Shuri (Black Panther)

The first trailer for Black Panther has been released as well, and most of the main characters have been seen. Let’s start from a girl who’s been already announced to appear in Avengers: Infinity War as well, the girl who’s seen wielding a couple of big bad guns: Shuri, portrayed by Letitia Wright. In the movie, Shuri is Wakanda‘s princess and T’Challa‘s sister, as well as a skilled inventor who’s behind much of the advanced technology in the country. In the comics, Shuri has become an increasingly more relevant character, T’Challa’s step-sister and his successor in both leading the country as queen, and protecting it as the new Black Panther. Let’s see together.

Shuri was born in the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda, the daughter of King T’Chaka and his third wife Queen Ramonda. Since since was a kid, Shuri felt like a burden the tradition according to which only the kingdom’s males could become the legendary Black Panther, and against her mother’s will she secretly trained to be the first woman in history to don the mantle of Wakanda’s protector. When T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner, his brother S’yan inherited the title, and Shuri trained even harder than before to challenge him in the Black Panther Tournament, a ritual held every year to allow Wakandans to challenge their king if they wanted to replace him. Shuri participated in disguise, as women couldn’t attend to the tournament (and because she was far too young to become queen), but another masked contestant defeated S’yan before she did: T’Challa, her older brother. Albeit too young himself, T’Challa won his right to become king and Black Panther, and succeeded his uncle in leading the country; Shuri, as a princess, swore her loyalty to him, but kept training as a warrior. The day Klaw invaded Wakanda with his mercenaries, Shuri did her part, and she faced Igor Stancheck, the Russian Radioactive Man: she managed to kill him with the legendary Ebony Blade, but albeit victorious she was shocked by her first killing. Wanting to allow his sister to fight on her own terms, and to defend her people if she ever succeeded him, T’Challa offered to train her personally in hand-to-hand combat. A skilled warrior now, she was the one who protected Wakanda from Erik Killmonger and his mercenaries when they attacked the country, taking advantage of the absence of King T’Challa and Queen Ororo, who were with the Fantastic Four: Shuri was captured by Killmonger, but she was freed by Zuri, and she defeated most of Killmonger’s mercenaries single-handedly. Then, king and queen returned, and together with them Shuri repelled an invasion from the Skrulls.

Shuri proved herself over and over again, so when Black Panther was nearly killed by Doctor Doom and sent into an irreversible coma, Queen Ororo named her T’Challa’s successor. Princess Shuri went through the various trials to obtain the Heart-Shaped Herb, and she managed to pass them all, thus becoming the new queen of Wakanda…and the new Black Panther, as she had always dreamt of. As she consumed the Herb, however, Bast the Panther God was offended by the girl’s arrogance, and also saw the taint in her soul caused by her long-lived envy towards her brother and his role. Because of this, she wasn’t granted the powers of the Black Panther. She didn’t even have time to think about what happened, however, as Morlun, an interdimensional vampire who fed on the animal avatars such as the Black Panther came. Weakened, Morlun was after an easy prey such as the comatose T’Challa, but Shuri decided to protect her brother by donning the mask and costume of the Black Panther to distract the vampire and to lead him away from her brother. In the meanwhile, the sorcerer Zawavari performed an ancient ritual to make a bargain with Lady Death, making her trade the soul of T’Challa, trapped in Limbo, with the one of Morlun. The ritual succeeded, and T’Challa was freed…just when Morlun was about to slaughter a helpless Shuri. Bast was pleased by the queen regent’s act of self-sacrifice, and he finally granted her his powers, now making her a full Black Panther. In the meanwhile, the revived T’Challa had discovered the conspiration of the Desturi, a group of Wakandans infected by Doom with special nanites: under Zawavari’s tutelage, he started to train in the ancient magic of his people to face Doom, and when he left he made Shuri Queen of Wakanda in his absence. Soon, however, Doom took control of all Wakandans, until Shuri and T’Challa were the only ones free from his control: it was time the royal family brought war to Latveria and they joined forces with ColossusWolverine and Nightcrawler of the X-Men to free their people from Doom, brother and sister together.

Shuri is a proud and headstrong woman, a princess and a queen who devoted all her life to hone herself into the perfect ruler for her people and country, and who in her arrogance believes to be the fittest ruler ever for Wakanda. As the Black Panther, the Panther God grants her superhuman agility, strenght, speed, durability and stamina, as well as enhanced senses; her Vibranium armor makes her nearly impervious to damage, and she’s a master martial artist and a skilled user of both sword and spear; after her stay in the mystical realm of the Djalia, Shuri also gained the ability to turn herself into a large black bird (or even a flock of them), and to turn her body into stone, becoming invulnerable. One of the fiercest Black Panthers ever, Shuri has fought all her life to obtain the privilege she felt was robbed from her by old and surpassed traditions, and she’ll prove to anyone how worthy she is of the role she’s filling.

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