The Wakanda Forever Mid-Credits Scene Wants You to Meet Someone

Photo: Marvel Studios

This article was originally published in November after Wakanda Forever’s theatrical release. We are recirculating it now that the film is streaming on Disney+.

The mid-credits scene of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever picks up seconds after the film’s conclusion, which sees Shuri (Letitia Wright) visiting Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) homestead in Haiti and finally taking a moment to grieve for her brother and move forward by burning her funeral clothes. In the spirit of moving forward, Nakia walks out with a young boy, whom she introduces to Shuri as Toussaint, her son. She explains that he was born shortly after the Blip, and that she and T’Challa agreed that he should be raised away from the pressures of the throne. The boy reveals that Toussaint is his Haitian name and his Wakandan name is T’Challa, son of T’Challa.

The scene works as both a tribute to Chadwick Boseman and a means to allow for a T’Challa to continue to exist in the MCU. It also hits on the core importance of Boseman’s character beyond the mantle of Black Panther. The latter is a title that can be passed from protector to protector. But what made T’Challa such an important pop-culture figure was his ability to be both an inspiration and a means of wish fulfillment for young Black boys, something the superhero medium often lacks. Although T’Challa Jr. is only a child, he still plays into the meta-narrative that made the first film so impactful, which is that Black boys can imagine themselves as the sons of kings and future protectors.

There’s no precedent for T’Challa having a son within the main continuity of the comics’ Marvel Universe. But there is an alternate universe in which he did. Azari T’Challa was introduced in Avengers No. 1 (2010) by Brian Michael Bendis (who also co-created Miles Morales and Riri Williams) and artist John Romita Jr. Azari is the son of T’Challa and Storm of the X-Men, who at the time were married in the comics. But the character’s conception actually goes back to a 2008 Marvel direct-to-video animated film, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, which saw the children of the original Avengers band together to fight the villain responsible for their parents’ death: Ultron.

Azari’s design in the comics is based on his appearance in Next Avengers. The character is a mutant who inherited the abilities of the heart-shaped herb from his father, along with his mother’s ability to create lighting. Azari’s appearances on the page have been limited — his sixth and last appearance came in 2014. That may soon change given the events of Wakanda Forever and Marvel Studios’ continued brand synergy with Marvel Comics.

So what does the future hold for T’Challa, son of T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? He may be in line to become the Black Panther in the future, but since the boy is only 6 years old, that seems like a long way off. (A quick aside to explain the math there: Nakia says she left Wakanda after T’Challa disappeared post–Avengers: Infinity War in 2019. It was five years until he returned at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and most of Wakanda Forever takes place exactly one year after the funeral in 2025, so the younger T’Challa would have to be 6 years old.)

Still, given that the multiverse saga is building up to a confrontation with the time traveler Kang (Jonathan Majors), the MCU may be planning a more significant time jump than the five years between Infinity War and Endgame. That would allow audiences the chance to see the younger T’Challa come of age and suit up as Black Panther sooner than expected.

T’Challa Jr. becoming the Black Panther doesn’t necessarily remove Shuri from the equation — she seems more interested in furthering Wakanda’s technological advancements than in being its warrior anyway. In the most recent Black Panther comics by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Shuri followed her tenure as Black Panther by becoming the Aja-Adanna, a living bridge between Wakanda and the spiritual plane. This could be an interesting direction for the character in the MCU, especially after her disbelief in the Ancestral Plane is challenged.

It also doesn’t seem like a coincidence that T’Challa Jr.’s introduction, despite not being part of the original direction for the Black Panther sequel, comes after the MCU introduced several children of the Avengers, including Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Thor’s adopted daughter Love, and an older depiction of Ant-Man’s daughter, Cassie Lang. It’s possible that these kids may form some super team-up in phases five and six. And given how significant T’Challa is in many of Marvel Comics’ greatest story lines, there’s a chance his son will now fulfill that role as these stories continue to be adapted. For now, Wakanda Forever provides the comfort of allowing T’Challa’s legacy to continue, while Chadwick Boseman’s remains the defining depiction of the character.

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