With Black Panther finally getting a live-action movie adaptation, there’s been plenty of attention paid to the title character. Another name you should know from the Black Panther comics is Shuri, little sister to the hero, heir to the throne of Wakanda, and Black Panther in her own right.
Shuri doesn’t have the same long legacy as her big brother T’Challa, though. While he debuted in 1966, Shuri has existed in comics for just a little over a decade, meaning that when fans get to see her on the big screen, writers have a lot more freedom to make the character their own.
Letitia Wright has already won the hearts of fans who have seen her in nothing more than promotional materials for Black Panther. Wright brings the teenage Shuri to life complete with the wise cracks of a little sister and the fire of a hero.
Movie fans who aren’t as familiar with the comics might not want to spend time reading a decade worth of material to get to know the character better before seeing the movie. If you need a primer in all things Shuri, we’ve got some of the most interesting facts about the Princess who became Black Panther.
Get the details before seeing the movie with the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Panther's Shuri.
15 She Led Wakanda To War With Atlantis
Following her refusal to allow Namor to stay in Atlantis, and following his own attack on Wakanda, Shuri took the conflicts between the two countries to the next level. She declared war.
Shuri led the Wakandan warriors to attack Atlantis.
They were so well trained that Atlantis was nearly decimated, something Namor did not forgive.
In fact, when he was questioned about the whereabouts of Thanos’ son by a group of villains, he told them to check Wakanda.
Namor hoped that this would lead to Thanos destroying Wakanda, though he was able to get his own revenge later when his Cabal invaded the city in the “Time Runs Out” storyline. Of course, this only led to a vicious cycle as T’Challa eventually tried to kill Namor for invading Wakanda.
14 The Panther God Rejected Her
When Shuri sought to take her brother’s place as Black Panther, she believed that she was ready for the role, but the Panther god had other ideas.
The ritual to become Black Panther involved members of the Wakandan ruling family ingesting the heart-shaped herb to enhance their abilities. The Panther god would then grant them the same abilities as the cat that gave them their name.
When Shuri ingested the herb, though, the god refused to give her the Panther’s power.
The god thought Shuri was too arrogant and had always been jealous of her brother’s position, so the Queen of Wakanda was seen as selfish.
However, Shuri proved the god wrong by donning the Panther habit while he brother was ill and fighting for her people anyway. The god deemed her willingness to fight as the Panther without all of the abilities a selfless act and reversed its decision.
13 She Reprogrammed Bucky Barnes
Black Panther might be the current Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, but there’s another massive film on the horizon -- Avengers: Infinity War. This movie already has its own prelude comic book out that reveals a few character tidbits.
Movie fans will remember that following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers were in Wakanda with T’Challa. T’Challa offered to put Bucky into cryogenic stasis until the damage that Hydra did to his mind could be repaired. It’s Shuri who was tasked with “fixing” Bucky’s mental programming in between movies.
The comic reveals that Shuri discovered a way to reprogram Bucky’s mind so that his memories would remain in tact, but the Hydra trigger words would no longer affect him. As a bonus, she also found a way to use her method for Artificial Intelligence in Wakanda.
12 She Can Shape Shift
Shuri didn’t always have special abilities. When the Cabal left her in a state of living death, though, her soul left her body to travel to the Wakandan spiritual realm called the Djalia.
While in the Djalia, Shuri connected with all of the Wakandas who came before her and was granted a certain amount of wisdom. She learned new skills and the spirits opened her eyes to the connections amongst her people.
When Shuri’s body awakened from its stasis, Shuri’s soul had new abilities in the real world as well.
She can turn her body into a flock of birds to allow her to fly or scape an attack. She can also change her body composition to a stone-like material, making her almost invulnerable to attack.
11 She Is Illuminati
In the normal comic book continuity, there is a group that works behind the scenes to help shape events for the good of the world. It’s made up of some of the smartest minds on the planet, including Black Panther, X-Men leader Professor X, and the Inhuman King Black Bolt. In another universe, the Illuminati also included Shuri.
