The Marvel Cinematic Universe may have only just introduced Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa aka the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, but the seeds of Wakanda’s existence have been planted for years. Their sacred metal vibranium was used to make Captain America’s shield and Avengers: Age of Ultron saw Ulysses Klaue selling the product to Ultron for his final form. This will all pale in comparison when the true nature and mythology of Wakanda is unveiled in 2018’s Black Panther.
Production is currently underway on Black Panther, but Marvel security has been mostly tight to keep the secrets in place for director Ryan Coogler’s project. Coogler being behind the camera initially gave many even more confidence in the standalone film – Marvel’s first to feature an African-American lead and director – and the supporting cast continued to generate more excitement. This could be the case again, as one previous cast member has now been confirmed to be playing a major character from the Marvel comics in the movie.
During Disney’s CinemaCon presentation last night, they highlighted every film on their current slate and gave brief updates/teases on each. With Black Panther in production, they put up a graphic showing their star-studded cast with their character names. Thanks to a photo of this from Ain’t It Cool’s Eric Vespe, it has been confirmed that Letitia Wright will be playing the role of Shuri, the younger sister to T’Challa.
Wright playing Shuri has been speculated for some time, but this is the first time Disney has confirmed this is the case. Wright is a newcomer to Hollywood, but she is poised to be a breakout star next year, thanks to Black Panther and a major role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. With a cast as big and as talented as this one, it is unclear at this stage just how big of a role Shuri will actually have in Black Panther. Even if she does not have a major role in the first Black Panther movie, she could become a more prominent character in subsequent installments.
In the comics, Shuri is not just the princess of Wakanda, but in more recent iterations has become the Black Panther herself and rules Wakanda. Unlike her brother, she embraces the responsibilities that come with leading a nation, whereas T’Challa usually is more occupied with Avenger-related business. Black Panther could ultimately lay the seeds for Shuri eventually becoming Queen of Wakanda, should T’Challa’s early days in the leadership role not fare too well. With Klaue and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) set to make his life difficult, it could only be a matter of time before Wright steps into a much larger role in the MCU.