Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Explained

This article contains major spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" isn't just the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the much-anticipated sequel to 2018's critically acclaimed box-office behemoth "Black Panther." The film is also a touching tribute to the legacy of the late, great actor Chadwick Boseman and his trailblazing character T'Challa aka Black Panther. After losing his battle with a mysterious ailment in the film's opening moments — a result of the real-life, unexpected loss of Boseman in 2020 – T'Challa's memory looms large over the rest of the film, which is directed once again by Ryan Coogler. In fact, it is T'Challa's death that primarily motivates many of the actions of the other characters — especially when it comes to his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). But that's not the only impactful tragedy to be seen in the film; to make matters worse, after Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and his people, the Talokans, attack Wakanda and cause the drowning death of Ramonda, Shuri has even more to mourn.

Shuri had already been feeling guilty and angry due to her inability to save her brother, despite her frantic efforts to do so, but the death of her mother compounds her pain and makes her downright vengeful. So, despite her new status as the de facto leader of Wakanda, she retreats to her safe space in the lab, the place she'd always been most comfortable and in control. It's there that she continues to pursue one of her ongoing projects: reconstructing the heart-shaped herb that Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) destroyed in the first "Black Panther" film. The third act of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" begins as Shuri realizes she finally has the missing information she needs to meet her goal. Here is a deeper look at all of the major events that happen as the action-packed ending of the movie unfolds. 

Shuri uses Namor's gift to reconstitute the heart-shaped herb

But let's take a step back before we get to the third act. Early on in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Shuri convinces the Talokans who confront her — along with Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) — on the bridge in Boston to take her to their ocean empire. While she is there, she bonds with Namor and hears the story of how his people came to live underwater. Namor also gives her a gift: a piece of jewelry that once belonged to his mother and is made with the leaves of the plant that granted the Talokans the ability to escape the colonists in Mexico that were taking their land.

Given how many parallels the movie indicates there are between Wakanda and Talokan, including being the only two places on Earth that have vibranium, when a plant plays a key role in giving the Talokans the power to abandon the land for the ocean, many viewers may suspect that there's a high likelihood it may be similar to the heart-shaped herb that Wakanda relied on to create the Black Panther. It does take Shuri a bit longer to put those pieces together, but when she does, she only has to shift a few molecules around to use the plant from Namor's mother's jewelry to bring the heart-shaped herb back to life.

After Shuri successfully fabricates the heart-shaped herb in her lab, it is time to test whether it is the real deal. While there is no time to do the traditional ritual associated with becoming the Black Panther, Shuri, along with Riri and Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), performs the basics of the ceremony in the lab with Shuri as the subject. It is debatable whether Shuri is the best option for the title given she is currently Wakanda's ruler and chief scientist. Consequently, Black Panther seems like it could be one thing too many for her. However, Nakia doesn't debate Shuri's choice to take up the mantle or suggest anyone else would be more suited for the role.

Shuri become the Black Panther and plans to confront Namor

Earlier in "Wakanda Forever," Shuri made it clear that she does not believe in many elements of the spiritual or ritualistic beliefs that many Wakandas ascribe to. Despite her insistence that she only believes in science, though, as she swallows the liquid made of the heart-shaped herb, it is also clear that, despite her protests that the ancestral plane is not real, there is a small part of her that hopes to see one of the many family members she has recently lost there. 

Yet, when Shuri wakes up in that mystical realm, it is Killmonger who turns up there to greet her. Shuri is just as shocked as the audience is likely to be at Killmonger's presence. Yet, while Shuri is unwilling to hear it, Killmonger suggests that, at least currently, of all the members of Wakanda's royal family, she is the most like him. Killmonger's observations imply that Shuri is becoming obsessed with vengeance, just like Killmonger was. However, Shuri doesn't yet see that to be true.

Ironically, her next move is to go to M'Baku (Winston Duke) and other high-ranking Wakanda officials in her newly created Black Panther suit and tell them about her plans to confront Namor and the Talokans. M'Baku initially seems hesitant — perhaps because he is concerned about Shuri's state of mind — but, eventually, he and Shuri agree to join forces and take on the underwater dwellers. They set their plan to draw out the Talokans in motion.