A recent comic book storyline saw the multiverse begin to fall apart as universes collide. Several different heroic factions (including the Illuminati) attempted to stop these collisions, though their methods varied.
While some were willing to let other universes die to save their own, others wanted to stop the event completely.
Shuri was most concerned with her country at the time, and remained in Wakanda. When another universe encroached on theirs though, the Illuminati from that Earth made an appearance. In the other universe, designated Earth-23099, Shuri was among them.
10 She Sacrificed Herself For Her Brother
During the Avengers’ “Time Runs Out” story arc, as worlds collided, the Cabal attacked Wakanda, wanting to use the country to its own advantage. Shuri made sure that her brother survived to rule their people and help save the world.
Namor’s cabal, which included villains amongst its ranks, took over Wakanda and destroyed some of the cities. The ruling family set out to stop their plan of using antimatter ejection systems against the colliding world. The villain Proxima Midnight cornered Shuri and T’Challa during the attack, blocking them from continuing their quest.
Shuri fought Proxima Midnight herself, urging her brother to flee. T’Challa teleported away to continue to help his people, but Shuri was defeated by Proxima Midnight.
Shuri wasn’t outright killed, but stuck in a state of “living death,” in which her body was encased in amber.
9 She Ended The Life Of Radioactive Man
Not long after Shuri saw her brother become the Black Panther, their country was attacked by a long-time villain named Klaw.
Klaw had been responsible for the death of their father years earlier, and he led a group of mercenaries to attack Wakanda again when T’Challa rose to power.
Interested in using vibranium for his own nefarious purposes, Klaw attempted to get to the Wakandan mound of it many times. It was during one of his attacks that Shuri was forced to end a life.
Shuri fought the villain Radioactive Man, who worked for Klaw at the time.
She ended up running him through with the Ebony Blade, a mystical sword passed down through generations.
She was so traumatized that she had trouble coping with it. T’Challa promised to teach her how to better protect herself and began training her so that she could one day take his place.
8 She Wanted The Black Panther Title
Shuri was introduced in the comics when a trial by combat occurred to see who would hold the Black Panther title. Though she was a teenager, she wanted the honor for herself.
Shuri discovered that someone else -- a masked figure -- had already challenged the current Black Panther. Her uncle S’Yan held the title following the death of her father, but he was defeated in combat by her brother T’Challa.
Shuri then began training to live up to the legacy of her family.
Though T’Challa held the title for most of his time in the comics, Shuri has had the chance to wear the Panther habit on more than one occasion. Her comic book fans are eagerly waiting to see if she might get to do the same on the big screen.
7 She Banished T’Challa From The Golden City
While Shuri reigned in Wakanda, the country had plenty of problems. Chief among them was their relationship with the nation of Atlantis. When Shuri found out that her brother was still in contact with Namor, she was less than pleased.
Shuri ran the country from the capitol, the Golden City. Meanwhile, T’Challa was in charge of the Necropolis, the burial area for Wakandans. They both shared the title of Black Panther.
This power balance was the result of T’Challa being injured and Shuri taking up the mantle. T’Challa’s injury -- and temporary loss of power -- was the result of a confrontation with Namor.
Shuri took her country to war with Atlantis, and the Atlanteans caused an equal loss of life amongst Wakandans. Shuri couldn’t understand why her brother would keep close contact with the man responsible for so much bloodshed, so she forbade him from entering the Golden City.
6 She Debuted In 2005
Unlike her big brother, who made his comic book debut in 1966, Shuri is a modern addition to the Marvel comic book universe. She didn’t appear in the comics until her brother’s backstory was fleshed out nearly 40 years later.
Shuri debuted in the second issue of the fourth volume of the Black Panther solo series, letting readers know right away that the stories told in these comics would be different.
Shuri was one of the Wakandans who wanted to vie for the title of Black Panther.
