Thor may constantly be staking his claim to be known as the strongest Avenger, but there was no chance that the God of Thunder would ever be known as the most intelligent member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, especially with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner both involved. However, Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have now revealed that neither of the Science Bros are the smartest character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with that distinction instead going to a teenage girl.
During their Conversation with the Russo Brothers panel at San Diego Comic Con, the duo narrowed the selection for smartest character down to Banner, Stark and Black Panther’s Shuri, and gauged audience reaction to determine the winner. While the suggestion of both Banner and Stark drew mild applause, Shuri was ultimately declared the champion by Joe Russo.
“Now, Banner tried to solve time travel, but he didn’t. Who solved time travel? Iron Man…Shuri’s the smartest Avenger.”
Black Panther producer Nate Moore has already spoken previously about the importance of having a character like Shuri as the poster child for advanced intellect, saying in an interview to promote the release of the film back in 2017:
“As far as the technologically advanced side, in our mind and in our incarnation, Shuri is the head of the Wakandan design group. So she is, in our mind, the smartest person in the world. Smarter than Tony Stark, but she is a 16 year old girl, which we thought was really interesting. Again, black faces in positions of power, or positions of technological know-how, that’s a rarity. So it’s something that’s a big part of the film”
Letitia Wright has also weighed in with her feelings about being the smartest character in a franchise jam-packed full of gods, superheroes, spies and aliens:
“We sometimes- when we see people who are ‘super intelligent’ and ‘super smart’, they don’t really look like me, do you know what I mean? So, to have that is really, really cool, and for Marvel to be behind it and be brave enough to say, ‘She is the smartest girl in the Marvel universe’ and ‘Yes, she’s younger than everyone’… Her and Peter Parker are pretty much the smartest kids on the block.”
Shuri didn’t have much of a role to play in Avengers: Endgame after being dusted at the climax of Infinity War, but perhaps the Avengers could have solved their dilemma a lot faster if she had been around to lend her expertise. Regardless, she’ll be a huge part of the currently-in-development Black Panther 2, which will likely be a part of the MCU’s Phase Five.