Wakanda Forever Corrected 1 Black Panther 2018 Mistake
T'Challa's Black Panther clearly lacks his genius-level scientific intellect, but Wakanda Forever takes steps to correct that mistake.
In addition to serving as a bookend to MCU Phase 4, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also managed to correct a notable failure of the first Black Panther project. While fans and critics praised the original film for its beautiful portrayal of Wakanda and its engagement with real-world themes of oppression and revenge, Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa lacks one of his historically significant traits: his scientific wisdom. This feature stands in stark contrast to Black Panther's established technological prowess in the comics.
In the Marvel Comics canon, T'Challa is known for possessing a scientific intelligence on par with other famous scientists such as Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. However, "Black Panther" and "Forever Wakanda" clearly portrayed Shuri as the more technologically gifted sibling. Now, Wakanda Forever admits that Shuri got her love for science from her brother. Also, when Shuri's Black Panther returns in a future MCU project, the new Panther will take on a very different role than her predecessor, which will make her a technological asset for Earth.
Wakanda Forever Improves The MCU's Black Panther
While some felt that recasting Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa would be a tribute to the late actor, Ryan Coogler's final decision passed Shuri's black panther cape in Wakanda Forever allows the hero to embody intellectual leadership as well as political and military might. Should Shuri's Black Panther become the Avenger, she will provide valuable resources and expertise along with other scientists already on the team. With Stark Industries' relationship with the Avengers uncertain after Tony's death, Shuri can now provide the team with the technology and insight Tony once had.
Wakanda Forever also improves the Black Panther character by emphasizing that it's not just a person; it's an idea. As T'Challa struggles to accept his role as king after his father's death, he becomes Black Panther fairly seamlessly. In contrast, Shuri and Ramonda's arguments about the necessity of the Black Panther's existence and Shuri's eventual acceptance emphasize that, for Wakanda, the Black Panther is a timeless symbol of strength and pride, more important than the man beneath the mask. It's also important for audiences, as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reaffirms that the future of the MCU can work with legacy heroes and titles.
Why Wasn't T'Challa As Scientifically Impressive As Shuri?
Viewers knew young T'Challa was passionate about science, as Shuri claims she learned a love of science from her brother. However, it's likely that the reason T'Challa doesn't display a particularly impressive scientific intelligence in the MCU is that he had to prioritize his attention while growing up. There is precedent for this fight too, as Tony Stark had to make a similar sacrifice. After becoming Iron Man, Tony couldn't continue to balance heroism, scientific experimentation and corporate leadership. Stark relinquished control of the company by appointing Pepper Potts as CEO; T'Challa apparently chose differently, committing to his future role as King of Wakanda and training to maintain the Black Panther mantle. Wakanda Forever further backs the impossibility of doing anything, as Shuri appears to be ceding the role of King of Wakanda to Winston Duke's M'Baku to better fulfill her role as Black Panther and one of Earth's leading scientists.
Of course, it's also possible that Black Panther downplays T'Challa's scientific expertise in the MCU for more diverse reasons. While the sheer size of Marvel Comics makes it more reasonable to have several scientists with genius-level intellect, the MCU's more limited roster might feel like too much if Black Panther showcases T'Challa and Shuri as equally good scientists up And clever MCU characters like Hank Pym, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Jane Foster. Having Shuri focus on science and T'Challa on leadership allowed for a more diverse cast of characters, and now, with some former franchise mainstays gone, there's room for Black Panther to become a lore leader beyond Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Whatever the reasons for changing T'Challa in the first place, MCU fans can now enjoy two great but different performances of Black Panther, each leaving a unique stamp on the character.