Explaining these two shocking "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" cameos.

Explaining these two shocking “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” cameos.

WARNING: SPOILER: This interview contains spoilers for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” now in theaters.

Plenty of new and returning Marvel characters are back for Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but there are two major, surprise cameos that escaped the sequel’s release.

Letitia Wright’s Shuri, Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda, and Danai Gurira’s Okoye help lead the nation of Wakanda, which is missing Black Panther and King T’Challa after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death from cancer in 2020. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) are also back, and the film introduces new faces with Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, aka superheroine Ironheart, an underwater villain Tenocha Huerta Mejía Namor and Michaela. Coel’s Wakandan warrior Aneka.

Towards the end of the film, “Black Panther” fans were also delighted to see the brief return of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, a popular villain from the original film. After making a synthetic heart-shaped herb to take over Black Panther’s powers, Shuri enters the Ancestral Plane expecting to see her brother T’Challa or her late mother Ramonda, who drowned during Namor’s earlier attack on Wakanda. However, she is surprised to find Killmonger waiting for her.

The Everett Collection

The scene echoes T’Challa’s encounter with his late father T’Chaka (John Kani) in the first “Black Panther,” but Shuri and Killmonger are ideologically opposed — or so they think. Still reeling from her mother’s death, Shuri seeks revenge and is framed by Killmonger. She mocks the peaceful and noble views of her father and brother and pressures her to kill Namor the next time she confronts him.

During the final battle between the Wakandan warriors and Namor’s forces, Shuri chases away a desiccated and deprived Namor in the desert. She is badly injured, but gains the upper hand by firing at Namor from her crashed ship. Then she must decide whether to kill him or not. He finally decides to show mercy and forces Namor to surrender. He promises that Wakanda will protect his people from the invaders, which Namor is happy with — though in his final scene with Namora (Mabel Cadena), it looks like he’s just waiting.

The Everett Collection

In addition to Jordan’s return, Julie Louis-Dreyfus’ dark villain Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is back for a few scenes after her last appearances in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Black Widow.” On Friday, Louis-Dreyfus shared a photo from the set of “Wakanda Forever,” rocking Valentina’s purple hair and smiling next to Coogler. “I love this man. #ryancoogler. Have a great weekend,” she captioned the post.

In the film, we learn that Val is the head of the CIA and Ross’s ex-wife, which puts them at personal and professional loggerheads over the course of the nearly three-hour run. She leads the US investigation into Wakanda’s vibranium and is much more aggressive than Ross, making her a powerful puppeteer with the CIA under her command.

Next, Val has been confirmed to appear in 2024’s “Thunderbolts,” leading a team of villains and anti-heroes, including Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Red Guardian (David Harbour), US Agent ( Wyatt Russell), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko) and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Her appearance in “Wakanda Forever” makes it clear that she will play a major role in the MCU’s future building a team against the Avengers as the evil Nick Fury.

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