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This Is Who T'Challa's Successor Should Be In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

When Chadwick Boseman sadly passed away in August 2020, it was a huge loss for the entertainment world. The star radiated true talent, and his incredible performances commanded the audience's attention in the likes of "42," "Draft Day," "Get On Up," "Marshall," and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." It's a true tragedy that the world won't get to see what else he could've accomplished in the future. Of course, millions of fans worldwide know him as King T'Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the emotional reaction to the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" trailer shows that he meant so much to so many because of his role.

After the mourning had subsided a little, Marvel fans started to wonder how the MCU would deal with Boseman's passing. Ultimately, the studio decided not to recast the role — and the mantle of Black Panther will be passed to someone else when "Wakanda Forever" arrives in theaters on November 11. The first trailer for the sequel balances the loss of Boseman and T'Challa as the nation of Wakanda honors their fallen king while Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Shuri (Letitia Wright), and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) all process their grief.

But while they deal with T'Challa's death, Namor (Tenoch Huerta) emerges from the ocean's depths and a war breaks out between his people and Wakanda. By the end of the trailer, someone suits up in a stunning black and gold Black Panther costume to stop the new threat, but it's not clear who the new hero is. There's a small list of candidates, but there's one person who stands head and shoulders above the rest to be the new Black Panther.

Nakia deserves the suit

Wakandan War Dog Nakia should be T'Challa's successor, and there are quite a few reasons why. Chief among them is the fact that she's a seasoned spy and is more than capable of undertaking dangerous missions for the greater good. Just look at how "Black Panther" introduces her. She's posing as a civilian woman who's been kidnapped by a trafficking ring — and when T'Challa intercepts, she's furious that he's disrupted her mission and blown her cover. Clearly, she has no issue operating alone and without backup.

Nakia's also well suited to the role because of her personality and her outlook on the world, as well as her duty to help those in need. She makes it very clear that Wakanda could be doing more to help the most impoverished people across the world — although she wants to do it the right way, unlike Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and his extremist views. Her duty and moral compass are firmly set, and it's never clearer than when she convinces T'Challa to bring Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) back to Wakanda after the CIA operative takes a bullet for her when Klaue (Andy Serkis) escapes custody in South Korea.

Not only that, but Nakia also isn't afraid to swallow her pride to do the right thing — like when she asks for M'Baku's (Winston Duke) help after Killmonger usurps T'Challa from the throne. She knows that he's the best option to keep Wakanda safe, and her concern is for the people, not the monarchy. At its core, that's what the role of Black Panther is about.

No, she shouldn't be queen of Wakanda

Now, the only hiccup with Nakia becoming Black Panther is that she isn't of royal blood — but remember, Wakanda is one of the most progressive nations in the MCU because of how advanced its technology is. And as they move further into the future, it'd be easy to imagine the Wakandans leaving behind their traditions in favor of practicality and doing the right thing. While Nakia might not be crowned queen, the nation could easily appoint someone else to lead them — with Nakia as its icon and protector. This wouldn't diminish the role of the Black Panther in Wakanda's society; it just means she would have more time to work on helping the people who need it most.

It's worth pointing out that Nakia even tells T'Challa that she's not interested in being queen in the first film, so maybe she should be the one to suggest having someone else rule. Considering Queen Ramonda's powerful line in the trailer "I am the queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?" it seems unlikely she'd want to pass over leadership to someone else.

If it is time for her to step down, though, M'Baku may still be interested. Yes, the leader of the Jabari is a little brash, but he's changed his outlook on things over the years thanks to the events of "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame." Winston Duke recently dropped hints of what to expect for M'Baku in "Wakanda Forever," saying, "He figures out a brand-new world for Wakanda," and it's possible he could be doing this as king.

Hang on, what about Shuri?

All right, let's address the panther in the room. Why shouldn't Shuri get the chance to suit up as her brother's successor, like she does in the comics? This is where it gets tricky. Letitia Wright — the British star behind Shuri — has made inflammatory comments about the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting that it isn't safe. The star also shared a controversial video from the London Light Church that expresses an anti-vaccine stance and makes several transphobic comments (via Variety). All of this is obviously questionable, as well as upsetting for many fans of the franchise, and it would be disappointing for Disney and Marvel to look the other way for the sake of comic accuracy.

But realistically, Disney isn't likely to give Shuri the spotlight as the new Black Panther when the studio has implemented a vaccine mandate for all of its productions (via The Hollywood Reporter). Furthermore, CDC mandates require all travelers who are neither immigrants nor citizens entering the country by plane to show proof of vaccination before boarding an international flight to the United States. However, it's unclear whether Wright has been vaccinated since she left the set of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" due to an injury in August 2021 (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Either way, considering the controversy surrounding the actor, it doesn't seem likely that Marvel Studios would elevate her to leading one of its most successful franchises. There's too much money involved for the company to be careless around the pandemic. So for now, let's hope Lupita Nyong'o gets to don the Black Panther suit as Nakia.