Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made the best emotion-based choice for the titular superhero in Shuri, yet wasted the perfect Black Panther replacement in terms of physical attributes. The movie’s emotional core centered dually on the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman and his character T’Challa in the MCU, which made Shuri the perfect choice to take on the mantle from a thematic standpoint. The story of Shuri overcoming her crisis of faith and her anger at the world after her brother’s loss to become the Black Panther was perfect, yet another candidate proved their capabilities at becoming the superhero throughout Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.


While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Shuri is undoubtedly a worthy successor, many theories surrounded other characters like Okoye, Nakia, or M’Baku becoming the Black Panther before the film’s release. While Okoye’s story saw her becoming her own kind of superhero through the Midnight Angel suit and M’Baku ended up as the King of Wakanda, Nakia’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever story was interesting. Throughout the film, it was Nakia who showcased the physical attributes needed to become Black Panther, in a way that proved she would have been just as good a successor to T’Challa as Shuri is.

Nakia Exhibited Black Panther’s Best Traits In Wakanda Forever

Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia in Black Panther 2

Nakia’s story in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever began when she was tasked with recovering Shuri from Talokan by Queen Ramonda. In this scene., she exhibited her capabilities at being Black Panther. From the stealth needed to infiltrate Talokan without being seen to the strength required to fight her way out, Nakia’s physical qualities were showcased. Given the first sequence of Black Panther in 2018’s film of the same name showed a great deal of stealth and physical prowess combined, Nakia exhibited these similar traits.

Later in the film, Nakia also showed the further combat skills needed to become Black Panther. She fought against the Talokanil with relative ease, alongside her fellow Wakandans. Also, Ramonda’s trust of Nakia – as well as Shuri’s and T’Challa’s before his death – proves how much of an ally she would have been to Wakandan royalty as the Black Panther.

How Wakanda Forever Would Have Been Different With Nakia As Black Panther

Nakia and Shuri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

That being said, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would certainly have been a different film altogether should Nakia have been chosen as the Black Panther. As mentioned, Shuri’s emotional arc makes it one of Phase 4’s very best efforts, thanks to the intense emotional depth presented through her becoming Black Panther. Although, Nakia could have drawn a similar emotional response from audiences.

It was revealed at the end of the film that Nakia and T’Challa had a young son Prince Toussaint, which could have played into her choosing to become Black Panther. Nakia was also shown to be greatly emotionally affected by T’Challa’s death, which could have resulted in a similar arc to Shuri’s. However, the case remains that the film would have lost some of its emotional depth had Nakia been chosen over Shuri as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s replacement, despite the former’s physical capabilities for the role.

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