Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther managed to exceed all expectations at the box office and may well have ended 2018 as the year’s biggest release if Avengers: Infinity War hadn’t rolled in a couple of months later and stolen that belt from T’Challa’s first solo outing. In that respect, perhaps it was rubbing salt in the wound for the Russo Brothers’ apocalyptic picture to conclude with Black Panther’s title character turning to dust, along with half of the film’s superpowered cast.
Nonetheless, with T’Challa at least temporarily out of the picture, that possibly leaves the throne of Wakanda, along with the Black Panther title, up for grabs, and T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri would be a natural heir for each. At least, this seems to be the thinking behind some new fan art on Instagram, which sees the science-minded teenager take her place on the seat with the accompanying caption: “Princess Shuri, heir to the throne of Wakanda.”
On either side of Shuri are her loyal guards Nakia and Okoye, the latter of whom Infinity War co-director Joe Russo has already implied will feature more heavily in next year’s Avengers 4. Nakia, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen at the Battle of Wakanda, but perhaps she’ll be back in the aforementioned sequel.
It’s worth noting that Infinity War didn’t spend a huge amount of its bulky runtime catching up with the supporting players of Black Panther. Likely, this is because the creative team behind the latest Avengers flick had no way of knowing how strong of an impression the MCU’s first trip to Wakanda would have on audiences, with writer Stephen McFeely recently recalling how viewer enthusiasm for the climactic clash in African nation went way up at test screenings once they’d given Black Panther a watch.
Of course, in the wake of the grim events of Infinity War, you can imagine that the surviving inhabitants of Wakanda have a lot of issues to address and devastation to repair. It’s therefore a safe bet that we’ll be making a return to the territory when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.