As Shuri became more than just someone who coveted the title passed down in her family, though, she was revealed to be highly intelligent and fiercely loyal. She always put her country and the people of Wakanda first, even if that meant that the decisions she made clashed with her own desires.
5 She Is Ramonda's Daughter
Since many Black Panther fans were aware that T’Challa’s mother died in childbirth, having a younger sister seemed out of the question.
Shuri is the daughter of their father T’Chaka, but her mother is his second wife.
Ramonda became T’Chaka’s wife shortly after the death of T’Challa’s mother N’Yami. Originally from South Africa, Ramonda ended up a prisoner in her homeland. She was kidnapped and held against her will for years following Shuri’s birth, leaving them to be raised by T’Challa and their uncle S’Yan as well as many advisors.
Shuri and T’Challa did not know that Ramonda had been kidnapped, though, as she disappeared during a protest. Many believed that Ramonda had simply left T’Chaka for someone else, when in reality she spent years being tortured by a mad man.
4 Namor Asked Her For Refuge
There is a history of conflict between Wakanda and the water nation of Atlantis. Prince Namor, who often didn’t play will others, thought that Shuri would be the one to end it.
Namor, who didn’t get along with T’Challa and had already seen the king refuse his requests, sought out negotiations with Shuri when she became acting Queen. T’Challa had become gravely ill and his wife, the X-Men member Storm, recommended Shuri for Queen instead of herself.
Namor offered to make sure that the conflict between their two nations ended if Shuri would allow him to seek refuge in Wakanda whenever he needed it.
Namor really just wanted a place to escape his enemies, and find a base from which to operate his own plans. Shuri refused his offer, just like her brother had before her, and it didn’t win her any points with the prince.
3 She Leads The Wakandan School For Alternative Studies
The Wakandan School For Alternative Studies only appeared in a few comics so far (five appearances total), so it isn’t particularly well known. It boasts one impressive headmistress in Shuri though.
The school serves a similar function in Wakanda as The Xavier School did in the United States. Shuri trains young people in Wakanda who have extraordinary gifts.
Not many of her students have been introduced yet, but the ones who have been have a variety of abilities.
Bull has the senses, reflexes, and strength of a lion, Blocks can absorb and transfer kinetic energy, and Asha can reflect or absorb light as well as disappear if she chooses to. In a few more years, Headmistress Shuri just might give the various X-Men teams a run for their money.
2 She Took On Doctor Doom’s Network
During the events of “Doomwar,” Shuri and T’Challa discovered that Fantastic Four enemy Doctor Doom targeted their people for access to vibranium. The reveal leads Shuri on an epic adventure.
The events occur shortly after T’Challa healed from his injuries and Shuri had been acting as Black Panther. T’Challa initially left Shuri in charge of the country while he found allies to help take on Doctor Doom, but what they discovered ran far deeper.
Doom infected numerous Wakandans with his own special nanites to allow him to control them. The brother-sister team had to save their people first.
Following this, Shuri took it upon herself to track down everyone in Doctor Doom’s criminal network, traveling the world, and putting them out of business.
She and T’Challa then recruited their allies to take on Doom as well, finally saving the day.
1 She Is A Genius
Marvel Comics (and the movies) are full of heroes whose feats are helped along by their intellect. Characters like Reed Richards, Tony Stark, or T’Challa are so effective in their heroic roles because they are also able to invent their own weapons and defensive systems. However, Shuri, who is just a teenager compared to these men, is also on their level.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is keeping Shuri’s interest in science and technology at the forefront of her character development. Not only is Shuri interested in science, but she’s as smart, if not smarter than the resident MCU geniuses Bruce Banner and Tony Stark.
Her specialty is engineering, as she created most of the modern Wakandan technology. Shuri designed the weaponry she uses in the movie, including those impressive gauntlets, as well as the Black Panther habit that allows her brother to enhance his own abilities.
Did you learn something new about Black Panther's Princess of Wakanda? Let us know if we missed an interesting Shuri fact in the comments!