Marvel Studios has brought audiences back to Wakanda with the long-awaited sequel to Black Panther. Though Chadwick Boseman has passed, along with his iconic character, King T’Challa, the film still brings together many old and new characters that have helped make it a spectacular sequel.
Now that the film has debuted in theaters, here is the list of the best characters in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Note that the below list contains plot spoilers for the movie, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
When Shuri enters the Ancestral Plane after ingesting a synthetic heart-shaped herb, instead of meeting with her mother’s spirit, she encounters the spirit of her evil cousin, Erik. Despite the mercy and defeat that he received from T’Challa in the first film, Killmonger proves to be just as hateful as ever, as he encourages Shuri not to be noble and merciful like T’Challa and to end Namor’s wrath by killing him.
Though Shuri rarely had any encounters with Erik in the previous film, Killmonger shows that he and Shuri are more alike than they thought, effectively making him the devil on Shuri’s shoulder.
Ross returns to help his friends in Wakanda find Riri so they can stop Namor from attacking Wakanda. Owing a debt of gratitude to Shuri for saving his life, he continues to have a sweet friendship with the Wakandan Princess, providing her with intel about how the U.S. government is conspiring against Wakanda to prevent war from breaking out.
Throughout the film, Ross struggles with his loyalties to both his friends in Wakanda and the U.S. government. He is forced to keep Namor’s existence secret as the U.S. blames Wakanda for the Talokans attacking their vibranium mining operation. This is especially difficult when he is confronted by his ex-wife, Val, who has been manipulating characters like Black Widow‘s Yelena Belova and John Walker into working for her. Though he works for an organization now driven by greed and suspicion, Ross proves his morality by helping Shuri protect the people of Wakanda, even when it means being arrested by the CIA.
M’Baku continues to be the humorous macho man of these films. Seen cracking wise and munching on carrots, M’Baku is continuously driven by his ego to prove his manliness by defending Wakanda. Though he is ready to jump into battle against Namor without a second thought, he also acts as a voice of reason for Shuri later in the film.
Seeing her desire to exact vengeance on Namor, he warns her not to kill him so as not to risk putting their people in an eternal war with Talokan. While he is willing to die on the battlefield, he shows he is not willing to force his people to do the same, making him a respectable leader.
Wielding energy daggers built by Shuri, Aneka fights for Wakanda as a member of the Dora Milaje, eventually becoming one of the superpowered Midnight Angels. Much like her comic book counterpart, Aneka has a romantic relationship with Ayo, another member of the Dora Milaje who has repeatedly appeared in the MCU.
As the latest queer character to join Marvel’s lineup of cinematic heroes, Aneka adds not just more LGBTQ+ representation to the MCU, but also a woman with a story and a loving relationship that demands a greater presence in future projects.
Namor accuses this young MIT student of supplying the CIA with technology to detect and steal his kingdom’s vibranium, and she finds herself being hunted by both the Talokans and the FBI. While Princess Shuri has extraordinary wealth and resources as a scientist, Riri is limited to what she can scavenge and buy with the money she makes from helping her classmates.
Despite this, Riri has proven herself to be a fiery and intelligent young woman, having already built a suit of armor similar to Iron Man’s that she uses to fight for what’s right when she is thrust into a thrilling adventure with her new best friend, Shuri.
Having become the ruler of Wakanda after the death of her son, T’Challa, Ramonda struggles to lead her people and protect them from Namor’s forces and those who try to steal their country’s supply of vibranium. She has thus become aggressive toward those who have acted against her and her people, and her anger and frustration drive her to threaten the U.N. and strip Okoye of her position in the Dora Milaje after Shuri is kidnapped.
In the end, Ramonda shows that she is still a caring woman, as she ends up sacrificing herself to save Riri from drowning, treating her as if she was her own child.
After T’Challa was erased from existence by Thanos’s snap, Nakia spent years living in Haiti, and since she wasn’t present at the king’s funeral, it is implied that she had trouble returning to Wakanda in the wake of his second death. However, it is later revealed that Nakia secretly had a son with T’Challa six years prior and that they wanted him to be raised far away from the pressures of being the prince of Wakanda.
Even though Nakia has felt disconnected from her homeland, after she fights alongside T’Challa’s family to stop Namor, Nakia proves that she will always be a soldier, a Wakandan, and a loving mother.
In this film, Okoye struggles to fulfill her duties and prove herself loyal to Wakanda after she sided with Killmonger. Though she ends up losing her position as General of the Dora Milaje after Namor leaves with Shuri, she continues to fight with the princess for their nation by donning a new supersuit and taking the title of the Midnight Angel.
While Okoye has made mistakes in the past, she has shown that she is always willing to die for the good of her nation, no matter her rank, mantle, or costume.
In a strong departure from his comic book origins, the MCU’s Namor rules the undersea kingdom of Talokan, where he is worshipped as the Mayan god K’uk’ulkan. The Sub-Mariner in this film is very similar to Killmonger, as he seeks to take over the surface world out of hatred for the humans who oppressed and enslaved his people.
However, he has displayed compassion and understanding toward Shuri, as he sees how the world is trying to steal resources from their respective nations. All in all, Namor shows that he wants to protect his people from the outside world, making him one of the most layered and sympathetic villains in the MCU.
Shuri laments being unable to save T’Challa from his fatal illness and has spent a year withdrawing herself to her lab, unable to grieve her brother’s death. She later grows bitter after Namor kills her mother, causing her to struggle with her desire to protect Wakanda from war and pursue vengeance.
Nevertheless, Shuri has proven herself to be one of the most compassionate characters in the film. She was strictly against giving Riri to Namor, and she tried to save a Talokan who was fatally shot, even after she put a knife to her neck. She nearly lets her anger consume her, but she makes the right decision and spares Namor so they can establish peace between Wakanda and Talokan. She also takes up the mantle of Black Panther and becomes a new symbol of hope for the people of Wakanda, cementing her as one of the best superheroes currently in the MCU.