Movies & Television

Theory: T'Challa's Illness in Wakanda Forever Could Have Been Cancer

**Warning – Major Spoilers ahead for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever**

After it was announced that T’Challa would not be recast in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, theories on how the prince would die in the sequel began to circle and we discuss why T’Challa’s illness could have been cancer.

With Wakanda Forever closing Phase 4 of the MCU, we now have the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special to look forward to, followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. 

Co-written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a sequel to the 2018 debut of the Marvel character and stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Trailer

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Trailer
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How Does T’Challa Die in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

It is confirmed that T’Challa died from an illness in Wakanda Forever, but the disease is not specified.

During the opening scene of Wakanda Forever, we see Shuri in a state of distress as she tries to save her gravely ill brother who is dying off camera.

With the help of her AI computer, Shuri tries to create a synthetic heart-shaped herb that may be the cure for T’Challa’s illness, but she does not develop it in time and Queen Ramonda announces that he had died. 

Black Panther Wakanda Forever – Cr. Marvel Entertainment, YouTube

Chadwick Boseman’s Passing

Chadwick Boseman passed away in August 2020 from stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 43.

The actor’s passing came as a shock to many as it was not public information that he was suffering from this disease.

The New York Times reported the following statement from Boseman’s Instagram:

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. “From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”

T’Challa’s Illness Explored

The similarity of circumstances between T’Challa’s illness and Boseman’s add credence to the idea that the prince also died from cancer.

Additionally, Shuri revealed that her brother suffered in silence for so long with the illness, which mirrors Boseman’s bravery in real life.

It seems likely that Ryan Coogler and the Wakanda Forever team steered away from giving T’Challa a warrior’s death on the battlefield and instead had him succumb to a similar illness to Boseman’s.

T’Challa’s cause of death also reflects Boseman’s superhero qualities in real life, as he persevered with his work while receiving treatment for his illness.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Cr. Marvel Entertainment, YouTube

Divine Love Konadu-Sun May Carry the Torch for T’Challa

Divine Love Konadu-Sun is a young actor making his feature-film debut and his MCU debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Toussaint, or T’Challa II, the son of Prince T’Challa.

After the first bout of credits role, we get a post-credits scene that returns viewers to Shuri on the beach, to be met by Nakia and a young boy. We are then introduced to Toussaint, who is revealed to be Nakia and T’Challa’s son

Ryan Coogler made it very clear that they would not be recasting the character of T’Challa within the MCU, but introducing T’Challa’s son is a good way to go around it.

Many fans were on the fence about this idea because it meant T’Challa’s fleshed-out narrative in the comics would not be present in the live-action universe at all.

However, the team’s decision to introduce T’Challa II is a clever and respectful way to pass on Boseman’s character, which means T’Challa’s comic-book history can live on through his MCU son.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Cr. Marvel Entertainment, YouTube

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters worldwide.

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Jo Craig
@shingeekyjo

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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