong’o’s character and Winston Duke’s M’Baku were also floated as possible successors during the writing process.
“We would kick around the ideas, and try to extrapolate where the story goes and what’s the most impactful choice,” recalled Cole. “What’s the best journey? And where do you go after the film in terms of those characters? M’Baku certainly was someone that got kicked around a little bit. I think you’re correct because in the comics, Shuri is Black Panther and there’s a natural organicness, I guess is the best way to say it, to her becoming Panther. But you kick the tires on all sorts of ideas. And you just want to make the best decision and do what’s best for the story.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Are you excited to see more of T’Challa’s son in the MCU? Do you think M’Baku or Nakia would have been better choices for the Black Panther mantle? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.