The Wakandans lure the Talokans with a vibranium detecting device

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, the Wakandans set up a vibranium detection device. Namor and the Talokan people revealed themselves initially because, now that they know it exists, America and other countries have been looking for vibranium in the ocean, and as a result, are getting very close to finding the Talokan's water-logged city. The Talokans had successfully kept their home hidden for hundreds of years and would like to keep it that way, so they're angry they could potentially be discovered. More specifically, they are angry at T'Challa for revealing Wakanda and its vibranium to the world, as it set off the race to find more of the substance. And as the only location besides Wakanda with vibranium, Talokan could become a target for vibranium-hungry countries. With the stakes high for the Talokans, the Wakandans are banking on the vibranium detection device getting their immediate attention.

The Wakandans wait on top of a monolithic ship for the Talokans, but they don't have to wonder if their adversaries will take the bait for long. The Talokans soon erupt out of the water, and when they find the Wakandans on the ship poised to attack, which leads to a brutal battle that dozens of Wakandans participate in, including Nakia, M'Baku, Okoye, Ayo (Florence Kasumba), and Aneka (Michaela Coel). As the Talokans and Wakandans fight on the ship in the ocean, in the air, Riri, wearing a more advanced version of the Iron Man armor she built in Boston, helps lure Namor to Shuri.

Shuri weakens Namor, only to end up fighting him

Riri and Shuri's gambit to capture Namor is successful, and Shuri traps Namor under a device she has set up in her ship that seems to work pretty much like a really big hair dryer. Why? Because Shuri and her allies had earlier realized that, even though Namor had demonstrated great power in the water, land, and air due to mutations that enabled him to be remarkably adept at swimming, fighting, and flying, his skin was damp in each of those environments. As a result, they reason that if Namor's skin is dried out, he will be significantly weakened, which will make him much easier to fight. 

Sure, dehydration sounds like an absurd weakness, but Namor isn't the only comic-book character to suffer from such an affliction. One example is Aquaman — more or less the DC version of Namor (or vice versa, if you prefer) — who is also weakened by an absence of water. And despite how silly it may sound, the movie treats this scene — and Namor's valiant attempts to fight against Shuri's drying machine — with the utmost seriousness. Still, Namor is a determined fighter, so even though he is weakened by the drying device, he still uses his spear to escape Shuri and her machine. Shuri commands her ship to fly to the desert and it crashes there, slightly inland from the water. As they touch down, Shuri dons her Black Panther suit, and she and Namor begin to fight.

As the Wakandans prepare to retreat, the Talokans bomb their ship

Meanwhile, in the ocean, the Wakandans are preparing to retreat. However, as they do, a group of Talokans approaches their ship riding two humpback whales. They throw a massive number of small bombs at the ship, causing it to collapse. This leads to panic and mass casualties. Luckily, all of the characters we know are unscathed and, despite the destruction, the Wakandans abandon their retreat, and the fighting between the Wakandans and Talokans becomes more intense than ever.

While the Wakandans' losses are no doubt terrible, there is still some redemption to be had in this battle. Okoye takes on Attuma (Alex LIvinalli) for the second time after he bested her with ruthless precision on the bridge in Boston earlier in the film. Although her failure to save Shuri from being taken by the Talokans in that confrontation led to her dismissal from the Dora Milaje, she is now wearing the Midnight Angel suit Shuri created for her. Whether it's the suit or simply her determination to prove herself, Okoye bests Attuma this time. Elsewhere, Riri is taking on Namora (Mabel Cadena) for the second time after the Talokan warrior knocked her out on the bridge in Boston. And just like Okoye, this time Riri is victorious.

When hope seems lost, Shuri gets help from two unexpected sources

At the same time in the desert, Shuri appears to have the upper hand against a weakened Namor – that is, until Namor recovers his spear and stabs Shuri in the abdomen, stopping her in her tracks. Namor informs her that things could have been different, and then starts to walk toward the water. Clearly, Namor is still of the opinion, which he stated earlier, that Wakanda and Talokan should work together to take on the whole world so they can protect both their countries and their vibranium. Unfortunately, Shuri is in no state to debate Namor now, as she seems like she is very likely dying from the blow.

