It all changes during the end credits. Since the beginning, Marvel Studios has put scenes during and after its credits to keep fans in the seats and tease what’s to come. It’s where Nick Fury debuted, where we first met Thanos and Wanda, and were teased about Captain Marvel. These are all crucial, unforgettable, exciting scenes. And yet we think Marvel’s latest film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, has the best credits scene in Marvel Studios history.
Discussing this will, of course, mean spoiling it so run and hide right now if you haven’t see the movie yet.
Wakanda Forever only has one end credits scene, and it’s in the middle. Picking up seconds after the film ends, we see Shuri (Letitia Wright) still crying on the beach in Haiti as she burns her funeral garb, marking the end of mourning not just for her brother, but her mother too. It’s then that Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) comes to join her, only she’s not alone. She’s got a young boy with her. His name is Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun) and we learn he’s the son of T’Challa and Nakia. Which, yes, makes him an heir to the throne of Wakanda.
Nakia explains T’Challa wanted Toussaint to grow up away from the pressures of the throne which is why he remained hidden. We also learn Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) met him at some point. Shuri is surprised but glad. She chats with her nephew and then he shares one more secret with her. He says that “Toussaint” is only his Haitian name. His real name is T’Challa, named after his father.
Once the waterworks stop, the implications of the scene are huge. First of all, of course, that T’Challa has a son who will keep his name and family line alive. That, down the road, could set him up to be a new Black Panther or even King of Wakanda. However, those decades-away hypotheticals are not why this scene stands on the top of the MCU mountain. No, it’s how director Ryan Coogler bakes the reveal into the actual DNA of the movie.
Revealing T’Challa’s son not only packs a huge emotional punch, it explains several dangling storylines. For example, in the film we never quite learn why Nakia—T’Challa’s significant other—didn’t come to his funeral. In fact, we don’t learn why she left Wakanda at all or how she mourned his death. This scene explains it all. T’Challa himself wished for his son to stay away from Wakanda. He also prepared him and Nakia for his passing, likely by telling them he was sick, which he didn’t do with anyone else. The reveal also explains what Ramonda’s “There’s something I have to tell you about your brother” line to Shuri meant earlier in the movie—a moment that gets cut off by the arrival of Namor. Finally, and much less exciting but at least worth noting, it offers an explanation as to why Nakia was calling Shuri at the beginning of the film.
And yet, on top of all that, meeting the boy also provides an even warmer, more loving, and deeper conclusion to the film as a whole. Shuri has overcome her demons. She rejected vengeance in favor of mercy just like her brother would have. She’s not like Killmonger, as she feared she might be. Then, just as she’s ready to move on, her family gets bigger, and heart fuller, thanks to this little boy. What could have been a sad ending of Shuri simply mourning her losses instantly becomes cathartic and hopeful.
No end credits scene in Marvel Cinematic Universe history has so expertly threaded that needle of cool future implications, while also wrapping up and being a crucial addition to the story you just watched. That it’s also a huge surprise and so overwhelmingly touching only adds to the reveal—and that it concludes with the film’s official dedication to Chadwick Boseman is the cherry on top.
Best. MCU. End Credits Scene. Ever. But maybe we’re wrong. Maybe you disagree. Let us know below.
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