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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ending has a huge twist that everyone missed

Updated Dec 30th, 2022 10:14AM EST
M’Baku (Winston Duke) in Wakanda Forever trailer.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Heading into its second weekend, Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had surpassed $400 million at the box office. Fans flocked to theaters to catch the sequel, and they knew who the next Black Panther is and what Wakanda Forever’s ending means. However, everyone missed a significant development for M’Baku (Winston Duke) at the end of Wakanda Forever.

The actor explained what it all meant in a new interview. But before we can share any details, you must know that major spoilers follow below. You’ll want to watch Black Panther 2 before learning this secret about M’Baku.

M’Baku is one of the great MCU characters Marvel introduced in the first Black Panther story. He’s a strong leader, and the first real antagonist T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) faces.

By the end of the first movie, it’s clear that M’Baku is a lot more than a challenger to the Wakanda Forever throne. He doesn’t want to become King and Black Panther at any cost. And he ends up being one of T’Challa’s trusted allies in Infinity War and Endgame.

Wakanda Forever further develops M’Baku arc. He’s no longer just the leader of the Jabari. M’Baku is committed to Wakanda’s well-being. He’s part of the Queen’s council and promised T’Challa to look out for Shuri (Letitia Wright). Even the elders trust him with their security and livelihood after Namor (Tenoch Huerta) stuns the country with a massive attack.

M’Baku is also loyal to the new Black Panther, but not before testing Shuri to ensure that she is the rightful protector of Wakanda.

All that brings us to the Wakanda Forever ending, which we’ve already explained in great detail, credits scene included. In the end, we see M’Baku arrive at the sacred waterfall to issue a challenge for the throne.

M’Baku (Winston Duke) fighting Namor (Tenoch Huerta) in Wakanda Forever trailer.
M’Baku (Winston Duke) fighting Namor (Tenoch Huerta) in Wakanda Forever trailer.

Does M’Baku become King at the end of Wakanda Forever

A plot leak that preceded the Wakanda Forever premiere suggested that M’Baku’s appearance might be just a joke. He’s just filling in for Shuri, who went to Haiti to visit Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and perform the mourning ritual for her brother.

But M’Baku is serious. He is there for the throne of Wakanda, not to become Black Panther. And Winston Duke confirmed that the Wakanda Forever ending leaves M’Baku as King of the most powerful nation on Earth.

Duke talked to Esquire about his career, including his MCU role. He was quite clear that M’Baku is King, despite the ambiguous ending of Wakanda Forever.

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

Duke said the same during Esquire’s Explain This video interview. Asked to react to a Reddit thread that said M’Baku should be the next Black Panther, the actor said he loves the support he’s getting. But Black Panther’s strength comes from the ensemble around the superhero, regardless of who is wearing the mantle.

Duke also added that he’d love to see a third Black Panther movie. As a fan, he’d like “a third, fourth, fifth, sixth film” to explain all the cool things about this saga.

In this context, he said, “it’s kind of cool, though, being revealed as the King of Wakanda at the end of the movie. That’s huge. So whatever that entails, that’s going to be a fun one.”

Considering that some of the MCU world’s powers are about to turn on Wakanda soon, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how M’Baku and Shuri will handle everything as King and Black Panther.

The full video interview follows below.

More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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