How ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Sets Up Shuri and Namor for ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’
This post contains major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever accomplishes a lot of things. It’s a beautiful tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. It expands the Marvel universe with the introduction of the underwater nation of Talokan. It introduces Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s Namor the Sub-mariner, along with Shuri as the new Black Panther. And, of course, it does what all Marvel movies do: it helps set up the next Avengers tentpole film.
Marvel’s Multiverse Saga will culminate in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, slated for release in 2025 and 2026. What might Shuri and Namor’s relationship look like in the next two Avengers films? If it’s anything like their comics history, it won’t be easy for either of them.
Namor and Black Panther’s fraught comics history
The film’s conflict between Wakanda and Talokan is based on the two nations’ history in the comics. In the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline from 2012, Namor sends a tidal wave to Wakanda during a fight over control of the Phoenix Force. Shuri, who’s ruling Wakanda at the time, responds by leading a war against Atlantis, leaving both nations decimated and Namor banished to the Ultimate Universe.
However, Namor and T’Challa are forced to put their feud aside in 2015’s Secret Wars, when the multiverse collapses and the last two remaining universes—the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe—are both destroyed in a final incursion. Namor and T’Challa survive and land on Battleworld, a patchwork planet that Doctor Doom creates from the last vestiges of the multiverse. There, the two kings grudgingly work together to track down two relics that will give them a chance to overthrow Doom and restore the multiverse.
Will we see a similar partnership in the MCU adaptation of Secret Wars? I hope so, because every moment with Shuri and Namor together in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is gold.
Shuri and Namor have some serious chemistry in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
It’s painful to think about what Chadwick Boseman could have done with the Namor/T’Challa rivalry. It would have been amazing to see him and Huerta’s Namor play off each other, and the fact that we’ll never know how it would have gone down adds yet another layer to the tragedy of his passing.
Marvel fans are lucky, though, that Letitia Wright does such a great job stepping into the role of Black Panther. Shuri and Namor have two major sequences in the movie together, and both of them are riveting.
In the first sequence, Namor kidnaps Shuri and Riri, taking them to Talokan. Shuri is enchanted by Talokan and its people, and even warms up to Namor. Even though tensions are still high when Shuri and Riri are rescued, you can see the seeds of a future truce—and perhaps even friendship. They’re on opposite sides of a serious conflict, but they don’t dislike each other. They each understand where the other is coming from. Shuri even accepts the gift of Namor’s mother’s bracelet, which is a pretty significant thing for Namor to offer her in the first place.
That fragile goodwill is shattered, though, when Namor attacks Wakanda and kills Queen Ramonda. Shuri launches a counterattack to get revenge, and that attack culminates in a ferocious battle with Namor himself. Shuri finally overcomes Namor by burning him, and just barely manages to pull herself back from the brink of killing him. Instead, she tells him that if he yields, Wakanda will help protect Talokan’s territory and vibranium supply. Namor accepts the offer, knowing that Talokan gains power if it has Wakanda as an ally.
Wakanda Forever does a fantastic job of setting up Shuri and Namor’s uneasy alliance moving forward. Shuri won’t soon forget what Namor did to Ramonda, even if she’s decided to move past her need for revenge. Namor, likewise, is surely still smarting from his defeat, even though he spins it as part of a larger plan for Talokan’s future.
In short: get these two characters back onscreen together, ASAP.
Will Shuri and Namor team up in Avengers: Secret Wars?
Avengers: Secret Wars, currently slated for May 2026, will serve as the culmination of Marvel’s Multiverse Saga. It’s hard to say how closely it’ll follow the comics storyline since the MCU tends to take a lot of creative liberties with its source material.
However! Even if Shuri and Namor face off again in a possible Black Panther 3—or maybe a Namor solo outing, please please please?—their rivalry is too compelling not to explore further in an Avengers team-up. In the comics, their partnership is made even more interesting by the fact that the kingdoms they fought to protect have both been destroyed in the incursion. With no people or nations left to defend, the two are able to put their differences aside (even if they still get on each other’s nerves).
We’ll have to wait a few years to see Shuri and Namor together again, but whenever it happens—in Secret Wars or some other way—it’ll be worth it.
(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)
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