Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Ryan Coogler Explains What Happened To Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi After He Sided With Killmonger

Back in July, Daniel Kaluuya confirmed that he was not part of the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the actor expressed his disappointment with the development – but what was not revealed at the time was the status of his character, W'Kabi, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Truth be told, the answer to this question is not featured in the movie itself either, as there is only a brief mention of him in one scene… but for those curious about what’s going on, writer/director Ryan Coogler has an explanation.

I interviewed the filmmaker during the Los Angeles press day for his new Marvel movie earlier this month, and it was while discussing his vision of events in Wakanda since the end of the first Black Panther movie that I specifically asked about W'Kabi. It was a question that Coogler appreciated and had an answer for, saying,

That's a great question. He's basically banished, but still within Wakanda's borders, if that makes sense. It's one line that refers to him still being alive.

In case you don’t recall, W'Kabi was not exactly seen as a hero at the end of Black Panther. Furious that both King T’Chaka (John Kani) and King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) failed to provide justice after Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) murdered his father, W'Kabi aligned himself with Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) when the soldier crossed Wakanda’s border with Klaue’s dead body. He fought as part of Killmonger’s army when T’Challa was resurrected and renewed his claim for the throne, and he ended up being on the losing side of the fight.

The end of Black Panther doesn’t address W'Kabi’s punishment for betraying the throne (or, for that matter, the status of his relationship with Danai Gurira’s Okoye), and in addition to not being featured in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the character isn’t featured in Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame either. Because Daniel Kaluuya is such a phenomenal talent, fans can keep hope alive that he will show up in a future MCU movie or show  – particularly because we know he’s not dead. If/when he does return, now we have a base level idea of where he has been.

While audiences wait for the return of W'Kabi, everyone will soon be able to enjoy the brilliance of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – which arrives in theaters this Friday, November 11 with a stellar cast including Letita Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett. Our Marvel Movies In Order and Marvel Movies, Ranked features will help you prepare for the latest dive into the MCU, and you can take a look at what’s ahead from the franchise via our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.