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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a serious hot streak, as every single blockbuster in Phase Three has been a financial and critical success. The past decade of moviegoing came to a head with The Russo Brothers' Avengers: Infinity War, bringing almost every major character together for an epic team up against Josh Brolin's Thanos. But Thanos ultimately won, and was able to wipe out half the galaxy with the snap of his finger. This included T'Challa aka Black Panther, who vanished in front of Okoye's eyes during the shocking final scene. Letitia Wright's Shuri was featured in Infinity War, but her fate was let ambiguous in the wake of the snap. But a new fan theory indicates she might be a very important role in Avengers 4.
Since T'Challa is a victim of Thanos' finger snap, Wakanda will need a new ruler, who will also wield the mantle of the Black Panther. Shuri seems the most logical choice, and the next in the blood line of the family. That's exactly what redditor HockeyTalkie claimed in his theory, although there are a few caveats. The most obvious being the heart-shaped herb that gives the hero his abilities. They were all destroyed during the events of Black Panther, but perhaps Shuri has found a way to revive them. She'll need to take them and win a trial of combat in order to become Black Panther-- something that fans would no doubt love to see in Avengers 4.
Another aspect of the fan theory is that Shuri's journey to becoming the Black Panther might actually reveal a major plot twist regarding the characters who vanished during Thanos' snap. Part of becoming the Black Panther is going to the Wakandan ancestral plane, and meeting with the former holders of the superheroic mantle. If Shuri goes on this journey and finds that T'Challa is not there, it would reveal the characters who turned to dust weren't actually dead. Cue the rescue efforts.
Of course, this is all just fan theorizing at this point. But narratively it would make sense, and give The Russo Brothers further chance to highlight the settings and characters of Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. Marvel's Kevin Feige has also teased the importance of female characters in the future of the MCU, so having Shuri become the next Black Panther would stand to reason. Furthermore, this ancestral plane aspect would give the surviving Avengers a logical reason to continue their fight against Thanos.
Ultimately, the events of Avengers 4 are a complete mystery to the general public, as Marvel is letting the fandom stew within the crazy events ofInfinity War, while also releasing Ant-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel in the process.
All will be revealed when Avengers 4 arrives in theaters on May 3rd, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.