This article contains potential spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Since the untimely death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, and the news that director Ryan Coogler would not recast the role of T’Challa for the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, fans have wondered who would be the next person to take up the mantle. While the recently-released trailer is inarguably glorious, it gives little information about the next Panther. Most of the clip focuses on mourning for the fallen T’Challa and an attack by Namor the Sub-Mariner and his Atlantian armies, with only one clip showing the Panther from behind.
But if a new LEGO set is accurate, then we have confirmation that Letitia Wright’s Shuri is the new Black Panther. According to the insider website The Brick Fan the first sets to tie in with the movie show Shuri in various costumes. While the Shuri’s Lab set features both Shuri and Black Panther, both costumes here match those seen in the first movie, possibly part of a flashback sequence. The two others — King Namor’s Throne Room and Shuri’s Sunbird — both include minifigs of Shuri in what appears to be a Black Panther costume, complete with the gold highlights seen in the trailer.
Of course, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. The modern Shuri minifig does wear a Black Panther-style costume, but we see no mask in either set, leaving the full suit incomplete. More importantly, Marvel is not above covering spoilers with its toys. For example, the Malibu Mansion Attack set from Iron Man 3 has Mandarin leading an attack chopper assault, with civilian-garb Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in the Iron Man armor. In the movie, not only is the Mandarin not in the chopper that destroys Tony’s Malibu home, but the Mandarin isn’t even the bad guy — he’s the buffoon Trevor Slattery, last seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
That said, there is comic book precedent for Shuri following T’Challa as the new Black Panther. In the 2009 Doomwar storyline, Doctor Doom sends Namor to attack Wakanda after Black Panther refused to join the supervillain team the Cabal. Namor badly beats T’Challa in the attack, forcing the latter to give up his role as Wakanda’s king and protector. In his place, Shuri becomes the new Black Panther and leads Wakanda against Namor and Doom.
As the trailer and plot synopsis indicate, Wakanda Forever will include many elements found in Doomwar, including an attack on Wakanda by Atlantis, the loss of T’Challa as king, and maybe even the arrival of Doctor Doom into the MCU. All of those elements only further increase the likelihood that these LEGO sets are accurate and that Shuri will be the next Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes to theaters on November 11, 2022.