Shuri stands

Director Ryan Coogler was given the impossible task when working on "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." He had to continue the tale of the beloved hero Black Panther in the MCU without the film’s lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away after his four-year battle with colon cancer. Boseman died in August 2020, leaving most of the world in mourning over his loss.

Coogler and the rest of the "Black Panther” cast had to come up with a way to make the sequel film feel true to the characters’ story without the beloved actor. Thankfully, Coogler understood the importance of paying tribute to — and saying goodbye to — their friend Chadwick Boseman. This was no easy task, but Coogler rose to the occasion and handled it with grace, appeasing both audiences and critics with the story he chose to tell in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." While an emotional tale about grief, responsibility, and loss, the film still manages to include some comic book lore, MCU Easter eggs, and even West African culture into the film.

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t catch all of these hidden moments the first time around, as some of them are hidden deeply in the film. Luckily, we’re here to break down the most interesting and obscure moments that only eagle-eye fans would notice when watching "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

The Midnight Angels

Wakanda warriors fighting in armour

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" introduces audiences to the Dora Milaje warrior Aneka (Michaela Coel). In the "Black Panther" comic, Aneka is romantically involved with another member of the Dora Milaje, Ayo (Florence Kasumba). The two branch off from their duties to the royal family and go rogue. Their mission is to take care of underprivileged women in Wakanda — a group that they argue the crown has forgotten about. In the comic, they are known as the Midnight Angels, as they wear blue armor that Ayo steals from the royal family to rescue Aneka from imprisonment.

In "Wakanda Forever," Shuri has developed a new suit for the Dora Milaje that General Okoye (Danai Gurira) absolutely hates. However, by the end of the film, she and Aneka wear these suits to protect the warriors of Wakanda from Namor’s underwater kingdom, Talokan. His army is just as advantaged as Wakanda because the people of Talokan were also exposed to vibranium. This resource makes them the only kingdom with the power to stand up to Wakanda.

For those watching the film, these blue suits may have seemed a little out of place, as they look more like something Tony Stark would have created. It’s just not something you’d ever imagine the traditional warriors of Wakanda to wear. However, this was Coogler’s way of throwing in the Midnight Angels story for die-hard comic fans. Plus, in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, audiences will see that Ayo and Aneka are in a romantic relationship, as Ayo calls her "my love" at the end of the film. This is likely only something adults and major fans of the source material would have caught.

Griot

Shuri talking in cavern underwater

In an interview with Wired, Joe Russo made it clear that "Shuri is the smartest person in the Marvel universe," something that is also established in the Russo brothers’ film "Avengers: Infinity War." This is seen when Shuri (Letitia Wright) meets Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), who travels to Wakanda seeking her help to take an Infinity Stone out of Vision’s (Paul Bettany) head. Unfortunately for Vision, this would kill him. Bruce explains to Shuri what he and Tony did when fusing the stone to Vision’s head, and when she asks him why they didn’t approach it in a different way, he pauses before admitting that they never considered that. She smiles knowingly and says that she’s sure they did their best.

Shuri’s intelligence and the technological advances she helps develop are essential to her character. One such innovation that "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" introduces audiences to is Shuri’s AI, Griot (Trevor Noah). Much like Jarvis was to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) Griot is there to assist Shuri in any way she needs. However, most audiences may not know what the term griot refers to in West African culture.

According to Seckou Keita, a griot is a "West African storyteller, singer, musician, and oral historian. They train to excel as orators, lyricists and musicians. The griot keeps records of all the births, deaths, marriages through the generations of the village or family. Master of the oral traditions, the griot plays a key role in West African society." Griots have a long tradition in West African culture, having originated in 13th-century Mali, and including Griot in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is a thoughtful nod to these important figures in West African culture.

Visiting Shuri’s favorite colonizer

Everett Ross wears suit on a bridge

In "Black Panther" Shuri says an easily missed but significant throwaway line to Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), a CIA agent who T’Challa brings back to Wakanda after he is shot. Shuri saves him with advanced Wakandan technology, but Ross wakes up understandably confused. He approaches Shuri to ask where he is, startling her. She jumps and responds, "Don’t scare me like that colonizer."

