The 'Black Panther' sequel doesn't have a post-credits scene, but its mid-credits scene delivers a world of potential.
The long-awaited sequel to 2018's Black Panther more than delivers on its various purposes; it serves as a tribute and goodbye to late star Chadwick Boseman who died in 2020, chronicles the journey of a new Black Panther, introduces several important new characters to the MCU and ends with enough promise for the future to leave fans with dreams of the possibilities.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follows the return of several beloved franchise characters, including Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Lupita Nyong'o as "war dog" spy Nakia, Letitia Wright as Princess Shuri, Winston Duke as warrior leader M'Baku, and Danai Gurira and Florence Kasumba as Dora Milaje leader Okoye and member Ayo. The Wakandans must contend with enemies from all corners as they rebuild their nation and face a new threat in the Talokanil; a race of sea-dwelling meta-humans led by the mighty and vengeful Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
The film's ending delivers an emotional resolution to the many battles fought by the Wakandans -- both emotionally and physically. And while there isn't an end-credit scene for Wakanda Forever, there is a mid-credits scene sure to set off the waterworks.
Read on below for major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
How Does Wakanda Forever End?
After a whirlwind of events that results in Wakanda being attacked by Namor, the leader of a fantastical underwater world, Tālokān, which, like Wakanda, is rich with vibranium. He initially offers an allyship with Wakanda but turns on the nation when his initial efforts are rejected, leading to a violent confrontation that will shape the future of both worlds. The attack ends with the death of Queen Ramonda, which spurs Shuri to finally embrace tradition and take on the Black Panther mantle to protect her home.
But Shuri's decision isn't solely altruistic -- she desires vengeance from Namor and is consumed by guilt and anger over her brother's death. She crafts a synthetic Heart-Shaped Herb using elements within a bracelet gifted to her by Namor and takes it, hoping to see her mother or brother in the ancestral plane.
But when she arrives, she's confronted by none other than her late cousin, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Michael B. Jordan).
Shuri is understandably surprised by the "Hey lil cousin," Killmonger directs her way, and furthermore by his assertion that they share more in common than she'd like to admit. Feeding off the anger, guilt and uncertainty in Shuri's heart, Killmonger taunts her, suggesting that she "chose" to see him because she wants to avenge her loved ones, much like he did.
Since visits to the ancestral plane are seemingly manifestations created by the person who takes the heart-shaped herb, it suggests that Shuri's anger after the deaths of her brother and her mother caused her to call upon the only other ruler she knew driven by vengeance. Shuri wasn't seeking guidance, she was seeking approval for what she really wanted to do: kill Namor.
Killmonger challenges Shuri as to whether she will be weak like her brother or whether she'll "take care of business" like him and handle Namor permanently.
Killmonger's words bolster the rage burning within Shuri and she leaves the ancestral plane determined to kill Namor. But ultimately, Shuri is her mother's daughter. Ramonda reaches out to her from the ancestral plane with advice echoing her words to T'Challa in Black Panther: "Show them who you are."
Shuri spares Namor's life and strikes a truce with the kingdom of Tālokān, promising that Wakanda will protect Tālokān from invasion.
With the fighting coming to a (momentary) end, the film wraps up several loose ends. Newly appointed Midnight Angel, Okoye, breaks CIA Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) out of armed custody after he's arrested for helping the Wakandans. New MCU hero Ironheart, aka Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), returns to the States, with her dad's car freshly rebuilt courtesy of her new bestie, Shuri.
The princess also makes sure to plant more of her synthetic heart-shaped herbs in the forest, restarting the tradition of the Black Panther and ensuring the protector will continue on after her.
And finally, the ceremony to crown a new ruler of Wakanda takes place. M'Baku arrives in the aircraft meant to carry the princess, revealing that Shuri has decided not to challenge anyone for the throne -- leaving M'Baku the freedom to take her place. Although the film doesn't Although the film doesn't reveal how the ceremony ends, it's safe to assume this suggests M'Baku becomes Wakanda's new King, officially separating the mantle of Black Panther from the royal lineage.
The film ends with Shuri traveling to Haiti, where she visits Nakia. She decides to finally burn her ceremonial clothing from T'Challa's funeral, officially letting herself contend with her grief and anger at his death. The moment is made more poignant by a touching montage of Boseman as the film comes to a close and Rihanna's "Lift Me Up" plays into the credits.
What Happens in Wakanda Forever's Mid-Credits Scene?
As Shuri sits by herself on the beach, silently reflecting on the loss of her brother, Nakia reappears to join her. But she isn't alone. The former war dog brings along a young boy that hasn't been introduced in the franchise before.
Shuri begins talking with the boy, whose name is revealed to be Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun) -- possibly in reference to the Haitian general Toussaint L'Ouverture, the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution. Nakia explains to Shuri that Toussaint is her son with T'Challa, and the main reason she left Wakanda. Making art imitate life, the mid-credits scene reveals that much like Boseman kept his cancer to everyone but those he felt needed to prepare for his departure, T'Challa did the same. The only people privy to the hero's sickness were Nakia and their child.
Nakia explains that she stayed away from Wakanda and resided in Haiti because T'Challa felt the attention would be too much for their young son. But the King let them know of his failing health, getting them ready to say goodbye long before his family in Wakanda was aware of his disease.
Nakia also informs her that Ramonda learned of Toussaint's existence before her death, putting Shuri's fears that her mother passed without meeting her grandson at ease. Toussaint shares a secret with Shuri, telling her that his Wakandan name is T'Challa, just like his father. The former princess is able to smile for the first time in a long while, meeting the embodiment of her brother's love and the young boy who will carry on his name. It's a heartfelt if bittersweet ending.
The Wakanda Forever cast has spoken at length about how the film paralleled their real-life journeys with grief following Boseman's death, and Huerta told ET, in his mind, "the message of the of the movie is what you're going to do with that grief."
"You have two options: You can fall, which is OK. If you fall, you break in pieces, you are lost, it's OK, because it's human," he added. "But then, after that, you have to collect every single piece, create something new and give to the world its flowers back."
And while Huerta never got to meet Boseman in person, he was adamant that the cast and crew of Wakanda Forever paid tribute to the late star during each moment of making the sequel.
"[I didn't know him, but] I could know about him. Through the eyes of the people, when they speak about him, you can see this spark in their eyes," he shared. "We did our 100 percent to make this movie possible to honor him, to honor his legacy. I know wherever he is now, he could be proud of what we did here."
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now.