Shuri has emerged in the last couple of years as one of the MCU’s most popular characters – she’s smart, a badass, and above all, very funny. Letitia Wright is brilliant at delivering the character’s one-liners in a hysterically deadpan style, and she’s been characterized as one of the fiercest and strongest female characters in the MCU. Since she’s quickly become a fan favorite, we can expect a bright future for this character. Maybe she’ll get a solo movie, or take on the “Black Panther” mantle herself at some point.
10 “Do you think it’s a good idea to bring your ex on a mission?”
The funniest MCU characters are the ones that keep the movies self-aware. If there’s a situation that seems a little too unrealistic or comic book-y, they can jump in with a joke that points this out – for example, when Black Widow mentioned that nothing sounded crazy to her anymore because she’d been receiving regular emails from an anthropomorphic raccoon-like alien. Another good example is when Shuri pointed out that taking Nakia, T’Challa’s ex, along for the mission in South Korea might not have been the wisest decision. But we could see they still had unresolved feelings for each other and needed to get closer to confront those feelings.
9 “No, it’s Kansas.”
This is Shuri’s response when Everett Ross asks her if he’s in Wakanda. The MCU spends so much time referencing its own movies and TV shows with crossovers and Easter eggs and callbacks that there isn’t much time left to make references to other areas of popular culture.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t make the time to throw in those references. In this line, Shuri references The Wizard of Oz, switching out Dorothy for Martin Freeman’s character Everett Ross when he awakens in her lab to see futuristic technology all over what he’d been led to believe was a third-world country.
8 “It’s like riding a hover-bike.”
The technology that Shuri has created from the hidden mountain of vibranium that powers Wakanda is staggering. MCU fans call Tony Stark and Bruce Banner the “Science Bros.,” but Shuri has created technology and gadgets far beyond their grasp all by herself. Sure, she had the most powerful and most precious material on Earth at her disposal, but it’s all about the brains behind the inventions and less about the material that’s used to create them – that’s the second step in the process. But the level of Shuri’s innovation is shown when she refers to a hover-bike as a lower, more primitive technology, astounding Everett Ross.
7 “I invite you to my lab and you just kick things around!”
Shuri is a fun take on the Q role from the James Bond movies. She is the tech expert who equips the hero with all of his cool weapons, but she’s also the hero’s sister, so she’s constantly poking fun at him. In this case, she’s showing him a new suit of armor she’s made for him and asks him to strike it. He strikes it harder than she was expecting and she tells him off for it. He argues that she didn’t tell him how hard to strike it, but she sees the wider issue that he doesn’t have any regard for her lab.
6 “‘People are shooting at me. Wait, let me put my helmet on!’”
The sly thing about Shuri is that she knows that while her brother gets all the credit, it’s her tech that keeps him alive. With this line, she points out his affection for antiquated technology that’s going to get him killed. Because she’s his sister, she’s the only person in Wakanda who doesn’t see him as a bold, heroic king, but rather as kind of a goofball who she supplies with futuristic weapons. Not that she doesn’t see her brother as a bold, heroic king, too – in her eyes, he’ll always be the “true king.” But above all, they’re just siblings.
5 “I’m sure you did your best.”
Like Tony Stark, Shuri knows that she’s so smart that she can condescend to everyone. When Steve Rogers and some of the other Avengers show up at Wakanda to get the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head and keep it out of Thanos’ hands, Shuri gets to look down at Bruce Banner.
As soon as they arrive, she comes up with a strategy – to “reprogram the synapses to work collectively.” Banner humbly tells Shuri that they didn’t think of that and she says, “I’m sure you did your best.” And remember, it takes a pretty smart cookie to outsmart Bruce Banner.
4 “When you said you would take me to California for the first time, I thought you meant Coachella or Disneyland.”
What makes Black Panther such an incredible movie is that it doesn’t just get the audience to empathize with the villain and understand his motivations; it gets the hero to do the same. T’Challa defeats Killmonger, and refuses to let him see through his plans, but he does learn from him that he shouldn’t horde Wakanda’s secret stash of vibranium and should instead share it with the wider world and use it to make the world a better place. That started with the neighborhood where Erik Killmonger grew up after T’Challa’s dad killed his father. Shuri was less than impressed.
3 “Great, another broken white boy for us to fix!”
This line is a little meta, as Shuri comments on the fact that Wakanda’s role in the MCU has mostly been to help recovering white men. Cap went to Wakanda when he found himself seeking political asylum after being classified as a “war criminal” by his own government. Bucky went to Wakanda to recover from his brainwashing and get his psyche back. And Everett Ross went to Wakanda after a violent encounter with Ulysses Klaue. At a certain point, Shuri would like to spend her time doing something other than taking care of white men who got injured during superhero adventures.
2 “This corset is really uncomfortable, so can we all wrap this up and go home?”
Disney has officially added Shuri to its roster of princesses. Disney princess characters are often criticized for the fact that they always rely on men in their narratives and their characterization is generally thin and weak. Shuri counteracts these problems by being smart, independent, and funny. She won’t stand for any of the superfluous ceremony that comes along with being royalty. She doesn’t enjoy the fact that she has to wear a corset to these events and she just wants them to be over, so that she can get out of her corset and return to doing scientific work in her lab.
1 “Why do you have your toes out in my lab?”
One of the funniest moments in Black Panther comes when T’Challa heads down to Shuri’s lab and Shuri is horrified to see that he’s wearing sandals. He tells her that his plan was to “go old-school” for his first day as the King of Wakanda. She has an unwritten rule that you can’t come into her lab if you have exposed toes, which isn’t too unreasonable of a rule. If there’s one thing Shuri loves more than anything, it’s making fun of her brother, and when he wears sandals to visit her lab, he makes that really easy for her.