It’s a funny line that gets audiences chuckling at the ease with which Shuri talks about the historical events that have transpired between their two cultures. For his part, Ross barely acknowledges it as he just wants to know where he is, how he got there, and how he’s suddenly been healed. Shuri shares with him the secrets of Wakanda, and Ross becomes an ally and friend to Shuri, T’Challa, and even Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) down the line.

In "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," adults likely picked up on another similar line that Shuri delivers when she discovers that she needs to talk to Ross and says that it’s time to go and visit her favorite colonizer. While she never directly says his name, adult audiences will remember that she said this to him years prior. Given the racial history between the two cultures, this is Shuri’s way of calling attention to the past yet not lingering on it.

Bast the panther goddess

Black Panther stands in costume

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" begins on an emotional high as it shows Shuri frantically attempting to save her brother’s life. She’s panicking as the truth begins to dawn on her — she doesn’t have enough time to save him. She will lose T’Challa, just as she lost her father a few years prior. Shuri believes that if she can recreate the heart-shaped herb — which gives whoever consumes it the powers of the Black Panther — then she can save T’Challa’s life. Unfortunately, there are no more herbs, as Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) burned them all when he took the throne from T’Challa in "Black Panther."

As Shuri feels time slipping away, she says, "Bast, time is running out." This line might have gone unnoticed by most, but some adults may have recognized the name Bast.

At the beginning of "Black Panther," audiences learn how Wakanda and the Black Panther warrior were born upon the discovery of vibranium. Bast (also known as Bastet) is the panther goddess who gifted the first Black Panther Bashenga with the heart-shaped herb. She is considered a deity for the people of Wakanda as she’s a symbol of their protector. Bast has been mentioned in various MCU properties outside of "Black Panther," as a statue of her is seen in "Eternals," and she is also visually depicted alongside many other gods in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Ant-Man Easter egg

Scott and Hope on red carpet

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has real-life reporter Anderson Cooper reporting on CNN about the state of Wakanda. During the news clip, eagle-eyed fans may have spotted a fun Easter egg that is playing on a banner at the bottom of the television screen, which states that the book tour for Scott Lang’s memoir has begun. For those who don’t know, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is Ant-Man, the titular star of "Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania."

In fact, the trailer for "Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania" includes a scene that holds a bit more weight with this tidbit of information from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." In the trailer, fans hear Scott monologuing over a montage of his daily activities since he and the Avengers saved the world from Thanos. One of those activities is Scott and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) walking a red carpet while paparazzi cameras flash at them. Perhaps this is the book tour that Scott is on now that he has become famous? After all, being one of the Avengers should come with some advantages, right?

Queen Ramonda at the UN

Queen Ramonda at the UN

After the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" chose to honor the actor by including the death of his beloved character, T’Challa, in the narrative of the sequel. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" opens with a powerful scene where Shuri is desperately attempting to save her brother’s life. However, her mother, Queen Ramonda, sadly enters the room to inform her that T’Challa has died.

After his death, Queen Ramonda assumes the throne as both her husband and son are now gone. She attends a UN meeting to discuss Wakanda’s refusal to share vibranium with the rest of the world. When Ramonda enters the room, she’s accompanied by a group of Wakandan men. She takes her seat at a table set up with microphones for her and each of the men to speak. However, the moment they’re seated, the men all push their microphones down, indicating that this is the queen’s show. She is responsible for Wakanda, and this act signifies that they will not go against her word.

It’s a small moment, but adults watching the film can likely catch the microaggressions being delivered to Ramonda throughout the entire scene, as people challenge her at every turn. However, she shuts them all down swiftly and quickly, as she knows that no one there is powerful enough to go against the nation of Wakanda. At that moment, Queen Ramonda is the most powerful person in the world.

The first appearance of T’Challa’s son

Divine Love Konadu-Sun on Wakanda Forever red carpet

After the tragic news surrounding the passing of Chadwick Boseman was released, fans were quietly questioning if Black Panther should be recast for the sequel. In fact, a poll conducted by Morning Consult showed that fans seemed to be divided fans right down the middle. Considering the weight that Boseman’s passing carries for the franchise, it likely was not an easy decision for director Ryan Coogler to make — especially since there were strong points on both sides, as seen in discussions on forums such as Reddit.

