Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Ending Explained And The Questions It Raises

Black Panther in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!

From mourning the tragic death of King T’Challa to introducing the world of Talocan, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is an epic blockbuster that brilliantly adds to the expansive legacy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Between its big emotional arcs and huge action, it packs in a whole lot – all leading to a powerful and fascinating ending.

The new MCU blockbuster offers a conclusion that is not only satisfying for the story being told, but also open ended in exciting ways that get audiences amped for everything that is still to come. So what happens at the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and what are the big questions that it leaves us with? We break it all down for you below.

Dora Milaje attack in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

What Happens At The End Of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

After Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and the Talocan army threaten to destroy Wakanda as well as the rest of the world, Shuri (Letitia Wright) a.k.a. the new Black Panther and her people plan a trap and lure the threatening force out to the Atlantic Ocean. Amidst a massive combat aboard a Wakandan warship, the powerful antagonist is captured and exposed to extreme heat in an attempt to dry him out and weaken him. Namor manages to escape his heated cage, leading to a showdown between him and Black Panther on a nearby beach, but he is defeated when Shuri activates a jet engine and incapacitates him – forcing him to call out to his army and tell them to surrender.

Back in Wakanda, Shuri says goodbye to Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), and while the royal says that she can’t let the MIT student go back to the United States with any of the new technology she developed, she does present a gift: Riri’s destroyed car restored in perfect condition. The hero who will soon be known to the world as Ironheart suggests that Shuri go with her to her hometown of Chicago, but Shuri explains that she has something to take care of.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever then cuts to the familiar Wakandan coronation ceremony that fans remember from the first movie, and we are led to believe that it’s the event that Shuri was talking about… but it turns out to be a mislead. She doesn’t actually show up to the event – but M’Baku (Winston Duke) does, and he declares to his countrymen who have assembled that he wishes to challenge for the throne.

While the mystery about Shuri’s location is maintained, the action then cuts back down to Talocan where Namor meets with Namora (Mabel Cadena). She is confused why her king would kneel and accept defeat after centuries of preparing for war, and Namor explains that Black Panther could have killed him, but she didn’t. He surmises that Wakanda is the most powerful country on Earth, but doesn’t have any allies – so when the rest of the world unites against them, they will have to turn to Talocan as an ally.

Back in the United States, Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) has been arrested for his covert action helping the Wakandans, but he isn’t left out to dry. During what looks like a prison transport, Okoye (Danai Gurira) – outfitted in her Midnight Angel armor – rescues him, mocking him in the process as a colonizer in chains.

The final scene in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever brings Shuri back into focus, and we learn that the “something” she had to take care of is in Haiti with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). She goes out to a beach alone and finally burns her burial dress to say goodbye to her brother.

There’s a lot to take away from the ending of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and we’ll break it down in the form of three key questions with which the movie leaves us.

Winston Duke as M'Baku in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Is M’Baku Launching A Coup?

After playing a secondary antagonist in Black Panther, M’Baku gets some redemption in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as he ends up becoming a strong supporter for the Wakandan royal family during a time of grief and crisis. He ends up being a confidant of Shuri’s after she loses both her brother and her mother, and advises her in the conflict with Talocan… but he’s also never been shy about his aspirations to become the king of Wakanda, and now that he sees an opportunity, it seems that he is making his move.

M’Baku memorably challenged T’Challa for the throne in the previous movie and lost, but could his second effort end up being more successful? There is no second guessing that Shuri is the new Black Panther, having consumed the synthetic heart-shaped herb, but given that she doesn’t show up for the challenge at Warrior Falls, is her position of leadership in danger? It’s possible that there has been some kind of off-screen deal struck between the two characters, but that seems rather unlikely given everything that is at stake here, and instead it definitely smells like a specific setup for story in a future Marvel project (be it Black Panther 3 or something else).

Tenoch Huerta as Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Will The Wakandans Really Side With Namor When The Time Comes?

While Namor is certainly weakened during his battle with Black Panther in the third act of Wakanda Forever, his surrender is most definitely a calculated one, and it sets up a fascinating relationship between the titular African country and Talocan going forward. The two nations are unequivocally the most powerful on Earth given their respective rich Vibranium stockpiles, and the shared target that makes them also does make them natural potential allies.

The movie establishes early on that there isn’t a whole lot of diplomatic love that exists between Wakanda and the rest of the world, and the events that transpire over the course of the film don’t exactly improve things. It may get to the point where fear of the country will eventually inspire unified action, and if that does happen, it’s easy to imagine tensions with Talocan being eased and a partnership being forged. Wakanda makes for a much better friend than an enemy for the underwater realm, so Namor making the call to kneel as he does in the blockbuster makes a lot of sense.

Martin Freeman as Everett Ross in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

What Is Going To Happen To Everett Ross?

When the world is ready to freak out about the incident early in the film where a Vibranium drilling expedition is wiped out, Everett Ross acts as a real friend of Wakanda’s and provides them great intel that ultimately helps the country out during their mounting conflict with Talocan. Unfortunately, he doesn’t go about doing so in the most legal way, and by the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, he is in some serious trouble. Despite being Ross’ ex-wife, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) doesn’t seem to have much lingering love or care for him, and while the movie doesn’t explicitly state the charges that the CIA agent is facing, he’s probably being brought up on treason.

Everett Ross arguably did the right thing for a good cause, as his contributions were critical in Wakanda fighting back against Talocan and preventing Namor from starting global warfare, but the guy is definitely in serious trouble. It feels safe to say that he will be given sanctuary in Africa and not subject to extradition, but he is unequivocally a criminal and fugitive in the eyes of the United States, and probably will never be able to go home again. He’s alive and not in prison, but the plotline can hardly be called a happy one in the grand scheme.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters everywhere. For more Marvel-related reading, you can check out what’s on the way from the MCU via our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV Shows guides. Our Marvel Movies In Order feature brings organization to the expansive canon, and our Marvel Movies Ranking puts the films in order from worst to best.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.