[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for both “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and its post-credits scene.]
Given everything that happened in the lead-up to making “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” — from the immediate high expectations for a sequel after the first film proved to be such a smash hit to the shocking death of its beloved star Chadwick Boseman — its existence feels a touch miraculous. At the very least, it feels distinctly emotional, not often a term reserved for Marvel sequels.
Ryan Coogler’s much-hyped follow-up gracefully tackles Boseman’s passing (by gracefully tackling his character, King T’Challa, aka Black Panther’s own onscreen passing), unfurling a story about grief and redemption in a still-entertaining fashion. Of course, it also sets up more drama, continued adventures, and a bright future for a brand new Black Panther (T’Challa’s sister Shuri, played by returning star Letitia Wright).
Still, it is a Marvel joint, which means: post-credits scenes! Or, in the case of “Wakanda Forever,” just the one — but what a scene it is.
Marvel post-credits scenes come in plenty of flavors, from “not at all surprising connection to other MCU properties” (see: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in “Black Widow”) or “obvious marketing play for yet another Marvel offering” (like that “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” trailer at the end of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”) and even “well, this is just fun” (pretty much any James Gunn joint). They also often provide a launching pad for much-hyped new character introductions.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The big character reveal is present in plenty of recent MCU post-credits scenes, including “Thor: Love and Thunder” (a twofer that resurrected Russell Crowe’s Zeus and introduced Brett Goldstein as his son Hercules), “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Charlize Theron as Clea), and “Eternals” (Harry Styles as Starfox). While it remains to be seen how many of these reveals will actually pay off in future properties (it feels as if we’d know by now if Goldstein, Theron, and Styles had all landed their own features or shows), they do serve as gauges of fan interest for these possible new stars.
Coogler takes that nakedly corporate synergistic concept and runs with it in a fittingly emotional fashion.
[One more time: Spoilers ahead for both “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and its post-credits scene.]
1. A New Prince
By the end of “Wakanda Forever,” plenty of changes have occurred, including the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), the return of Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and the passing of Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and M’Baku’s (Winston Duke) apparent rise to the throne. Also key: That Shuri manages to recreate the magical heart-shaped herb, allowing her to become the Black Panther.
By the film’s conclusion, Shuri — emotionally and physically exhausted (a series of battles with Namor pushed her to new limits) — leaves Wakanda for Haiti. That’s where Nakia has been all these years and where Ramonda found her earlier in the film, coming to the lovely school Nakia runs to ask for her assistance in the battle against Namor. She’s back there now, and having told Shuri she was welcome to come see her anytime, the young queen makes good on the offer.
But it’s not just Nakia who is happy to see her.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Earlier in “Wakanda Forever,” Ramonda tells Shuri there’s something she needs to tell her about her beloved big brother. They are, of course, interrupted from this reveal by the first appearance of Namor, but eagle-eyed (-eared?) viewers likely held on to that tidbit, hoping for some sort of explanation during the rest of the film. They get it in this post-credits scene.
As Shuri rests on the beach outside Nakia’s school, her would-be sister-in-law briefly leaves her to get something. Or, more accurately, someone: Nakia’s adorable, secret son Touissant (Divine Love Konadu-Sun). Perhaps you can already see it coming: He’s also T’Challa’s son, as Nakia reveals to a clearly overcome “Auntie Shuri.”
Nakia explains that the lovers “agreed it was better for him to grow up here, away from the pressures of the throne.” Yes, his father knew. So did Ramonda. And there’s one other thing: Nakia may call him Touissant, but his real name is T’Challa, after his father, making him…Prince T’Challa.
2. And a Final Promise
As ever, the MCU entry offers one more promise in the form of the traditional post-credits button: “BLACK PANTHER WILL RETURN.” One small note: Typically, this little bit of obvious information pops up before or in between post-credits scenes. With just one post-credits scene, this ends up being the last piece of Easter egg goodness movie-goers will see. After the film’s fraught lead-up, it’s a nice reminder that this story will continue to move forward.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is now in theaters.