However, Coogler was able to find a peaceful medium that made both sides of the argument happy while honoring the late great actor who brought Black Panther to life in the first place. This is seen most prominently in the mid-credit scene of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which reveals that T’Challa had a secret son with his partner Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Unbeknownst to Shuri, both Nakia and Queen Ramonda decide to let T’Challa’s son grow up in peace away from the pressures of the throne, stating that when he’s ready he will come home to Wakanda. This seemingly puts audiences at ease as it sounds like T’Challa’s son, who is named after his father, is Coogler’s response for a recast of the character.

However, this credit scene is not the first time audiences have seen young T’Challa. When Ramonda goes to Haiti to ask Nakia for help, one of the children who guides her to Nakia is T’Challa’s son. It’s a small moment, but the knowing looks shared between Ramonda and her grandson are very telling for adults watching, as it’s a bond that can only come from family.

More mutants are introduced into the MCU

Namor wears crown underwater next to bright light

The MCU has slowly been preparing for the introduction of the X-Men. Due to the merger between the Walt Disney Company and 20th Century Fox, the MCU now has the legal rights to introduce some of the most famous mutants from the comics into its expansive film franchise. This means that the X-Men are officially coming to the MCU — eventually.

Since this news, mutants have slowly been introduced through various MCU properties. For example, the Disney+ series "Ms. Marvel" revealed that Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a mutant, while "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" brought back Patrick Stewart in his iconic role as the powerful mutant Professor Charles Xavier. However, one of the most recent mutant reveals is seen in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," as the film introduces Namor (Tenoch Huerta) as a mutant.

Fans of the comic know that being a mutant is a crucial part of Namor’s history. It’s what defines his powers and abilities and makes him such a powerful character. In fact, once upon a time, Namor actually stood as one of the pillars of the Illuminati. Perhaps the X-Men will be coming faster than we think.

The mention of Bashenga

Bashenga stands with Wakanda Forever salute

In "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Shuri realizes that she needs to find a way to recreate the heart-shaped herb. Wakanda faces a threat from the equally advanced Talokan underwater civilization, and Shuri understands that her people need the Black Panther. After much trial and error, Shuri is finally able to make the herb, gifting herself with the powers of the Black Panther. Nakia tells her that this discovery is going to be the biggest thing that’s happened to Wakanda since Bashenga.

Adults will likely remember the tale of Bashenga from the beginning of "Black Panther." The film explains that Bashenga is the first person to have been gifted the powers of the Black Panther from the herb. He is given this information from the panther goddess, Bast.

As reported by FandomWire, graphic artist Shaun Harrison took it upon himself to develop concept art that explores the possibility of Marvel making a film about the first Black Panther of Wakanda. Upon releasing this work, fans on Twitter began to call for Marvel to create a Disney+ series that centers around Bashenga. While there is no way to know if this idea will ever come to fruition, fans are clearly eager to see a story about how Bashenga was able to unite the tribes while establishing the nation of Wakanda that audiences have come to know and love.

M’Baku and Shuri’s relationship

M'Baku stares up above him

In "Black Panther," M’Baku (Winston Duke) is initially seen as an enemy of T’Challa. His mountain tribe, the Jabari, opposes T’Challa’s reign, and M’Baku challenges him for the throne. As the film continues, these foes eventually become allies, and M’Baku eventually helps Shuri, Nakia, and Queen Ramonda protect T’Challa after his fight against Killmonger.

Initially, M’Baku doesn’t have much patience for Shuri, as he believes her to be a child who scoffs at their traditions and relies too heavily on technology. However, after Shuri is forced to bury her father, brother, and mother, he tells her that she’s seen too much to be considered just a child anymore. He offers her wisdom and counsel, stating that he promised T’Challa he would look after her when he was gone. M’Baku urges Shuri not to look for vengeance, stating it’s not what T’Challa would want. Most adults will remember that T’Challa himself had to discover this wisdom in "Captain America: Civil War," as he initially sought revenge for his father’s death.

Eventually, Shuri sees things his way and chooses peace rather than war. She keeps the mantle of Black Panther but gives M’Baku the title of king. That is, until T’Challa’s son becomes old enough to take the throne.