In the director’s audio commentary for “Wakanda Forever” (via TheDirect), Ryan Coogler talks about the decision to make Shuri the new Black Panther. It’s arguably the second biggest surprise of the movie (with the biggest being Queen Ramonda’s death) and was a carefully guarded secret — one that had audiences speculating for months, thinking it could be anyone from Okoye to M’Baku. There were even some (kind of ridiculous) rumors from people thinking that it could be a resurrected Killmonger. For my part, I thought it could have been Ramonda herself.
But while we had to wait to go to the movies to find out for certain who would don the suit (… or by buying the official LEGO sets that basically ruined the surprise), the biggest clue was right there in the film’s trailers all along. Speaking as part of the movie’s commentary, Coogler noted:
“It’s funny, ’cause in these films, we don’t really let anybody wear black except for the Black Panther. It’s kind of like Wakandan rules in many ways. So it was funny like watching the … (laughs) Watching the [‘Wakanda Forever’] trailers come out and people saying, ‘Who’s gonna be the Black Panther?’ And that image of Shuri walking in in all black with the necklace was always in those trailers.”
He continued, admitting he would “kind of laugh to myself a bit,” adding that he had already established this rule in the first “Black Panther” movie. “You know, you don’t really see anybody wearing that color predominantly in Wakanda,” Coogler pointed out. “Yeah, once the person becomes the Panther, you see they only wear black. Even when they dress casually.”