There’s a good chance that, even if you’re not a Black Panther comics fan, going into the movie you had a pretty good grasp on the basics — especially if you did your Marvel Cinematic Universe homework and watched Captain America: Civil War first. You might have even been prepared, thanks to the thorough marketing campaign, to be introduced to a whole roster of new characters as Wakanda’s finest were showcased on screen.
You probably weren’t, however, ready for one of those new faces to almost completely steal Black Panther out from under the king himself.
T’Challa’s 16-year-old sister Shuri is played by Letitia Wright who, before this, was known mostly for BBC series like Black Mirror and a handful of indie films. That relatively thin resume only added to the surprise when she nabbed scene after scene, even when paired with some of Hollywood’s most recognizable names. So, don’t worry if you came out of Black Panther with a sudden and totally unexpected love for the princess of Wakanda. For one thing, you’re far from alone, but for another? With any luck, Shuri’s story in the MCU is only beginning.
The character was introduced in 2005 by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. in Marvel’s Black Panther comic, which means there’s plenty of content from which to mine ideas for her cinematic future. Of course, there are some key differences between both of Shuri’s incarnations. For one, there’s an age difference: Shuri in the comics is no longer the scrappy kid sister but an adult; for another, there’s a considerably less-jovial sibling relationship. Shuri’s comics incarnation has her eyes decidedly on the prize of the Black Panther mantle, and is so envious of her brother that the Panther God reject her first attempt to assume the mantle when T’Challa is indisposed.
That doesn’t last long, however, and Shuri becomes the Black Panther in earnest. She also assumes the title of queen of Wakanda while T’Challa steps into a role as King of the Dead in a storyline the MCU may never pursue — but that doesn’t really matter. The point is there are enough stories involving Shuri to inspire plenty of content for the character on screen, even if it’s not followed verbatim in its adaptation. And, really, it’s content that needs to be put on screen.
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