On Saturday night, we got our first glimpse of Ryan Coogler’s upcoming MCU sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The raw, emotional teaser showcased T’Challa’s grieving family and featured the introduction of Namor’s underwater civilization. However, it stopped short of revealing who will take up the mantle of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, only teasing a new hero at the end of the trailer.
But in classic LEGO fashion, three new playsets based on Wakanda Forever have revealed the MCU’s next Black Panther and their costume’s design.
[WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.]
Who is the Next Black Panther?
It looks like fans have guessed correctly and previous reports are confirmed: Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, is indeed our new Black Panther. Shuri has taken up the mantle in the comics, making her an obvious choice to don the suit in Wakanda Forever.
However, amid a slew of anti-vaccination controversy surrounding Wright, some have suggested that Danai Gurira’s Okoye or Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia could be suiting up as the protector of Wakanda instead.
While Shuri may not be our only Black Panther in Wakanda Forever, she certainly appears to be our lead hero based on trade reports and Wright’s top billing at the end of the teaser trailer.
Two of the new LEGO Wakanda Forever sets feature Shuri suited up as the Black Panther, with the largest set still to be revealed. It’s hard to pick out details given the quality of these images, which originated on the LEGO instructions page, but higher quality images should be released soon. It has also been revealed that these sets are expected to drop on October 1, 2022. (via Stonewars)
LEGO has often revealed minor spoilers for superhero films, from Giant-Man’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War to our first glimpses of the costume designs for Simu Liu as Shang-Chi and Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher.
Shuri’s New Costume
Shuri’s Black Panther suit certainly resembles T’Challa’s, but its overall design is much more complex. There are silver lines running along her shoulders and down around her hips, mixing in with gold detailing through the legs.
The design gets more complicated around her hips and thighs as the colors combine, creating a more intricate appearance than T’Challa’s simple silver lines. Some of this gold detail can be seen on the back of her legs and along her arms in the teaser trailer. But what’s most interesting is the giant splotch of purple around her stomach, which brings in a lot more color than her family’s previous Black Panther suits!
T’Challa’s suit glowed with purple light when he absorbed kinetic energy, charging the suit with enough power to blast enemies away. However, that purple color manifested along the detailed lines of his suit, rather than in one concentrated area. I believe the purple in Shuri’s suit isn’t this energy, but rather the color of the actual costume.
It’s a design that looks a bit strange on the LEGO minfigure but could look awesome in the movie. Maybe her suit will still have the energy absorption capability, but I find it hard to believe it would all be concentrated on her stomach instead of running in glowing lines along her body like T’Challa.
Shuri also appears to be wearing a necklace of some sort, much like T’Challa, but it’s hard to pick out the finer details in an image like this. Her mask is notably missing in both LEGO sets, which may indicate that she doesn’t wear one in the movie. Hopefully, she gets one though, since protecting the head is pretty important!
Finally, Shuri’s panther gauntlets from the first Black Panther movie are indeed incorporated into her suit. While they may look like generic blasters, LEGO has used the exact same pieces to represent her panther gauntlets in sets dating back to 2018.
I am very excited to see Shuri suit up as the Black Panther Wakanda Forever in November, but I wish it was under better circumstances. Chadwick Boseman’s performance as T’Challa is absolutely iconic so I understand why Marvel Studios chose not to recast the role, but people are understandably upset. There was no perfect option to proceed with the Black Panther franchise after Boseman’s untimely passing, but I think putting Shuri in the suit is a solid choice.
Hopefully, we get a clearer look at her costume soon, whether it’s from other merchandise reveals or the boxes of these LEGO sets!