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That Killmonger Scene In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Was Meticulously Planned

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is filled to the brim with surprises and reveals, some larger than others. Filmed following the death of T'Challa actor Chadwick Boseman, the direction of the film largely shifted, with director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios attempting to make "Wakanda Forever" a heartfelt tribute to the iconic star. While the film wears its hearts on its sleeve, allowing the cast to grieve on screen, the Marvel project still had to bring the titular Wakandan hero into the fold.

After a series of vague trailers that intentionally hid the identity of the new Black Panther, "Wakanda Forever" finally confirmed that Shuri (Letitia Wright) would take on the mantle from her late brother. The game-changing reveal was preceded by a brief cameo from Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). The villain was last seen dying at the end of "Black Panther," refusing to be arrested for his crimes. Killmonger's brief inclusion in the film radically pivoted the trajectory of Shuri's character, allowing her the opportunity to show audiences her darker side.

The choice to bring back Jordan's character was an immense risk but it certainly paid off. It could have come off as a cheap way to create a buzz-worthy cameo. Instead, it expanded on Shuri's character motivations and allowed audiences to see an even more sinister side of Killmonger. It's hard to imagine the film's final battle and emotional ending being as cathartic without Killmonger's appearance. In a recent interview, "Wakanda Forever" co-writer Joe Robert Cole opened up about how Killmonger's appearance was methodically planned to ensure that audiences and Shuri would receive as much pay off as possible.

Killmonger's return allowed Shuri to have different options

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" co-writer Joe Robert Cole finally opened up about the game-changing Killmonger (Jordan) scene while speaking with Rolling Stone. Appearing during Shuri's (Wright) visit to the ancestral plane after creating a synthesized herb to harness the powers of the Black Panther, Killmonger implores her cousin to seek revenge against Namor (Tenoch Huerta).The reveal surprised audiences, as many expected Shuri to receive a vision from either her mother or father, not her vengeful cousin. "We always wanted to have Michael return," Cole told the outlet. The co-writer went on to discuss the importance of weaving Jordan's character back into the "Black Panther" sequel and how his return had to be "relevant to Shuri's journey." 

Fans will remember that while Shuri was upset to see Killmonger, she largely agreed with her cousin, dismissing her late brother and father's insistence on mercy and peace. Cole continued by confirming that Shuri meeting Killmonger was deliberately planned, creating an opportunity to showcase how both characters are consumed with pain. "[Killmonger's] journey was about vengeance as well, and anger and frustration. That's a part of what we tried to lay in with her early on, the anger of losing someone, the sense of loss," the "Black Panther" writer said, reminding viewers how the death of Shuri's mother accentuated the princesses' want for vengeance.

Cole believes that bringing Michael B. Jordan back into the fold allowed Killmonger to give Shuri two options: "Is she going to move towards the direction that Killmonger would move? Or is she going to do something different?" Cole wrapped up by saying that having Killmonger return as a vision allowed for Shuri to build her own stakes and choose her own path.