Here’s How T’Challa (Black Panther) Died in ‘Wakanda Forever’

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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ had many distinctive and memorable moments, but it is fair to admit that nothing was the same without T’Challa. As we know, after Chadwick Boseman died, recasting him as Black Panther was never an option, but the fans needed some closure and eagerly awaited what will be an explanation for Black Panther’s demise. So how did T’Challa die in the movie?

T’Challa died in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ from an unknown illness. In the movie’s first few minutes, we see how Shuri desperately tries to save him and create an artificial Heart-Shaped Herb that could potentially save his life. Unfortunately, T’Challa died before Shuri had the chance to save him, leading to an emotional farewell for this iconic character.

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll go into more detail about how T’Challa died, Shuri’s efforts to save him, and what the movie’s director had to say about that. So, keep reading to learn more!

T’Challa dies in the first few minutes of a movie of an undisclosed disease

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ starts with answering one of the fans’ most important questions before the movie’s release. Everyone wondered how will the movie explain T’Challa’s passing after the star actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer in real life. And the first minutes of the movie gave us an answer.

We see Shuri praying and asking for help to cure T’Challa of the illness that struck him. She entered the lab and started working hard on improving her brother’s condition, which was rapidly deteriorating. T’Chala’s heart rate was rapidly falling, and everyone had already lost hope that he might survive. Shuri’s staff advised her that spending the last moments by her brother’s side would be best, but she refused to give up searching for a solution.

Shuri developed a synthetic Heart-Shaped Herb that could potentially save T’Challa and help him regain strength. But, since the Herb was artificial, there were minimal chances it would produce the desired effects. Unfortunately, before Shuri could use the Herb, T’Chala’s heart stopped. Queen Ramonda came and informed Shuri that T’Challa was with their ancestors now.

It was never revealed what kind of illness did T’Challa die from. And while that might not be the best answer the fans were hoping for, it made sense that the movie producers decided to go down that road. Chadwick Boseman died of a tough disease in real life, so this was also a tribute to him.

After the initial scenes where we see Shuri trying to save T’Challa, there is a ceremony and funeral for the great king of Wakanda. The ceremony was emotional and done in a Wakandan way.

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Shaman conducted the funeral, and T’Challa’s coffin was centered around his beloved family, and friends formed a circle around the coffin. After the initial words from Shaman, the Dora Milaje carried the coffin through Wakandan streets, where the citizens danced and praised T’Challa’s name.

After the ceremony through the Wakandian streets, T’Challa’s coffin was beamed into a Wakandan flying vessel that took him to his final resting place.

T’Challa’s death also served as Shuri’s character development

There have been some theories why did T’Challa die of an illness in the movie instead of any other way. For example, his death could have easily been depicted as a hero dying in a battle or some other way that would praise him, but that was not the case. One fan theory states that T’Challa got sick in the first place because he took the Heart-Shaped Herb when he had no right to do so.

In the first ‘Black Panther’ movie, Killmonger came to Wakanda and defeated T’Challa in a ritual combat. Killmonger became the rightful king of Wakanda then, and only he had the right to consume the Heart-Shaped Herb. So, when T’Challa later consumed the Herb, the fan theory states that this deed angered Bast.

T’Challa was already in Ancestral Plane, where his ancestors invited him to stay, but he decided to come back among the living and overthrow Killmonger from power. This could also be the reason why he developed an illness afterward.

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ director Ryan Coogler explained that having T’Challa die of an incurable illness was also important for Shuri’s character development because this loss and her being unable to save her brother had a significant mark on her soul and intellect. If T’Challa had died in a battle, Shuri would want revenge, and this way, she needed to find the strength inside herself to move forward. This is what Ryan Coogler had to say about it:

In terms of the characters, we needed to introduce a different version of Shuri. We’re showing the moment that she becomes a different person than the person we met. She’s the smartest person in the world, but she can’t save her brother. What does that do to you?… If somebody else would’ve taken T’Challa out, Shuri would’ve looked for that person. We wanted it to be a situation where the only place to go was internal.

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T’Challa’s death was emotional, even though we knew it was coming. Both Chadwick Boseman and his Black Panther character left a significant mark in the overall Marvel franchise, movie culture, and the lives of millions of people worldwide. It is fair to say that the movie is a cultural milestone regarding diversity and celebration of African culture.

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