After we tragically lost Chadwick Boseman, Marvel fans have been wondering if Shuri will take over as the MCU’ new Black Panther. Some are for it and others are against it. For me, I’m on the side of the latter. Not that I dislike Shuri, far from it. She’s a great character and her intelligence makes her a vital part of the MCU as a whole. She even surprised the heck out of Vision and Bruce Banner himself, a scientific genius. I actually wish she met Tony Stark so they could talk about science and possibly develop some crazy technology together. Hey, maybe that can still happen if Tony returns as an AI. It’s the MCU, so remember to never say never.
Aside from Shuri’s incredible genius, her chemistry with T’Challa was rather heartwarming. It’s pretty rare that we get to see superheroes have their families by their side. Superheroes are typically only-children and don’t get to grow up with a supportive sibling. That wasn’t the case with T’Challa and the fact that he was a big brother made him even more relatable. Their brother/sister relationship was fun to watch and they acted like siblings usually do. They had playful banter, learned from one another, and when push came to shove, they had each other’s backs. That family dynamic is a rare story element that we get to see in superhero movies, so seeing it in Black Panther was quite refreshing.
That Shuri and T’Challa relationship is something we need to see more of in future sequels. Now that Chadwick Boseman is sadly gone, however, it makes us question if we’ll ever see that again. Let’s just say, for arguments sake, that Marvel is considering to have Shuri take up the mantle for Black Panther. Would it be fun to see? Yes, it would, for many reasons. For one, Shuri’s technological genius is what helps Wakanda thrive. At the end of the first movie, she became the head of the science department in the newly established Wakandan Embassy in America. Not only will she continue to help improve her own country, but America as well. That’s an interesting challenge for her, but if T’Challa is no longer the Black Panther, Wakanda will need a new monarch and protector.
If Shuri becomes the new Black Panther, it would be quite the challenge. There would lead to some interesting character development for her. While she was the smart one and the funner sibling who would always lighten the mood, T’Challa was the more serious one who was a superb fighter and had the great leadership abilities. He was much more suited for the role as king and Black Panther. Shuri, on the other hand, is a young woman who isn’t ready for either role. She’s incredibly smart for her age, but unlike T’Challa, she’s spent her entire life having fun in her lab. She hasn’t had the chance to really see what the rest of the world is like outside of Wakanda and that makes her naive.
The throne is hers, by right, but she’s more unqualified than T’Challa was. Her ascension could help her develop into beyond the kid genius. She’ll have to be a warrior on T’Challa’s or Okoye’s level, meaning she has to learn how to fight without her technology. If she needs a lesson in weapons or hand-to-hand combat, Okoye would be the perfect instructor. As far as her becoming a monarch goes, she’ll have her mother to guide her. However, that’s a lesson she’ll ultimately have to learn on her own. The difference between her and T’Challa’s leadership is that she’ll have to figure out how to help Wakanda survive with its borders open. No other Wakandan monarch has had that challenge before and that kind of weight on her shoulders will be her ultimate test.
Can she do it? I think she’s capable of fulfilling her duty to Wakanda, but as of now, she shouldn’t become the new Black Panther. That role is T’Challa’s and we’re used to seeing him more as a warrior than a king. His act of opening Wakanda’s borders was the greatest act in the history of its kings. However, this act also makes Wakanda more vulnerable to hostiles. We need to see T’Challa act as king during these times, because there will surely be enemies coming to destroy his country. Yes, Shuri will be there by his side, developing more advanced suits, better gadgets, and just being the best moral support. Removing T’Challa from the table would be a mistake, because we need to see him tackle these challenges. It would prove his effectiveness as a king and as the Black Panther.
Now Shuri isn’t ready for either role. Like I said, that would be interesting to see how she develops if she becomes those things, but the truth is, T’Challa wasn’t ready either. That’s what made him a great character. He had the title of Black Panther and king was bestowed upon him, but only because his father died. The timing was totally unexpected for him and he clearly wasn’t ready for it. In fact, it seems like Shuri handled their father’s death better than T’Challa did. Perhaps it’s because she was younger and not as close to him as T’Challa was, but living up to his father was vital to T’Challa’s development. He learned that his father and past kings were wrong to hide Wakanda, so despite the risks, he made the hard call of revealing they had more vibranium.
This is a challenge that T’Challa took on willingly. It wasn’t out of ego or a sense of adventure, but a desire to do what’s right. He’s willing to take the risk, but what if it turns out to be more than he can handle? That’s why we still need T’Challa as our Black Panther. While Shuri can improve as Black Panther, T’Challa’s true development as a king is just beginning. The struggles of protecting Wakanda with open borders would be his greatest challenge. That’s why Shuri should not replace him as the Black Panther.
My guess is that she’ll most likely won’t anytime soon. If Marvel isn’t going to use a body double to CGI Chadwick Boseman’s body, they’ll likely recast the role. Personally, I think they already have some in mind and they’re just waiting for the right time to announce it. If that’s the case, it’ll be a chance to further develop both T’Challa and Shuri beyond what they are now. We still need our king T’Challa.