Shuri is one of my favorite characters in the MCU and Marvel Comics in general. The reason why is not just because she’s a brilliant mind with incredible morals but also because she never needed some cheap love story to keep the character interesting. That being said, many fans are cheering on a potential romance between her and Riri Williams in the MCU. So, is Shuri gay?
Shuri never had a true love interest in Marvel Comics, except for a brief, irrelevant liking towards a male character named G’Mal in 2005. One might argue the same is going on in the MCU – she seems fond of Riri Williams, but it seems purely intellectual and platonic, and Shuri never had a romantic relationship with anyone.
That being said, there are more things to consider here. Perhaps Shuri simply never had time to think about a budding romance with anyone, focusing on science, studies, and now the leadership of her country at such a young age after essentially losing her entire family. If anything, Shuri might be asexual – at least for now. Let’s explain Shuri’s sexuality in detail.
Who is Shuri?
For those new to Marvel Comics and the MCU and just getting into the character, I’ll briefly explain who Shuri is.
Shuri is the younger sister of Prince/King T’Challa, the sovereign leader of Wakanda. Both in the MCU and the comics, T’Challa eventually loses his life, and Shuri is forced to take over as the Black Panther and leader of Wakanda.
Before that, Princess Shuri was a brilliant scientist and one of the most intelligent people on the planet despite still being a teenager. She became a viable warrior later, but science and technology remained her number one passion. After all, she was the one who developed those awesome Black Panther suits T’Challa donned in the first Black Panther movie.
Right now, Shuri is the new Black Panther, after both T’Challa and their mother, Queen Ramonda, lost their lives. Ramonda died at the hands of Namor the Sub-Mariner, the main antagonist of the second Black Panther movie, titled Wakanda Forever. Keep that in mind, as we’ll mention Namor later in the article.
Is Shuri gay, straight, or bisexual in the comics?
In Marvel Comics, Shuri is still a teenager/young adult who has gone through the wringer. Despite being royalty, Shuri’s life was insanely difficult, riddled with loss, tragedy, and grief. When things were good, though, Shuri focused on science, technology development, and working in a lab.
I’m saying all this because it’s all relevant to what we’re about to say next – Shuri never had a real love interest in the comics, which is great to me for several reasons.
First, she’s young and has other priorities in mind. Shuri is ambitious, and now, one could argue that the world’s weight is on her shoulders – she doesn’t need a love interest to deal with. Second, Shuri is a boss and still grabs hold of the new role she was inadvertently pushed into.
And third, some characters don’t need some love interest to keep them entertaining – Shuri is awesome as it is, and I’d love to see Marvel keep her that way for as long as possible.
The only thing coming close to a love interest for the Princess of Wakanda was a guy named G’Mal in a 2005 comic, but there was never a spark, a kiss, or anything similar. It could barely be called attraction, let alone a love interest.
All that led fans to believe that Shuri wasn’t gay, bisexual, or even straight. Currently, she seems to be asexual or simply doesn’t even think about love at the moment. Is it the same in the MCU, though?
Is Shuri gay, straight, or bisexual in the MCU?
As things stand right now, Shuri is not that different in the MCU from her comic book counterpart. She didn’t have a love interest so far, and seeing all the stuff she has on her plate, I don’t really see Shuri dealing with love any time soon.
I know that fans have cheered on a potential relationship between Riri Williams and Shuri, claiming that both are Gay or at least bi. While it may be the case for Riri (should Marvel Studios follow comic book canon), there’s nothing to point to Shuri being the same.
Sure, the girls had incredible on-screen chemistry, and it was obvious that they admired each other’s minds and work. Still, their relationship, to me, felt more platonic and intellectual rather than romantic.
If anything, a straight romantic interest was briefly explored for Shuri in Wakanda Forever, though it was dropped in the final cut. That romantic interest was none other than Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Just like with Riri, many fans felt as if there was a spark between Shuri and Namor, as they understood each other’s pain and problems better than anyone. The romantic angle was even explored in some takes, as shared by the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever editor, Michael P. Shawver:
“I think what’s really interesting is there were takes where there was some connection there… and at one point in an early cut, we discussed like, ‘Hey, do we leave it there? Do we just put it out there? Let’s just add some complexity to the relationship.’
But, then, you’ve got to watch out for portraying, for example, Shuri flirting to get what she wants as opposed to being a diplomatic leader and becoming the leader that she needs to be, that she’ll get to at the end.
So what we ultimately focused on was Namor’s line where he says, ‘Only the most damaged people can be truly great leaders,’ and that’s planting the seed of the shared trauma that she realizes at the end [of the film]. But that’s essentially who they are, they’re trying to lead and be a leader of their nations with all this pain, carrying around this heavy heart.”
Tenoch Huerta, the actor behind Namor the Sub-Mariner, also looked back on the connection between Shuri and Namor and confirmed he saw nothing romantic there:
“The beautiful part of this relationship is, it doesn’t need to be romantic to be deep. It doesn’t need to be romantic to be beautiful and bright and intimate. And this connection between a man and a woman in different levels doesn’t need, necessarily, to end in a romantic relationship. And that’s beautiful, you know? Because I hate the romantic love. I think it’s poison.”
Tenoch joked and laughed but then continued:
“These characters, they create something… I don’t know. It was magical, but not necessarily romantic.”
Long story short – everything points to Shuri not really having a love interest in the MCU, much like she doesn’t have one in the comics. Who knows? Perhaps a budding romance between Riri and Shuri happens later on, or Shuri gets another love interest. Still, for now, we can only speculate about the sexuality of the Princess/Queen of Wakanda in the MCU.