Black Panther: Wakanda Forever features a surprising cameo, but the character probably won’t be returning in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever features a surprising cameo, but it’s probably their final MCU appearance. After the tragic real-life passing of Chadwick Boseman who played King T’Challa, Wakanda Forever puts a major focus on overcoming grief and how to move forward. T’Challa’s sister Shuri takes over his role as the Black Panther of Wakanda, and enters the ancestral plane as a part of the Black Panther ritual, where she meets a familiar face.
When Shuri enters the ancestral plane, she sees the Wakandan throne room, where she recently saw her mother drowned at the hands of Namor. Unlike the wide, open plains featured in Black Panther when T’Challa went there, she sees the place connected to her trauma, just like how Erik Killmonger saw his apartment in Oakland. Fitting, since she meets Killmonger in the plane, who talks to her about how she needs to be like him and “take care of business.“
Black Panther 2 Made Killmonger Even Better (But Ended His Story)
Before the release of Wakanda Forever, Killmonger was heavily speculated to appear in some capacity. The character has been a fan favorite since he first appeared, and his story of him still had some loose ends to tie. By connecting Killmonger to Shuri, it made both of them even more interesting. Shuri was mostly just characterized as a young genius prior to Wakanda Forever, and Killmonger was able to show that she was more vengeful than T’Challa. Meanwhile, Shuri demonstrated how Killmonger was genuinely doing what he thought was best for his people, and was much more than a tyrannical ruler.
Killmonger and Shuri both lost the people that they love, and struggled with moving forward after those losses. The new Black Panther suit mirrors Killmonger’s suit, further hinting at just how similar these two characters are. But Shuri is not the exact same as Killmonger, and she manages to find her place de ella between him and her brother de ella. Killmonger becomes her mentor just as much as T’Challa was, and the new dynamic gives an already complex and understandable character even more depth. Killmonger doesn’t try to force Shuri to be like him, but he understands how she feels and believes his way de ella is right.
Will Killmonger Return Again In The MCU?
Killmonger may have died at the end of Black Pantherbut obviously, that didn’t stop him from making another appearance in Wakanda Forever. Since he’s still incredibly popular, it’s always possible he could return again, especially with rumors that characters like Iron Man could come back in Avengers: Secret Wars. However, it seems unlikely that Killmonger will actually return. Encouraging Shuri was a great send-off for the character, and there isn’t much more for him to say in the MCU. Still, there’s always hope that his What If…? counterpart may appear again since he never actually died.
Killmonger is one of the best villains in the MCU, and seeing his return in Wakanda Forever was an exciting inclusion. But continually bringing him back would downplay the meaning of death in the MCU, so it’s probably for the best if he doesn’t return again. His legacy of him lives on along with T’Challa’s in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Next: What’s Next For Namor After Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?