Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Winston Duke Clarifies Key Moment For M'Baku In The Marvel Movie

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

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are ahead!  

Ever since Marvel Studios decided not to recast T’Challa following Chadwick Boseman’s passing, we knew that someone else would become Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That person, as so many people assumed, ended up being Letitia Wright’s Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, who embraced the heroic mantle to protect her people from Tenoch Huerta’s Namor and his forces from the underwater nation of Talokan. However, following the battle’s conclusion in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it appeared as though Winston Duke’s M’Baku, not Shuri, would be leading Wakanda going forward, and now Duke has clarified that key moment for his Marvel character.

For those who need a refresher, in the MCU, just because one is Black Panther doesn’t automatically guarantee them the Wakandan throne. During the coronation ceremony, the ruler-to-be must defeat any challengers in ritual combat, and in 2018’s Black Panther, we watched T’Challa emerge victorious over M’Baku. Cut to the ending of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Shuri did not attend her coronation ceremony, with M’Baku instead appearing before the crowd. During an extensive interview with Esquire, Winston Duke confirmed that in Shuri’s absence, he will indeed be serving as king of Wakanda. As the actor explained:

M’Baku is unapologetic. Very proud. A bit conservative. It’s kind of a shocking and, for me, very exciting moment. I get to wonder now what kind of king he will be.

While Winston Duke didn’t elaborate upon if M’Baku is simply leading Wakanda until Shuri returns or if he’s officially Wakanda’s king, no takebacks. Either way, it’s a big moment for the character, as we’ve seen how effectively he leads the Jabari and how much he cares for his country as a whole. Sure, the leadership reins were passed to him unconventionally, but now he’s in a position to guide the people of Wakanda to a brighter future. 

So will we actually get to see M’Baku carry out his kingly duties?  Officially speaking, that’s unclear for now, and Winston Duke noted that he hasn’t been looped in on his character’s future. That said, given how critical well-received Wakanda Forever has been and its impressive start at the box office, it’s likely we’ll one day get Black Panther 3. Throw in that Danai Gurira’s Okoye is reportedly set to lead a Wakanda series for Disney+, and the possibility that M’Baku could show up Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and/or Avengers: Secret Wars (just like he did in Infinity War and Endgame), and I’d say the chances are strong we’ll get at least one look at M’Baku sitting on the Wakandan throne in the coming years.

Until then, be sure to read our thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s end-credits scene and check our other coverage on the sequel. If you’re looking to relive M’Baku’s past MCU exploits or simply rewatch the Marvel movies in order, break out your Disney+ subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.