WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Black Panther.
Shuri is the breakout star of Black Panther, and she could end up being essential to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We already know the Wakandan princess will return in Avengers: Infinity War, but her next MCU appearance after should come before Black Panther 2: Shuri should return (as Iron Man) in Spider-Man: Homecoming 2.
For many, Shuri was just as much of a highlight of Black Panther as the titular character. Played by British actress Letitia Wright, the Wakandan princess is more than just a supporting character; she is an integral part of the narrative, a fighter who gets stuck into the action. Black Panther and Wakanda would not be as strong without her. By the movie's end, T'Challa has plans for his sister outside of their home country and brings her to Oakland, California. He wants her to head up the first Wakandan outpost so that they can share their technology with the local community and help educate those who are often forgotten about or overlooked. This gives Shuri a story of her own.
One popular theory is that the Black Panther sequel could see Kevin Feige and co. look to the comic book storyline which sees Shuri become the Black Panther, and even Queen of Wakanda. However, it's unlikely that her MCU narrative will lead to this anytime soon. In Black Panther, Erik Killmonger destroys all the Heart-Shaped Herb - the plant that imbues the Black Panthers with their superhuman powers - so she would be unable to take up the mantle until a new batch regrew. And let's not forget that Chadwick Boseman's time as Black Panther has only just started so Marvel Studios won't be looking to replace him just now. Besides, there's a better future...
This Page: Shuri Could Become The New Iron Man
Shuri Could Become The New Iron Man
Robert Downey, Jr. has played Tony Stark for ten years now, and with 2019's Avengers 4 will be making his ninth MCU appearance. That's a long time in the suit, and so many feel his Iron Man departure is nigh. But the loss of Stark needn't mean no more Shellhead. We've seen just that in Brian Michael Bendis' most recent Iron Man run; he created the character of Riri Williams, a 15-year-old black girl, engineering student and genius, who is endorsed by Stark to become a new version of Iron Man called Ironheart.
Riri could still appear in the MCU, but if the writers were interested in adapting the arc with characters they have now, then Shuri might be a better fit. The similarities between the two teenagers are more than just racial; they are both brilliant scientists with a quick-fire wit to boot. And it wouldn't be the first time Marvel Studios retconned a Marvel Comics narrative to fit within their cinematic universe.
What makes this so intriguing is that it could take place as part of a bigger shakeup of the MCU's Avengers team; several big heroes aren't expected to make it out of Avengers 4 alive, with new versions of not just Iron Man but also Captain America theorized. Indeed, Shuri already has another superhero she could team up with: Bucky. In the Black Panther post-credit scene we see the Winter Soldier alive and well, thanks to the rehabilitation process carried out by the Wakandan princess. Bucky is called "White Wolf" by the local youths, which may be a sly hint he's going to fill the role of the Black Panther character. Throw Shuri's older brother into the mix, plus Sam Wilson taking over as Captain America, and you've got yourself the start of a pretty good-looking Avengers line-up.
We'll know more about the future of these individuals after Avengers: Infinity War, especially the Wakandan side: Wright is confirmed to appear in the movie alongside a number of Black Panther stars. However, Shuri becoming Ironheart could reach further than just the Avengers - it could pivot into Sony's slice of MCU.
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