As she stands there struggling, she flashes back to her encounter with Killmonger on the ancestral plane where he asked her if she will be noble like T'Challa or take care of business like him. This seems to give her the strength she needs to jump back into action as, in the next shot, she is suddenly flipping in front of Namor, stopping his progress toward the sea. She sets off a massive explosion that badly injures Namor, while she remains protected by her suit.

Shuri then stands over Namor, apparently poised to kill him. Yet, as she looks down on him with her weapon ready to deliver a fatal blow, she starts to remember everything that she's been through over the past year, including T'Challa's death, the devastation of Wakanda by Talokan, and her mother's death. Finally, she sees her mother who urges her, "Show them who you are." Shuri stops her attack on Namor and tells him vengeance has consumed both of them, but it must not consume their people. Namor surrenders to her, and Shuri promises to keep Talokan secret from the rest of the world.

A truce is called and, as things return to normal, tantalizing story threads are left dangling

Shuri and Namor fly to the site of the battle between their peoples and stop the fighting, declaring Wakanda and Talokan have a truce. With the central conflict of the movie put to rest, the characters start to return to their normal lives. In Wakanda, they replant the heart-shaped herb that Shuri reconstructed. Shuri sends Riri home without the Ironheart suit she created for her, but she does not leave empty-handed; Shuri has fixed the car Riri was working on in Boston, which Riri explains belonged to her father.

Then, there is a gathering of all of Wakanda that fans of the first "Black Panther" movie will recognize as the ritual T'Challa participated in to officially become Wakanda's ruler. This time, the ceremony is meant for Shuri, but when a ship flies in, and Shuri is introduced, instead of the princess emerging, it's M'Baku who appears. As he jumps from the ship, he announces that he wishes to challenge Shuri for the throne. 

In the ocean, Namora confronts Namor about surrendering to Wakanda — a move she is none too pleased with — but Namor reassures her that the surface world will once again come for Wakanda and, when it does, Wakanda will have no choice but to turn to them. Apparently, Namor still believes the world is eventually going to attack Wakanda for its vibranium and he is prepared to bide his time until that happens. But that also means he is not nearly the reformed adversary that he seemed to be when he and Shuri agreed to their truce.

Meanwhile, in America, Okoye rescues Agent Ross (Martin Freeman) from CIA custody, gleefully declaring she has never seen a colonizer in chains before. Perhaps Okoye's actions were a bit of a thank you after Ross was arrested for leaking secrets to her and Shuri earlier in the film. One way or another, it seems the alliance between Ross and Wakanda is set to grow even deeper than it already was.

Shuri lets go, and a surprising character is introduced in a mid-credits scene

Instead of the ceremony in Wakanda that she was expected to attend, Shuri is instead found in Haiti where Nakia now lives. Right before the credits roll, Shuri goes to the beach by herself and burns T'Challa's funeral robes in a fire on the beach. This is a ritual Ramonda tried to perform with Shuri earlier in the movie, but they were suddenly interrupted by Namor.

A mid-credits scene then picks back up on the beach. As Shuri sits in the sand looking out toward the water, Nakia approaches her with a child named Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun) at her side. Nakia introduces the child to Shuri, who she refers to as Aunt Shuri. A surprised Shuri quickly realizes that this is T'Challa's son. Nakia explains that T'Challa and Ramonda knew about Toussaint, and T'Challa and Nakia decided to keep their child a secret from the Wakandan people. When T'Challa learned he was dying, he prepared his son and asked Nakia to keep him away from the funeral. While these were clearly acts of love, it is hard not to wonder if keeping Toussaint away from Wakanda could lead him to become resentful of his parents and Wakanda, by extension. 

On the other hand, the child seems fairly content when he tells Shuri that Toussaint is his Haitian name, but his real name is T'Challa Jr. — a revelation that indicates that T'Challa and Nakia, despite moving him so far away in secret, ultimately do want to acknowledge that the child is the true heir to Wakanda's throne. What that could mean for leadership in Wakanda isn't clear, though, because, after Shuri and T'Challa Jr.'s brief exchange, the credits continue, and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" comes to an end with a promise that Black Panther will return.