Marvel fanatics are convinced a piece of merchandise may have inadvertently spoiled a major plot element for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that has up until now remained a mystery for the most part.
The film, which will see an epic rivalry unfold between the kingdoms of Wakanda and the underwater realm of Talocan, takes place after the events of the Oscar-winning 2018 original box office smash, Black Panther. Only this time, due to the late Chadwick Boseman making his way to the ancestral realm way too soon by succumbing to cancer in 2020, T’Challa is sadly also gone from the franchise.
But we’ve seen in the trailers that another Black Panther will take up the mantle from the fallen king, which has been kept a closely-guarded secret in all the promotional trailers. That all may have just changed with the release of the official Black Panther Funko Pop figurine that is a piece of tie-in merchandise for Wakanda Forever, which was shared by Reddit user u/IronMan_MarkLXXXV on the r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers subreddit.
The figurines are clearly marked Wakanda Forever. And at first, the design for the Black Panther character seems ambiguous enough. However, when you take a closer look at the white dots of the Black Panther’s mask, it happens to line up perfectly with a character who sported a similar design in a past film: Letitia Wright’s Shuri.
“The white dots on the face are an exact match for what Shuri had on in the first movie,” a Reddit user said in the comments while sharing a link to what Shuri looked like in the first film.
In case you need a reminder of what Shuri’s face paint looked like in the first Black Panther, as well as in Avengers: Endgame, there’s an image below to refresh your memory:
As you can tell, the Reddit user’s assessment was correct; the entire pattern of dots on Shuri’s forehead is reproduced exactly on the same area of the Black Panther figurine’s mask.
This would all seem to point to Shuri becoming the next Black Panther. While there is precedence for this in the comics, it may come as a casting decision some may frown upon, owing to Wright sharing a controversial video on social media that appeared to peddle conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines a couple of years back. Wright has never truly overcome the public backlash spurred by the now-deleted Twitter post, as her name will occasionally trend on the social media platform to this day from fans calling for her to be held accountable and/or removed from the Black Panther franchise. Back in 2020, even Marvel co-star Don Cheadle called the video Wright shared “hot garbage” and “crazy and fkkkd up” (Cheadle later deleted public posts about Wright and the video).
Regardless, we will all collectively find out together for certain who the new Black Panther is when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11.