After the phenomenal success of Black Panther earlier this year, the death of the title character in the subsequent Avengers: Infinity War feels like the franchise equivalent of flushing money down the toilet, unless of course Marvel Studios have a resurrection plan lined up for next year’s Avengers 4.
Indeed, the planned Spider-Man: Far From Home and Dave Bautista’s loose lips make it clear that we haven’t seen the last of at least some of the heroes who were disintegrated in Thanos’ snap, so it stands to reason that Chadwick Boseman’s character also has a route back into the series. What’s more, according to a new theory, T’Challa’s sister Shuri will play a pivotal role in Black Panther’s return when she discovers that her dusted peers aren’t quite as dead as previously assumed.
While many an Avengers 4 prediction concerns the mysterious zones of the Soul World and the Quantum Realm, Reddit user Hockeytalkie starts off their theory with a quick reminder of another trippy place introduced in T’Challa’s first solo outing.
“In Black Panther, the Ancestral Plane is depicted as an alternate dimension of sorts that the souls of the dead travel to after their life has ended. Through a process that involves the ingestion of the Heart-Shaped Herb, Black Panthers can briefly converse with their dead loved ones on the Ancestral Plane, and we see this happen three times–twice with T’Challa, and once with Erik Killmonger. One can reasonably assume that whoever is the next Black Panther, if there is one, will undergo the same process, and subsequently take a trip to the Ancestral Plane.”
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With good reason, the Redditor suggests that Shuri could be the one to inherit the Black Panther title, if only temporarily.
“Many have predicted that, in the wake of T’Challa’s disintegration in Infinity War, his sister Shuri will take up the mantle of the Black Panther. It’s something that has happened in comic book continuity, and she already demonstrated her combat prowess by nearly taking out Killmonger single-handedly. The Heart-Shaped Herbs were seemingly destroyed on Killmonger’s orders, but if anyone can find a way to bring them back, it’s Shuri.”
But when Shuri enters the Ancestral Plane expecting to see a couple of familiar faces, she finds that one late relative hasn’t yet made the journey.
“I’m sure that Shuri would be excited to see her father, T’Chaka, on the Ancestral Plane, but she’d probably be most interested in speaking to T’Challa. But what happens if T’Challa isn’t there?
Based on the comic book history of the Infinity Stones, it’s entirely likely that the victims of The Snap aren’t truly dead, and that it’s possible to “bring them back” without breaking the laws of the universe. Of course, in order for that to happen, the heroes of Earth will first have to discover that The Snapped aren’t deceased in the traditional sense.
If Shuri goes to the Ancestral Plane and finds that T’Challa is not there, she’s more than smart enough to realize the potential implications. Once she shares this information with Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers, it’s just a matter of time before the quest to find the missing 50% of the population begins, and that could be the first arc of Avengers 4.”
While this is all just speculation at this point, there are certainly worse ways of introducing the notion that the characters who perished in the Mad Titan’s genocide may not be gone forever. Moreover, with the Avengers 4 reshoots said to be adding more Wakanda footage to next year’s film, it seems likely that the sequel will spend at least a little time revisiting the regional traditions and practices first introduced in Black Panther.
In any case, we’ll find out what’s in store for Shuri and her late brother when Avengers 4 comes out on May 3rd, 2019.