Image via Marvel Studios
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is finally out in the world, telling the story of the rise of the affluent African nation’s new protector. Yes, just as all the signs were pointing to, the late King T’Challa’s mantle was indeed taken up by his little sister Shuri, albeit reluctantly, as the super-smart princess initially has no desire to become the next Black Panther. However, once she finally does suit up to take on Namor and the Talokanil, her costume features an ingenious hint at what makes her different from her brother.
As one eagle-eyed Redditor has pointed out, Shuri’s Black Panther’s costume calls back to both previous Panthers we’ve seen in the MCU. Memorably, 2018’s Black Panther saw T’Challa wear a suit that spawned from a silver necklace whereas his crooked cousin Killmonger preferred a more ostentatious golden necklace. The difference in tastes also reflected their alternative moralities and viewpoints. Interestingly, Shuri’s suit contains both gold and silver detailing, referencing the fact she is a blend of the two.
While Chadwick Boseman’s hero was defined by his ability to forgive and move past his darker impulses, even making amends with Bucky after the Winter Soldier killed his father, Letitia Wright’s Shuri becomes consumed for her desire for vengeance against Namor in Wakanda Forever, after he’s responsible for the death of her mother, Queen Ramonda. So much so that she’s even visited by Killmonger during her trip to the Ancestral Plane.
Ultimately, of course, Shuri ends up channeling her brother by allowing the Talokan king to live, but there’s still a more ruthless streak in her that belies how there’s more of Erik Stevens in her than she would like to admit. So the costuming choice to reflect that in her suit is a brilliant move, especially as it’s so subtle that most of us missed its significance in the first place.