The Black Panther franchise has returned to theaters with Wakanda Forever. The sequel deals with the death of T’Challa, serving as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020. Without the Black Panther, T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright) and her mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), are forced to protect Wakanda from Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the leader of the underwater nation of Talokan.
Note: The following article contains major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The MCU popularized the concept of post-credits stingers, ever since Nick Fury introduced himself to Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues that tradition. However, while most Marvel productions typically include two end-credits sequences, the Black Panther sequel only features one.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever end-credits scene explained
For context, Wakanda Forever reveals that Nakia, T’Challa’s romantic partner (played by Lupita Nyong’o), left Wakanda after T’Challa was snapped away by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. She relocated to Haiti, where she built a new life for herself as a teacher. At the end of the film, after defeating Namor and brokering a peace treaty with Talokan, Shuri allows M’Baku to become the new King of Wakanda, and she travels to Nakia’s house in Haiti.
The new Black Panther goes to the beach behind Nakia’s abode to burn the ceremonial dress she wore to T’Challa’s funeral. The movie then ends with Shuri finally coming to terms with her brother’s death. The mid-credits scene picks up right where the film left off. She is approached by Nakia and a little boy, whom Nakia reveals to be Toussaint, her and T’Challa’s son.
Nakia explains to Shuri that, prior to the events of Infinity War, T’Challa relocated her and their baby to Haiti to keep them away from the pressure of the Wakandan throne. Then, when he came back after Avengers: Endgame and learned of his sickness (which is not disclosed in the film), he asked them to stay there to shield them from his suffering. Shuri asks if Queen Ramonda knew the baby, to which Nakia replies she did.
It’s then revealed that “Toussaint” is the child’s Haitian name, and he has a Wakandan one, too. The boy reintroduces himself to Shuri as “Prince T’Challa, son of King T’Challa,” a callback to Black Panther, when, while fighting M’Baku for the throne of Wakanda, T’Challa proclaimed:
"“I am Prince T’Challa, son of King T’Chaka!”"
The sequence ends with Shuri laughing with joy. Following that, there is no post-credits scene aside from a message at the end that states: “Black Panther will return.”
Who is Toussaint? Is young T’Challa from the comics?
T’Challa has had different children throughout his comic book history. However, they haven’t been part of Marvel Comics’ main continuity. Perhaps the most popular Black Panther child is Azari T’Challa, son of T’Challa and X-Men member Storm, who was introduced in the 2008 animated feature Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.
The direct-to-DVD film focused on the children of the Avengers coming together to save the world from Ultron. Yet, though the concept of T’Challa having children has been thoroughly explored, the young T’Challa introduced in Wakanda Forever doesn’t seem to be based on any specific character from the comics or previous adaptations—despite sharing his name with the aforementioned Next Avengers hero. Instead, he seems to have been created specifically to honor the legacy of MCU’s T’Challa.
How Black Panther: Wakanda Forever honors Chadwick Boseman
There was a specific reason behind Wakanda Forever only featuring a mid-credits sequence. Speaking to ComicBook.com, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore stated this was done to avoid the possibility of a post-credits tease clashing with the film’s tone and diminishing its poignant ending:
"“[Wakanda Forever] is a bit different, and the tone of this movie is a bit different. […] We felt the ending was so poetic, to then go back and say, ‘Hey there’s a tag at the end credits,’ felt a little disingenuous tonally from what we were doing. So, much like [Avengers: Endgame] didn’t have a tag, this didn’t feel like a movie that needed it.”"
The ending (and mid-credits scene) is Wakanda Forever‘s last opportunity to honor Chadwick Boseman. Thus, it makes sense for Marvel to not want a potential tease to take attention away from that. Moore’s explanation is another sign of the care and forethought that was put into the handling of the actor’s passing.
Speaking to Empire Magazine, Kevin Feige stated it was too soon for Boseman to be recast in the MCU. As such, the company handled his death inspired by Stan Lee’s motto of the Marvel Universe being a representation of real life. The Marvel Studios President further explained that the focus of Wakanda Forever was on both honoring Chadwick Boseman and expanding the live-action Black Panther he helped craft:
"“The conversations were entirely about, ‘Yes, what do we do next?’ And, ‘How could the legacy of Chadwick—and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideas—continue?’ That’s what it was all about.”"
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters.