Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.
Kingdom of Wakanda
Appearances: Iron Man 2 (appears on map on computer screen) | Captain America: The First Avenger (mentioned) | Avengers: Age of Ultron (mentioned) | Captain America: Civil War | Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame
Tony Stark: The strongest metal on Earth.
A small African nation publicly known for its isolationism and poverty. In reality, it is the most technologically advanced and prosperous country in the world by virtue of possessing a mountain's worth of raw vibranium to use, and has kept its secrets for millennia. So far the country has avoided involvement in international affairs; even when Ulysses Klaue stole a quarter-tonne of vibranium in the 1990s, King T'Chaka used it as an opportunity to claim that was all their country had.
However, after Ultron used Klaue's vibranium to attack Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron, followed by the death of Wakandan aid workers in Captain America: Civil War, T'Chaka has decided to become more involved in the world.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Wakanda, the only place in the world where vibranium is readily accessible, is a nation of hovering jets and skyscrapers cut off from the rest of the world; even the CIA have little information about it.
- Afrofuturism: Aesthetically and culturally reflects a melding of futuristic technology with various African cultures.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: Well, not alien, but Wakanda pointedly refuses to give their technology to the outside world, even standing by during the Scramble for Africa. The "deconstruction" version of this trope, as other characters critique this with varying levels of extremism, from Nakia who points out they can do good without becoming colonizers all the way to Killmonger who outright wants to colonize the rest of the world. Despite defeating Killmonger, T'Challa acknowledges that there's some validity to it and decides to break it in The Stinger.
- Always Someone Better: Thanks to its experiments with vibranium, Wakanda developed impossibly advanced technology that the outside world is only just recently, and just barely, catching up to.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: A common motif among Wakanda's various religious groups. Panthers serve as the basis for T'Challa's powers.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Vibranium has much more use than just being the toughest metal on Earth. After watching Black Panther, one wonders what vibranium can't do.
- Animal Motif: Nearly every Wakandan faction seems to have a heraldic animal of sorts, probably due to their totemic religion:
- The royal family/Golden Tribe are obviously associated with panthers.
- The Jabari are associated with gorillas.
- The Border Tribe are associated with rhinos.
- The Mining Tribe seem to be associated with lions, their designs being straight-up lifted from Maasai leonine garb.
- The River Tribe use crocodilian designs in their clothes.
- The Merchant Tribe seem to invoke marabou storks with their clothes.
- Some of the flying machines look like dragonflies or adult antlions.
- Concept art shows that the Dora Milaje had pet hawks, and their outfits even resembled Falcon's.
- Artistic License Linguistics: T'Challa and his father speak Xhosa, a Bantoid language from southwest Africa. Given that the satellite image in Civil War shows Wakanda as being in between southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya, they should be speaking a Cushitic language or (less likely) a Nilotic language, which come from entirely different language families (Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan respectively). To get some context for how absurd this is, imagine Switzerland having Finnish as its official language.
- Possibly, vaguely justified in that Wakanda's population has remained isolated in its current location for ten thousand years, meaning they missed out on a couple of later migration waves. For that matter, the Jabari speak a Yoruba dialect, which is from Nigeria to the west.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The current king of Wakanda can be challenged in ritual combat by any member of the nobility from each tribe. The winner gets the throne but everyone in Wakanda, minus M'Baku and the Jabari tribe to a small extent, is above power struggle, so this ritual never becomes a real problem, and the call to challenge is mostly a ceremonial formality... until Killmonger uses his status as N'Jobu's son to challenge T'Challa for the throne.
- Badass Army: Wakandan military forces are more than willing to dive right into battle with Thanos' forces.
- Badass Family: The royal family of Wakanda produces the Black Panthers, and even non-panthers are still a force to be reckoned with through Vibranium technology.
- Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: T'Challa is the balanced, all around super soldier. Okoye is power as the captain of the guard and Wakanda's best soldier. Nakia is speed as the thief.
- Battlecry: "Wakanda Forever!" is often used as a rallying cry for Wakanda's people. The leadup to a large-scale battle (as seen in Infinity War and Endgame) also earns a chorus of "Yibambe!" (hold fast)
- Bulungi: Subverted and exploited; Wakanda has pretended to be a third world country of "textiles, shepherds, cool outfits" for centuries. In reality, they are a Hidden Elf Village of such wealth and power that Klaue insists they are responsible for the legends of El Dorado.
- Bystander Syndrome: For thousands of years, Wakanda has keep themselves away from the outside world, ignoring many major events including both World Wars and the Chiutari invasion despite having the technology to help those in need because of their secrecy. By the time of Avengers: Infinity War however,they have become Badass Bystander as they willingly help the Avengers to take on Thanos' army.
- Challenging the Chief: Anyone of noble blood can challenge the current king or crown prince of Wakanda for the throne. The duel is highly ritualised, having its own designated arena in Warrior Falls and only stopping when one dies or yields. While most noble treat it as a formality, M'Baku and then Killmonger take advantage of this to challenge T'Challa for the throne.
- The Chosen One: The original Black Panther was chosen by the Panther Goddess to bring peace to Wakanda by beating all the tribes into submission.
- City of Gold: Klaue directly compares Wakanda to El Dorado, except with vibranium instead of gold, and even speculates that Wakanda was the inspiration for the El Dorado myth.
- City on the Water: Unused concept art from Civil War depicts Wakanda's capital as such. Black Panther displays the city as being built on both sides of a river.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of Wakanda's five tribes are associated with a particular color
- The Royal Family wears purple. Most prominent with the heart shaped herb, Zuri's royal robes, and T'Challa's suit.
- The Dora Milaje all wear red uniforms with their gorget and gauntlets expressing rank.
- The Wakandan Design Group all wear white as part of their scientific research.
- The River Tribe wears green. All of Nakia's outfits are a shade of green.
- The Border Tribe wears blue. This is prominent in their shielding cloaks.
- The Mining Tribe wears red and orange.
- The Merchant Tribe wears indigo.
- The Jabari paint themselves white and wear white fur. Fitting as they live on the mountaintops.
- The Royal Family wears purple. Most prominent with the heart shaped herb, Zuri's royal robes, and T'Challa's suit.
- Cool Ship: Wakandan ships don't have physical manual commands but motion detection of the pilot's hands instead, at least when they're not remote-controlled through Shuri's inventions. They also have an invisibility function.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Wakanda is an Afrofuturistic take on it. The skyscraper gardens and abundant plant life hint at Solar Punk elements as well.
- Culture Chop Suey: Potentially justified, since Wakanda is explicitly made up of several distinct tribes who all just ended up near each other because of the Vibranium.
- According to Iron Man 2, Wakanda is located in East Africa, with Captain America: Civil War giving the more precise location of Lake Turkana◊...
- ...But in Civil War, T'Challa and T'Chaka speak Xhosa, a South African languagenote , while worshipping deities from Egypt in North Africa.
- Continued in Black Panther. Costume designer Ruth Elaine Carter drew inspiration from a wide variety of African tribes, such as the Basotho, Maasai, Himba, Dogon and Tuareg. The film's score also takes inspiration from Senegalese and South African musical traditions, both far from each other and from Wakanda.
- Also in Black Panther, the members of the Jabari tribe worship Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.note
- Darkest Africa: Wakanda intentionally invoked this trope for years, maintaining a third-world country front with minimal exports so as to remain Beneath Notice. It only very recently began opening up and taking an active role on the international stage after the Sokovia Incident.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Has been a part of the MCU for quite a while now. Vibranium and Wakanda have been established parts of the MCU since The First Avenger, when Cap gets his shield. The first reference to the character proper (or more likely, his father) came from a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Iron Man 2, where it was shown that Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. were monitoring an unknown superhuman in Africa. Then in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have mention of a past incident where Klaue ran into trouble during a vibranium heist in Wakanda. The same movie has an additional Freeze-Frame Bonus where a document about Klaue mentions the Black Panther lineage, and that a previous Panther had killed Klaue's great-grandfather.
- Enforced Technology Levels: There are those who wish to wage war on the rest of the world because they fear how the fantastical inventions of the 20th and 21st Centuries have put the technologies of other nations on nigh-equal footing with Wakanda's.
- Five-Man Band: Of T'Challa's own personal team against Killmonger:
- The Leader - T'Challa / Black Panther
- The Lancer - General Okoye
- The Smart Girl - Shuri
- The Big Guy - M'Baku (also doubling as the 11th-Hour Ranger for joining the team much later)
- The Chick - Nakia
- Sixth Ranger - Agent Everett K. Ross (for being an American caucasian foreigner in contrast to the rest of the Wakandan heroes)
- Green Rocks: Vibranium, which originally came to Earth in the form of a meteor and affected the ground and plants it landed near, and has a number of wide-reaching functions.
- Hidden Elf Village: Wakanda has a strong reputation for isolationism and secrecy; it takes the events of Civil War to get them finally involved with the rest of the world.
- Legacy Character: According to Captain America: Civil War as well as a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Age of Ultron, there have been many Black Panthers throughout history. T'Challa is simply the latest one to use the name. This is confirmed in Black Panther: the first Black Panther and leader of Wakanda was centuries, if not millennia ago, and every king since — including T'Chaka — has taken up the mantle.
- Mark of the Supernatural: The only way to identify a native Wakandan is by a small glowing tattoo on the inside of their lower lip, which also serves as a pass into the country.
- Masquerade: Wakanda has been passing itself off as a third world country, while actually being quite the most technologically advanced nation on the entire planet. And they've apparently killed almost every mercenary and fortune seeker that discovered the truth. In the Mid-Credits Scene of Black Panther, T'Challa decides to break it after offering aid to the United Nations.Klaue: What do you actually know about Wakanda?
Ross: Um... shepherds, textiles cool outfits...
Klaue: It's all a front. Explorers searched for it for centuries. "El Dorado", the golden city, they called it. They thought they could find it in South America, but it was in Africa the whole time. [...] I'm the only one who's seen it... and made it out alive.
- Moral Myopia: Wakanda puts immense focus on firm isolationism and independence, to the extent that killing anyone who might find out about it is seen as necessary defense. But after the death of his father King T'Chaka, T'Challa is apparently willing to overlook this, traveling the world to avenge him without any trouble from his people.
- Neutral No Longer: A Central Theme of their involvement in the MCU hitherto. Originally fierce isolationists who went to great lengths to avoid involvement with the outside world, they began to reconsider this stance after stolen Vibranium was used to create a Doomsday Device during Avengers: Age of Ultron; the Wakandans killed during Captain America: Civil War were aid workers sent to help their impoverished neighbours, and Black Panther revolves around the argument of whether they should become even more involved in the world. After Killmonger chews them out for not helping their African neighbours or black people in other countries, T'Challa decides he had a point and begins to organize outreach initiatives to finally reveal the truth of what Wakanda is to the world, especially after having decided his forbears were wrong to hide from the world for so long.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Invoked; both N'Jobu and Killmonger advance the viewpoint that the slave trade and all the suffering it brought to Africans was ultimately Wakanda's fault, as it chose to rely on its advanced technology for self-defense and just turned a blind eye to the rest of Africa, when it could have used its superior technology to instead fight off the European invaders. note
- Obfuscating Stupidity: For generations, Wakanda has concealed its technologically-advanced nature behind a facade of a third world country.
- Only One Name: Wakandans do not use surnames. They announce themselves by the patronymic (T'Challa son of T'Chaka). We do not hear any formal female introductions, so women might use the matronymic. The only exception is Erik Killmonger Stevens, and thats because he abandoned his single Wakandan name (NJadaka) after he was abandoned by the royal family.
- Pragmatic Hero: Unlike some of the other heroes, they will resort to killing if necessary.
- Properly Paranoid: For centuries, Wakanda refused to have contact with the outside world and ensured that all those who somehow managed to get into the kingdom were never heard from again. Given the horrific legacy of European colonization in Africa, it's hard to blame them.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Almost every tribe leader are portrayed as this, especially T'Challa, T'Chaka, M'Baku and Okoye.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Invoked in their military, the offensive-oriented all-female Dora Milaje has red armor with gold lining and the defensive border tribes wear prominently blue with silver lining.
- Scary Black Man: When they are no slouches when is comes to a fight, the Wakandan warriors can be intimidating presences.
- Schizo Tech: They have stealth hovercraft, nanomachines integrated in everything, a city wide forcefield and other complex machines, but in Infinity War their army still goes into battle wearing no armor and wielding spears and blades. Justified Trope, all their armor and weapons are made out of the super strong, super resilient vibranium, which can also be used to power integrated energy projectors; Black Panther shows spears with integrated blasters capable of blowing up tanks and capes that produce forcefields. Since Wakanda relies primarily on highly-advanced espionage to deal with external threats and misdirection to make them look like dirt-poor farmers who aren't worth invading, they've never needed anything more overt or obvious.
- Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: They prefer tribal weapons with ultra-tech refinements; the Dora Milaje use vibranium-enhanced spears that can pierce any mundane armor and send opponents flying when smacked with the blunt end, the Border Tribe uses similar vibranium-enhanced sickles and cloaks that project Deflector Shields.
- Tomorrowland: Due to a mix between their isolationist ideologies and their near-unlimited supply of vibranium, one of Earth's most versatile and valuable elements, Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on Earth with a higher standard living than most first-world nations.
- Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Invoked in their military. Because vibranium can do anything, the Dora Milaje's spear formation is the Unstoppable Force and the Border Tribe's shield cloak formation is the Immovable Object.
Wakandan Royal Family / Golden Tribe
- See the Black Panther page.
Species: Enhanced human
Portrayed By: John Kani (old), Atandwa Kani (young)
Voiced By: César Árias (Latin-American Spanish dub, old), Germán Fabregat (Latin-American Spanish dub, young), Rafael Azcárraga (European Spanish dub, old), Juan Amador Pulido (European Spanish dub, young), Bin Sasaki (Japanese dub, old), Satoshi Taki (Japanese dub, young), Saïd Amadis (French dub, old), Didier Lucien (Canadian French dub, old)
Appearances: Captain America: Civil War | Black Panther
The father of T'Challa and Shuri, the predecessor of T'Challa as the Black Panther and the king of Wakanda until his death in an attack on a United Nations summit he attended.
- Action Dad: His son's predecessor as Black Panther, and T'Challa was already a child when T'Chaka's still active in the role.
- Age Lift:
- In the comics, he was killed when T'Challa was just a boy. In the movie, he's killed when T'Challa is an adult, and lived long enough to see his son succeed him as the new Black Panther.
- In another example, at one point in the comics, T'Chaka was stated to have fought alongside Captain America during World War II. Given his age in the movie, he'd likely be far too young for that to have occurred.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: After his death, he travels to the Spirit Realm to join his ancestors. He gives T'Challa advice on how to be king from there.
- The Atoner: Deleted scenes from the Blu-ray of Black Panther directly explain this. T'Challa points out that his father had spent his entire life defending Wakanda's historical isolationism, up until as an old man he left to give a speech at the United Nations urging that Wakanda must become more involved in helping the world beyond its borders (the speech at which, coincidentally, he was assassinated). T'Challa directly asks Zuri what could have caused this change in his father, to which Zuri (who knows what secretly happened) vaguely but accurately says "time" — T'Chaka remained haunted by his past decisions, and towards the end of his life was attempting to atone for them.
- Belated Backstory: After dying in his debut, we learn more about him two years later during his son's solo movie. Said backstory is very integral to the latter film's story.
- Bling of War: His Black Panther suit was much flashier than T'Challa's and even boasted a sash.
- Broken Pedestal: To T'Challa. His mishandling of young Erik after he killed his father led to Erik's Start of Darkness and T'Challa's near death. When they met in the spirit plain the second time, T'Challa screamed at his face that he was wrong.
- Calling the Old Man Out: T'Challa has less than kind words to say about how he handled the situation with Erik.
- The Cameo: T'Chaka only appears in a single scene in Civil War before dying.
- Dark Secret: He killed his younger brother on the spur of a moment when the latter attempted to kill the young Zuri. After this he left his now orphaned young nephew to fend for himself in America. These actions fueled the plot of Black Panther.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: He is killed in a terrorist explosion set off by Helmut Zemo, in contrast to the comics, where he was shot by Ulysses Klaw.
- Fan Boy: Shuri suggests that he was a fan of Back to the Future Part II.
- Good Is Not Soft: He was a genuinely good man and fair ruler. However, he tells T'Challa that being a good man will come at odds with being a king, and as the world changes into one of conquered and conquerors, he must be ready to make ruthless decisions to protect Wakanda. He should know, as he killed his own brother, whom he clearly loved, for Wakanda's sake.
- Hidden Depths: Was apparently a fan of American cinema according to Shuri, particularly Back to the Future Part II which gave her the idea to upgrade T'Challa's suit with self-materializing boots.
- Hypocrite: His role in drafting the Sokovia Accords can come across as this when he and other Wakandan nationals routinely perform unregulated missions — including assassinations — on foreign soil. His line "Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all" also reads as this considering he killed N'Jobu without subsequently assisting his now-orphaned son.
- I Did What I Had to Do: T'Chaka regrets having to kill his own brother, but even more regrets not taking his nephew back to Wakanda. Nonetheless, he justifies it because it was done in Wakanda's interests.
- In 1992, he remorsefully killed his brother and started his nephew on the path of revenge. Years later his own death by another remorseful killer led to his own son's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- His decision to kill his brother and abandon his nephew as part of the isolationist policy to protect Wakanda wound up creating the biggest threat to Wakanda's safety and prosperity in the nation's history.
- Kill the Ones You Love: He personally killed his beloved younger brother on the spur of the moment when the latter tried to shoot the young Zuri in revenge.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Barely averted. T'Chaka's murder of his brother threw his nephew into a 20 years Roaring Rampage of Revenge. His own murder started his own son's quest of vengeance. Luckily T'Challa got to listen to the whole truth and chose not to follow it.
- My Greatest Failure: Among the Wakandans, his failure to capture Ulysses Klaue for thirty years is seen as this. But an even greater failure that no one knew about was how he had to kill his own brother to save the life of Zuri, and didn't bother bringing Erik along to Wakanda with him to ensure he wouldn't grow up revengeful. This would have dreadful consequences on Wakanda 20 years later.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Killmonger wouldn't have grown up to be the super-terrorist that he is if T'Chaka hadn't decided the best way to handle his brother N'Jobu's involvement with a black supremacist movement was to kill his brother and then leave his newly orphaned nephew to the untender mercies of the American youth foster system in the 1990s.
- Noble Bigot: It's heavily implied that part of the reason he abandoned Erik was because he didn't consider the boy, who had an African-American mother and grew up in Oakland, to be a true Wakandan.
- Parents as People: He was a good father to T'Challa, but far from a perfect person. This just makes it harder when T'Challa is confronted with the aftermath of his father's actions, such as orphaning and abandoning his cousin. However, despite both this and denouncing his father's traditionalism and sticking so closely to isolationism, T'Challa never stopped loving him, as seen when he proudly declares himself "son of T'Chaka" in The Stinger of his solo film.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Downplayed; while the plot of Civil War was already well underway, T'Chaka's death sets off the manhunt for Bucky, as well as T'Challa's involvement in the story. Additionally, his killing of Killmonger's father triggered the plot of Black Panther, and T'Chaka's own death is what leads T'Challa to assume the throne.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's spearheaded the divisive Sokovia Accords, but he's otherwise a sensible, diplomatic man who strives for peace and is respectful of the Avengers' intentions. He even sincerely thanks Natasha for agreeing to sign. As noted in the entry for My Greatest Failure, however, he has made darker decisions with harsh repercussions.
- Retired Badass: By the time of Civil War, old age has meant he has passed the Black Panther mantle to his son, while still being king.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Wakanda historically favored isolationism, but T'Chaka ends that to become a player on the world stage when he sees problems developing. According to a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he also held the Black Panther identity in his youth, which is properly seen (briefly) during the opening to Black Panther.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death at the UN conference sparks T'Challa's involvement in the hunt for Bucky.
- Small Role, Big Impact: For Captain America: Civil War. He spearheads the Sokovia Accords, which drive the central conflict between the Avengers, and his death provides motivation for Black Panther to get involved. In Black Panther, his murder of N'Jobu and subsequent abandonment of Erik led to him becoming Wakanda's greatest threat.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Downplayed. He still gets killed shortly after he's introduced like in the comics, but this version actually got to live to see his son grow up and succeed him as Black Panther.
- Spirit Advisor: T'Challa visits his deceased father in the Spirit Realm to seek advice.
- Timeshifted Actor: In Black Panther, father and son actors John and Atandwa Kani play older and younger versions of T'Chaka.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Responding to his brother N'Jobu drawing a gun on Zuri by fatally stabbing him rather than disarming him with a non-lethal attack leads to N'Jobu's son Erik becoming Wakanda's greatest enemy.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: In Captain America: Civil War, he's killed off only a few minutes after he's introduced. Black Panther expands his character considerably.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He was on the receiving end when his son lashes out at him for killing his own brother dishonorably and leaving his nephew alone for the sake of maintaining Wakanda's secrecy.
Portrayed by: Letitia Wright
Voiced By: Leyla Rangel (Latin-American Spanish dub), Vera Bosch (European Spanish dub), Kanako Momota (Japanese dub), Aurélie Konaté (French dub), Catherine Brunet (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame
T'Challa's younger sister, the princess of Wakanda, and head of the government's research and development.
- Action Girl: She lacks her brother's superhuman gifts or the combat training of the Dora Milaje, but that doesn't stop her from charging into battle when the time's right. For that matter, she gets the closest to beating Killmonger out of anyone save T'Challa himself, only really losing because she got too close.
- Adaptational Job Change: Her comic counterpart is a historian and anthropologist. Here, she's a scientist, and the head of her country's science department at that.
- Adaptation Personality Change: This version is a Gadgeteer Genius and tech-savvy, something her comic counterpart really isn't — that's actually a key attribute of the comics' T'Challa. In fact, her comics counterpart is actually the opposite — she focuses on Wakanda's hidden history and stories, using much more mysticism than her brother. In addition, she's much more lighthearted and prone to jokes than her comics counterpart, who is a much more serious character. However, she is portrayed as scientifically inclined and with comedic traits in the animated series (which was based on Hudlin's first Black Panther story), so both aspects of her personality have some precedent.
- Adorkable: Calls the high-tech sound-suppressing boots she made for T'Challa's suit "sneakers" and when T'Challa doesn't laugh she tries to explain the joke to him.
- Always Someone Better: Shuri's innate genius is unparallelled, and having grown up in Wakanda, she has developed some of the most advanced technology in the world, compared to which even most Starktech looks harmless. During one tie-in comic she explicitly states herself to be more intelligent than Tony Stark. During Infinity War, she successfully manages to find a way to rewire Vision to exist without the Mind Stone whereas Tony and Bruce didn't think of it. At the same time, however, Tony's decades of engineering expertise allow him to use the same nanotech concept Shuri used for T'Challa's suit for his own, much more heavily armed, more innately powerful suit while not having access to an ounce of vibranium. However it has been confirmed by both the Russo brothers and Director Ryan Coogler that Shuri is the smartest person in the MCU.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: She takes great joy in teasing her brother, for example when she records her brother testing his suit for "research purposes", fully knowing that he's about to get thrown across the whole room.T'Challa: Delete that footage!
- Arm Cannon: She wields twin panther-shaped energy cannons on her hands, which emit a sonic frequency that suppresses most of the special properties of vibranium — the same frequency used to safely transport the metal.
- Badass Adorable: A charming and beautiful lass who is as cute as a kitten, yet single-handedly responsible for making her already formidable brother an even greater warrior with her ingenuity in military technology, not to mention being just as brave as T'Challa on the fields of battle (if not as well-trained).
- Big Sister Instinct: Inverted; she is highly protective of her older brother, T'Challa, and will fight for him.
- Black and Nerdy: An African princess teen Gadgeteer Genius to be precise.
- Brains and Brawn: Shuri is a Teen Genius scientist while her brother T'Challa is a fierce Warrior Prince.
- Combat Medic: Sports a considerable degree of medical knowledge in addition to her other scientific pursuits, and T'Challa seems to consider her a first resort when getting somebody fixed up is a priority. As established elsewhere, she's also a crack shot with an Arm Cannon when the situation calls for it.
- Composite Character: Her extremely sarcastic demeanor, as well as her dynamic with Ross are taken from Queen Divine Justice, while her Teen Genius status elicits comparisons to Riri Williams.
- Covers Always Lie: Her Infinity War character poster featured her appearance from her film of origin. She never wears the clothes or puts her hair in that style in the actual movie.
- Curb-Stomp Cushion:
- Despite nearly getting killed by Killmonger, she's the only warrior besides T'Challa who comes close to depowering Erik.
- Likewise in Infinity War, where Corvus Glaive overpowers her with relative ease, largely because she was taken by surprise and not fully outfitted for a fight.
- The Cutie: She's cheerful, funny (though at other people's expense), and very personable.
- Despair Event Horizon: It's heavily implied that her father's death put her on the edge of one of these and fully crosses it when she believes her brother has been killed. Only the saving of T'Challa's life by the Jabari saves her from hitting the bottom.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her appearance at T'Challa's return to Wakanda, where she lightheartedly jokes around with him, demands he give her his tech so that she can upgrade it to be even better, and flips him off as she leaves, establishes her as very unconcerned with the protocols and principles associated with being royalty, whilst also being quite the tech-genius. Her scene in her lab at the Mound reinforces all of the traits she showed in that first meeting.
- The Fashionista: She's very fashionable and stylish, even in her lab.
- Flipping the Bird: She flips off T'Challa at the start of the film when he is about to be crowned as king. Ramonda has to remind her not to do it.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Her casual fashion choices, quoting of the "what are those?" meme, and wish to visit Coachella and Disneyland show that she enjoys American pop culture.
- The Gadfly: Shuri absolutely loves to mess around with people and acts quite trollish.
- During the scene in the Mound, she feigns distaste at T'Challa's sandals, makes an Incredibly Lame Pun by naming her new sound-absorbent shoes "sneakers" (which they even look like!), and tricks T'Challa into getting knocked flying by her new Panther habit's kinetic redistribution ability (which she records for later amusement).
- During the ritual to formally declare T'Challa as King of Wakanda, when Zuri the high priest reaches the part where he asks if any of the royal family wishes to challenge T'Challa for the throne, she raises her hand as if volunteering... only to then completely destroy the solemn atmosphere by complaining about how much she hates her traditional corset and demanding they get the ceremony over with. This elicts sighs, headshakes, eye-rolls and even facepalms all around.
- Gadgeteer Genius: She designs much of the new technology used in the country and if she didn't invent the tech she greatly improved it. The creators have compared her to Tony Stark, if Tony Stark had full access to vibranium and technology generations beyond the rest of the world.
- Genki Girl: She mostly appears to be hyped on everything.
- Guns Akimbo: Dual-wields Arm Cannons.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Shuri fights using her dual Arm Cannons while her brother T'Challa prefers melee and Combat Parkour.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Killmonger nearly kills her with one of the new Black Panther suits she herself made.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Shuri seems to have a thing for middle-aged, broken white boys:
- The Stinger to Black Panther shows her to be on good terms with Bucky. Not only is he biologically about fifteen years older than Shuri, he's chronologically over eighty years her senior.
- Despite the fact that most of Shuri's interactions with Ross consist of either Snark-to-Snark Combat or Shuri being an Insufferable Genius, the two showed genuine concern and affection for each other multiple times.
- Insufferable Genius: She has a moment of this in Infinity War when she asks Bruce why he didn't find a simpler configuration for Vision's neural structure. Bruce, who is a gamma radiation physicist and not an engineer or neurologist, mentions that it didn't occur to him and Tony. Shuri sardonically says she's sure he tried his best.
- Killed Offscreen: When the 'Avenge the Fallen' posters for Endgame were released to celebrate one month left until the film's release, Shuri got a black-and-white poster alongside those who died in Infinity War (plus Wasp, who was seen being dusted in the stinger of Ant-Man and the Wasp), revealing that she had also been killed by the Snap even though it was not shown onscreen.
- Little Miss Badass: By virtue of being much younger in this incarnation and mixing it up alongside the Dora Milaje.
- Little Miss Snarker: T'Challa's little sister's got quite the sarcastic side.Everett Ross: Okay, is this Wakanda?
Shuri: No, it's Kansas.
- No OSHA Compliance: Zig-Zagged since Wakanda doesn't have to follow OSHA in the Marvel universe. She chides her brother for having open-toed sandals in her lab, which is a legitimate safety hazard, before showing him the "sneakers" she made. At the same time, it's shown that she works alone, doesn't actually have a means of locking out the lab in the case of an invasion or an usurper taking the Wakandan throne, and doesn't have any lab partners or assistants for backup because of her Teen Genius tendencies. This means that Killmonger is able to take the golden Panther necklace from her lab, and she runs out of time to save Vision because she's working alone on him during a limited window of opportunity, with a contingency of bodyguards that get flayed by the Children of Thanos.
- Odango Hair: She wears her hair in two twin buns in one scene, fitting her cheerful personality. According to the creators, it's a deliberate Shout-Out to Princess Leia.
- Of Corset Hurts: Her formal dress during the coronation sports a corset, but she finds it very uncomfortable.
- Older Than They Look: Technically speaking, she should be 23 years old by Endgame, but since she was snapped away and later revived, she's still 18.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: She is an engineering genius and also shows skill in medicine. She is also in charge of overseeing Bucky Barnes's deprogramming and recovery.
- Plucky Comic Relief: She's the main source of comedy for Black Panther.
- The Pollyanna: She's always lively and joyful.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The lively and energetic red to T'Challa's more stoic and subdued blue.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's also the head scientist of Wakanda's science department aside from being its princess. This is actually one of the sources of friction between the Royals and the Jabari — M'Baku, in particular, thinks such a position is extremely inappropriate for someone as young as she is.
- Sassy Black Woman: She has got a lot of snark for a Wakandan.
- Science Hero: She's head of Wakanda's science department and is a capable fighter when needed.
- Shipper on Deck: For T'Challa and Nakia, as she heartily teases T'Challa for freezing up upon seeing Nakia again.
- Teen Genius:
- Sixteen at the time of Black Panther, then eighteen when we see her again in Infinity War, but despite her young age, she's extremely intelligent and gifted with technology. Word of God alternately describes her as either on par with or even more brilliant than Tony Stark. At any rate, her access to vibranium gives her tech a major edge.
- In the Infinity War Prelude comic, T'Challa outright calls her the most gifted scientist in Wakanda, and entrusts her with figuring out how to deprogram Bucky. If Infinity War and The Stinger of Black Panther are any indication, she pulled it off.
- This Means War Paint: Dons Tribal Face Paint while gearing up for the final battle with Killmonger's forces.
- Warrior Princess: Even though she is not physically trained in the arts of battle as T'Challa is, Shuri is every inch as brave as her brother when defending her country, and more than willing to battle for its freedom with a cannon blazing from each hand.
- Young and in Charge: A Teen Genius who heads Wakanda's science department. Justified since she's also the country's princess.
- Younger and Hipper: Only a teenager here, whereas her comic counterpart is already in her mid-twenties (early 20s when she was first introduced; similarly, Letitia Wright was 24 during filming).
Queen Mother Ramonda
Portrayed By: Angela Bassett
Voiced By: Rebeca Manríquez (Latin-American Spanish dub), Isabel Donate (European Spanish dub), Naoko Kouda (Japanese dub), Maïk Darah (French dub), Claudine Chatel (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther | Avengers: Endgame
The widow of T'Chaka and mother of T'Challa and Shuri.
- Adult Fear: She is forced to see her eldest son being seemingly killed before her eyes and being unable to do anything about it. Later, she loses both of her children and thousands of her subjects in Infinity War, and has to go on with this as the status quo for five years.
- Composite Character: With N'Yami, T'Challa's biological mother in the comics.
- Contralto of Danger: She has a full, sonorous voice befitting her royal stature.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Sports long white dreadlocks. Unlike most uses of this trope, it's implied that it is simply her hair due to age.
- The High Queen: Is very regal and elegant, and sports a ceremonial headdress until she goes on the run.
- Nice Hat: Sports an elegantly awesome headdress that would make Guinan jealous.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Subverted. She thinks T'Challa is dead after he is seemingly thrown off a waterfall by Killmonger and appropriately grieves over her son. It turns out that he is Not Quite Dead after he was saved by M'Baku and they were able to revive him by giving him the last remaining Heart-Shaped Herb. Played straight after the end of Infinity War, where both T'Challa and Shuri were killed by Thanos' universal culling, though it's undone thanks to the events of Endgame.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Being a dowager queen, she has the fanciest dresses. Her first scene has her in an opulent white gown.
- Related in the Adaptation: In the comics, Ramonda is technically T'Challa's stepmother after his own mother died giving birth, though she sees him as a surrogate son after raising him since infancy. In the MCU however, she is T'Challa's biological mother, likely in the interest of simplicity.
- Retired Badass: While she doesn't surf on the hoods of cars, in one scene she stands off with the same ring blades Nakia uses, suggesting that she may have been an active fighter in her younger years. closer look at Nakia in the previous scene shows she only has one ring, suggesting she thought lending one to Ramonda would be a better tactical decision than having both to herself.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Zig-Zagged because of Composite Character and Related in the Adaptation in play. T'Challa's biological mother in the comics suffered Death by Childbirth while comics Ramonda is alive.
Portrayed By: Sterling K. Brown
Voiced By: Arturo Mercado Jr. (Latin-American Spanish dub), Miguel Ángel Montero (European Spanish dub), Daichi Endō (Japanese dub), Mohad Sanou (French dub), Alexis Lefebvre (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther
The father of N'Jadaka aka Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, brother of King T'Chaka. He was one of the Wakandan spies sent to the US in The '90s. After witnessing the suffering of black people, he became disillusioned with Wakanda's isolationist policy and desired a violent revolution using Vibranium weapons. This led to him allying with Ulysses Klaue which subsequently led to his death at the hand of his brother.
- Adaptation Name Change: In the comics, T'Chaka's brother is S'Yan. See also Decomposite Character, below
- Anti-Villain: All N'Jobu truly wanted was to do the right thing by the people he saw oppressed and subjected to racism, even if his methods were severely flawed. He was also unwilling to sink to the depths of extremism that would come to define his son, and seeing what he'd become deeply saddens N'Jobu when they meet again on the spirit plane.
- Composite Character: Arguably between Erik and T'Shan's fathers, considering that their sons are also the same person here.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Based on Erik's spirit world memories of him, N'Jobu is a loving if flawed father. He was doting but couldn't keep his frustration out of his interaction with his son.
- Decomposite Character: In the comics, T'Chaka's brother is called S'Yan. In the MCU there's both N'Jobu and S'Yan, the former head of the Wakandan Design Group - who appears only in the Black Panther Prelude one-shot comic book.
- Didn't Think This Through: He sold out Wakanda to Klaue; the end result was he was busted, several Wakandans were killed, and Klaue made off with the vibranium and lied about using it to help others. How else did he think the deal would result?
- Et Tu, Brute?: In both ends. King T'Chaka and Zuri are clearly disappointed with him allying with Ulysses Klaue and betraying Wakanda, while N'Jobu is furious after The Reveal that his friend "James" is actually his brother's spy.
- Everyone Has Standards: While he wanted to use violence to end the oppression of black people, he's clearly shocked that his son is attempting to commit mass murder to subjugate all of the world's other racial groups.
- Foil: To Nakia. Both are War Dogs who empathize with the strife experienced by Africans around the world and dislike Wakanda's isolationism, but Nakia suggests outreach and sharing Wakanda's technology in peaceful ways, while N'Jobu advocated arming Africans.
- Going Native: During his mission to spy on the U.S., he came to empathize with the suffering by the African-Americans he was living with and become disillusioned with his home country's isolationist policy. He decided to betray Wakanda by allying with Klaue and try to start a violent revolution in the U.S. to bring equality.
- Gone Horribly Right: He only wanted to help people in the States, albeit by arming black people all over the world. After N'Jobu dies, Erik goes one step further by wanting to use Wakandan technology to wage war on the world.
- Good Parents: N'Jobu was a loving father to his son, who continues to mourn for and miss him well into adulthood. If N'Jobu had lived to raise Erik, the younger man might never have become the villainous Killmonger.
- Malcolm Xerox: He is a character who is willing to resort to extremist violence as means of pushing for civil rights for an oppressed minority. Unusually, his generation did not have a clear Martin Luther King figure to served as a Foil.
- Mr. Exposition: He narrates the prologue of Black Panther which explains the origin of Wakanda and the Legacy Character of the Black Panther.
- My God, What Have I Done?: During their meeting in the spirit world, he despairs at how his raising of Erik and his death filled his son with murderous rage. Erik witnesses such, but chooses to press forward with his schemes anyway.
- Named by the Adaptation: Erik's father was a nameless Posthumous Character in the comics, but here, he actually gets a name and backstory.
- Not Helping Your Case: N'Jobu's noble goal of helping oppressed blacks across the globe wasn't going to see support from T'Chaka to start with, but going on about Wakanda ruling over those freed "the right way" did nothing but make it seem like a quest for power.
- Plot-Triggering Death: His death triggered Erik's Start of Darkness and subsequently the plot of Black Panther.
- Related in the Adaptation: Erik Kilmonger's father is not related to the Wakandan royal family in the comics.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Only has three scenes, but is a major driving force behind the plot of Black Panther.
- Spirit Advisor: He meets his son Erik in the spiritual plane. One of the rare cases where we see a Spirit Advisor for the villain.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Drawing his gun on Zuri in a fit of anger leads directly to his own death and indirectly to his son Erik becoming Wakanda's greatest enemy.
- Tragic Villain: He genuinely believed that a revolution using vibranium weapons was the best thing for his people. In the end, he was betrayed by the two people closest to him, which in turn pushed his son to a path of darkness.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Remember that cache of vibranium he helped Klaue steal? Ultron repurposed it for a doomsday weapon. The fallout led to the Sokovia Accords, and his brother was killed at the summit held to ratify the Accords.
- Warrior Prince: Implied. He's the brother of the King of Wakanda and is a spy, suggesting he possesses a decent combat skill.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His intended methods were wrong, but his goal of ending the oppression of black Americans was a very noble one. Additionally, his appearance in the spirit world shows that he didn't want to take it to the extremes his son is trying to do.
- See the Erik Killmonger page
Appearances: Captain America: Civil War | Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War
Wakanda's elite, all-female paramilitary group. Their primary responsibility is protecting the royal family. Their name literally means "Dear Ones".
- Adapted Out: There is no mention of them being the Black Panther's ceremonial wives-in-training like in the comics.
- Action Girl: Naturally, since they are bodyguards. In Civil War, Security Chief Ayo is more than willing to face off against Natasha.
- Amazon Brigade: An all-female warrior squad sworn to protect the royal family.
- Ancient Tradition: They've been bodyguards to the king of Wakanda since recorded history.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: When four of them fight Killmonger equipped with a Black Panther suit, the Dora Milaje use a specific tactic to immobilize him then bring him on his knees despite the latter's superhuman abilities.
- Badass Normal: No superpowers but they're more than capable of subduing superhuman opponents.
- Bald Women: Their hair is closely shaved and this is apparently part of their uniform, similar to the US Military custom of a crew cut.
- Blade on a Stick: Their Weapon of Choice is a pole arm.
- Bling of War: The Standard garb of a Dora Milaje Warrior is quite flashy, to show just how elite and dangerous they are, and General Okoye's metal accoutrements are gold plated as opposed to her sisters' more reserved silver.
- Bodyguard Babes: They protect Prince T'Challa. In Civil War, one of them even stands off against Black Widow.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: Enforced. While you'd think this wouldn't be necessary for a Black Panther, both T'Challa and T'Chaka are caught in an explosion set off by Zemo's bomb, with T'Chaka even dying from his injuries.
- Crazy-Prepared: As it turns out, they have specific tactics just in case a Black Panther goes rogue, and would have subdued Killmonger if not for the suit's Attack Reflector abilities that were only introduced days before. They might serve the throne but they're clearly prepared, just in case.
- Expy: They are based on the Dahomey women.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The traditional Dora Milaje uniform is a stylish red dress, though still cut in a way that doesn't hinder movement.
- Loyal to the Position: They are sworn to serve the king of Wakanda, whoever that may be. As a result, they agree to follow Killmonger after he seems to have killed T'Challa in ritual combat. However, when T'Challa is revealed to still be alive, thereby leaving the challenge for the throne unresolved, Killmonger's refusal to finish the fight honorably causes them to reassert their loyalty to T'Challa.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: They serve the throne, no matter who sits on it. However, the moment it becomes clear that the person they follow never actually had the right, they switch sides to the rightful king.
- Praetorian Guard: They're an elite group of fighters who defend the throne and the royal family.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted. Their comic counterparts are potential consorts to T'Challa in addition to being the Praetorian Guard, but this aspect is removed from the MCU incarnation.
- Red Is Heroic: They predominantly dress in red, and act as loyal bodyguards to the noble T'Challa. Subverted when Killmonger becomes king, as the law of the land forces them to serve him, then double subverted, as they are reluctant to obey his commands and readily side with T'Challa upon the legitimate king's return.
- Scary Black Woman: When it comes to defending the Royal Family, they are willing to intimidate their opposers and show what they are made of, as exemplified by Klaue's Oh, Crap! towards Okoye's attack in the Busan car chase and her smirk after showing off her skills in Black Panther and Ayo initially confronting Natasha to move or else be moved in Civil War.
- Undying Loyalty: They would defend Wakanda and its royal family with their life — or more accurately the current king. When Erik "wins" the challenge to the throne, Ramonda and Shuri have to go into hiding.
Portrayed By: Danai Gurira
Voiced By: Simone Brook (Latin-American Spanish dub), Yolanda Pérez Segoviano (European Spanish dub), Mitsuki Saiga (Japanese dub), Géraldine Asselin (French dub), Julie Beauchemin (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame
General Okoye is the head of the Dora Milaje — and with her skill in combat and unwavering dedication to her country, it's easy to see why.
- Action Girl: A given, her being a Dora Milaje, but during Infinity War, she's on the front lines of the battle for Wakanda, leading the charge alongside T'Challa and the Avengers.
- Adaptational Job Change: Or rather Adaptation Job Promotion, going from only a noteworthy Dora Milaje in the comics to being The Leader of said order.
- Advertised Extra: Okoye makes the poster for Avengers: Endgame even though her role is actually rather minor as she is maintaining order in Wakanda in T'Challa's absence. She does join the cavalry in the final battle against Thanos.
- Age Lift: Older than her comic counterpart, who, like Nakia, was a teen.
- Amazon Brigade: In addition to leading the Dora Millaje, she's also at the frontlines of nearly all of the MCU's heroines that congregate to protect the Gauntlet.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Leader of the Dora Milaje and is touted as Wakanda's best warrior.
- Badass in Charge: The head of the Dora Milaje, and not just the best fighter in the group, but considered to be one of, if not the best warrior in all of Wakanda. Expanded upon in Endgame, where, after losing T'Challa and Shuri, she seems to be the ruler of Wakanda, or at least the Wakandan authority between the country and the Avengers.
- Badass Normal: Okoye has no superhuman abilities, her only advantages being Wakadan tech and armor, but she more than acquits herself during the events of Black Panther. Come Infinity War, she's fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with T'Challa and the Avengers, and in Endgame, she leads the Amazon Brigade that forms around Captain Marvel to protect the Infinity Gauntlet.
- Bald of Awesome: A rare female version of the trope. Wakanda's general and best warrior is clean shaven.
- Beta Couple: In a loving, affectionate relationship with W'Kabi, in contrast to the obvious but complicated tensions between T'Challa and Nakia. Yet when she and W'Kabi face off in the final battle, Okoye shows no hesitation about putting her duty to T'Challa and Wakanda above her love for him, especially considering the side he was taking.
- Blade on a Stick: Her Weapon of Choice is a spear, and she puts it to good use. In Endgame, she causally skewers one of Thanos' Co-Dragons in the Battle of Earth.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: She is the bodyguard of the king of Wakanda, who happens to be super-human, anyways. Although a Black Panther certainly needs little protection, T'Challa is inexperienced enough to warrant Okoye sticking by his side despite his own protests.
- Career Versus Man: Falls firmly in the side of "Career", as seen with her confrontation with W'Kabi in the final battle:Okoye: Drop your weapon!
W'Kabi: Would you kill me, my love?
Okoye: For Wakanda? Without question.
- Combat Pragmatist: She's frequently seen going straight for male opponents' groins and is as quick to use whatever's at hand as she is her spear. She even weaponizes a wig at one point.
- Composite Character: She's combined with Chandra, W'Kabi's estranged wife from the comics.
- Cool Big Sis: Has this vibe with T'Challa, despite not being related to him and him being her king. She gives him valuable counsel while joining his actual sister in teasing him. This is in contrast with Nakia, who is deferential in front of the royal family.
- Deadpan Snarker: Right from her first scene, where she teasingly reminds her own king not to freeze up in front of his ex — to no avail, as it turns out.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Looks down on them as "primitive". Yes, she uses a spear, but it's vibranium, and has some uses beyond mundane spears.
- Fake-Hair Drama: Okoye wears a wig of dubious quality while infiltrating the Korean casino. She complains about it and turns it into an Improvised Weapon almost immediately after combat begins.
- Nakia and Okoye are two Action Girls who tag along T'Challa, counseling him on the best course of action in their own way but are pretty much two opposite sides of an argument. While Okoye is the bodyguard of the royal family, is very traditionalist and wary of every foreigner, arguing that the ruler of Wakanda must look for his people first and foremost, Nakia is a foreign agent who wants to change Wakanda's isolationist policies and open it to the world to help people around the world. It also shows when Killmonger apparently defeats T'Challa and is crowned king, Okoye reluctantly adopts a My Country, Right or Wrong state of mind and reluctantly bodyguards the king, while Nakia immediately takes action to break the law and help dethrone Killmonger.
- Their differences is also shown in their fighting styles. Okoye, the traditionalist, only uses her vibranium spear in battle and no other weapons, as opposed to Nakia, who, trained as a spy, will use whatever she can get her hands on to win a fight.
- On a personal level though, she is a lot more casual and personable in front of the royal family, as if she were an honorary sister, unlike Nakia, who is deferential.
- Four-Star Badass: She is the general in the Dora Milaje and an efficient fighter.
- Frontline General: Not only does she lead the Dora Milaje in combat, but she has more fight scenes without them in her corner.
- Gold-Colored Superiority: She wears gold instead of silver in her Dora Milaje uniform to signify she is their leader and Wakanda's best warrior.
- Guttural Growler: Her voice is rather raspy and she is shown to be a formidable warrior.
- Happily Married: According to Ryan Coogler, W'Kabi and Okoye were a married couple and appeared to be happy together up until the civil war between T'Challa and Killmonger tore them apart.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: During the trip to Busan, Okoye wears a long red dress and proceeds to a) beat up a bunch of henchmen in a casino, b) ride on top of a speeding car and throw a vibranium spear hard enough to stop another car dead in its tracks.
- Lady of War: The staunch, dignified general of the Dora Milaje, wielding a vibranium spear with great skill and grace. She's stated several times to be one of Wakanda's greatest warriors.
- The Lancer: For T'Challa, as she is his most trusted ally.
- Licked by the Dog: Unfriendly as she looks and acts, she's very gentle with Wakanda's war rhinos which she cares for alongside W'Kabi. They in turn, like her very much, which comes in handy when W'Kabi betrays her and T'Challa during the third act.
- Lovely Angels: During the Battle of Wakanda, she forms an odd action duo and camaraderie with Black Widow, of all people. The two are always seen fighting together, whether back-to-back against the Outrider armies, double-teaming Proxima Midnight to save Scarlet Witch, or taking on Thanos himself side-by-side.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Subverted. As head of Wakanda'a armed forces, Okoye is bound by honor to serve the king of Wakanda. After Killmonger seemingly kills T'Challa in ritual combat, she clearly is not pleased with her new king or his plans to sow worldwide conflict by supplying vibranium weapons to rebel groups but continues to serve him. When T'Challa later returns alive and well and Killmonger refuses to continue the duel in accordance with Wakandan law, it grants Okoye the loophole she needs to turn on him.
- My Greatest Failure: Blames herself for not being able to protect T'Chaka from Zemo.
- Nerves of Steel: When she puts herself between M'Baku and W'Kabi's war rhino, she doesn't even so much as flinch as the multi-ton war beast bears down on her. In fact, the only reaction she makes at all is a small smile when it licks her after stopping inches from trampling her.
- No Badass to His Valet: Okoye has all the respect in the world for her king, but she also has no problem teasing or snarking at him.Okoye: When you said we were going to open Wakanda to the rest of the world, this is not what I imagined.T'Challa: What did you imagine?Okoye: The Olympics. Maybe even a Starbucks.
- Not So Above It All: Despite her seriousness demeanor, she does have her light-hearted moments like when she gleefully tells Shuri her brother froze like an antelope when he saw Nakia.
- Not So Stoic:
- When T'Challa returns to retake the throne of Wakanda from Killmonger, there is a genuine smile of joy on Okoye's face.Okoye: He lives!
- Her eyes widen in shock and she begins hyperventilating profusely after T'Challa dissolves into ash before her eyes.
- She also appears rather disturbed when she realizes the Outriders are willing to kill themselves to break through the dome.
- When T'Challa returns to retake the throne of Wakanda from Killmonger, there is a genuine smile of joy on Okoye's face.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With T'Challa. Bonus content on the video release reveals that they were practically raised together, and she's not unlike a big sister to him.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Okoye gives a short but effective one to Killmonger when she and the Dora Milaje revolt against him and his plans when T'Challa returns.Okoye: [disgusted] Your heart is so full of hatred, you're not fit to be a king!
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She is a general and after initially forced to serve Killmonger following T'Challa's alleged defeat until the latter is revealed to be still alive, she finally turns on Killmonger in T'Challa's name.
- Shipper on Deck: Along with Shuri, Okoye heartily teases T'Challa for freezing up upon seeing Nakia again.
- To Be Lawful or Good: After Killmonger takes the throne, she chooses to be lawful, as she serves the throne and not the people around it. She is clearly distraught about T'Challa's death, though, and when he shows up alive — meaning that his and Erik's ritual combat technically never ended, as it's supposed to go until one participant dies or submits — she takes Erik's refusal to fight him as reason to turn on him and help T'Challa.
- Two First Names: Of a kind. "Okoye" is primarily a surname in the Igbo language, rather than a first name.
- World's Best Warrior: She is stated a several points to be the finest warrior in Wakanda in terms of skill, while T'Challa is more like World's Strongest Man due to the Heart Shaped Herb superpowers.
Portrayed By: Florence Kasumba
Voiced By: Magdalena Tenorio (Latin-American Spanish dub), Ana Jiménez (European Spanish dub), Yukari Oribe (Japanese dub)
Appearances: Captain America: Civil War | Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War
One of the Dora Milaje. She is General Okoye's second-in-command who bodyguards T'Challa during his travels abroad.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the comics Ayo is a former member of the Dora Milaje and leads a rebellion against the Wakandan monarchy while here she's still loyal to the throne.
- Adaptational Job Change: A varfiant. Her comic counterpart is an ex member of the Dora Milaje. Here she's still employed.
- Ascended Extra: Very technically qualified. She is only in one scene in Civil War and has a single line, but gets a bigger part in Black Panther which include 3 scenes and 2 lines.
- Badass Boast: Her threat against Natasha, "Move, or you will be moved."
- Canon Character All Along: She's not identified by name in Civil War, leading many to assume she was a Canon Foreigner. Black Panther confirms she's actually Ayo, a prominent character in Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on the Black Panther comic book.
- The Cavalry: At Okoye's command, Ayo leads the Dora Milaje into battle to support T'Challa against the Border Tribesmen.
- Colonel Badass: Given the implications of being General Okoye's adjutant, there is a likelihood of Ayo retaining the rank of Colonel in Okoye's army and is the second efficient fighter in the Dora Milaje just under Okoye herself.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She initially stood up to Natasha in T'Challa's defense in Civil War, but by Infinity War, they end up both fighting Thanos's forces together.
- Friendly Rivalry: Given then indication that despite facing off towards Black Widow in Civil War that she is okay with working with her in Infinity War, it is very likely to be this between them.
- The Lancer: It's implied she is General Okoye's second-in-command, given she is the Dora Milaje member whom the latter interacted the most and has the highest responsibility as the head of security to bodyguard T'Challa during his travels abroad. Given her superior Okoye is a general, there is a possibility Ayo is a colonel in the Dora Milaje. Ironically, her armed forces commander Okoye is this for T'Challa himself, making Ayo The Lancer for The Lancer. Infinity War director Joe Russo had confirmed that Ayo is definitely this for Okoye.
- No Name Given: Was only credited as "Security Chief" in Civil War.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She is the second-in-command of the Dora Milaje and a part-time traveling security chief for the Royal Family and in spite of her tense moment with Black Widow in Civil War, she is okay with working with her to fight Thanos' forces in Earth's defense in Infinity War.
- The Rival: She seems to be one for Black Widow given their brief stand-off in Civil War of who's the better Action Girl (or on a wider scale, who is the better seasoned Amazon Brigade, the Cold War/World War II-dated Black Widow namesake of Legacy Characters or the centuries-long Dora Milaje). However, by the time they meet again in Infinity War, it seems to be downplayed as they do not show any hostility towards each other at all and are both seemed to be okay with working together as a team against Thanos' forces, indicating it's simply a Friendly Rivalry, though this could be due to her superior Okoye teaming together with Black Widow to fight side by side on the front lines meaning if Okoye is cool with working Black Widow, so does Ayo too.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Is the only member of the Dora Milaje to question whether they should intervene when it becomes clear T'Challa is no match for Killmonger in single combat. She nonetheless takes no action until Okoye turns on him in the climactic battle.
Wakandan Royal Court
Portrayed By: Forest Whitaker (old), Denzel Whitaker (young)
Voiced By: Daniel del Roble (Latin-American Spanish dub), Rafael Calvo (European Spanish dub), Tessho Genda (Japanese dub, old), Kōsuke Gotō (Japanese dub, young), Thierry Desroses (French dub), Normand D'Amour (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther
A shaman and advisor to the King of Wakanda.
- Adaptational Job Change: Went from being a veteran Wakandian soldier in the comics to a High Priest who is a retired War Dog here.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the comics, Zuri is a muscular Boisterous Bruiser who has decades of combat experience. The movie instead presents him as a wiser character who is more focused on the spiritual side of things than he is on combat. Somewhat mitigated by his past as a War Dog spying on the king's brother in America during The '90s.
- Celebrity Paradox: In The Winter Soldier and Civil War, it's revealed that the Star Wars movies exist in the MCU. Whitaker played Saw Gerrera in Rogue One.
- Chekhov's Gunman: It's revealed midway through Black Panther that he's T'Chaka's mole in N'Jobu's ranks seen in the film's prologue.
- Composite Character: His role as the shaman and herbalist who oversees the Heart Shaped Herb ritual is taken from N'Baza and Medinao, two characters who fulfilled the same function in the comics.
- Expy: He's described by the director as the film's version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, of whom Saw Gerrera, who Whitaker played in Rogue One, was very much a Deconstruction. Both are elder mentors to the protagonist who deal in the mystic side of their powers, both have an unexpected connection to the creation of their respective antagonist, and both die at said antagonist's hands.
- Fake American: In-Universe. He posed as an American while spying on Prince N'Jobu during The '90s.
- Honorary Uncle:
- He was a good friend of T'Challa's father, acting as a good-natured, paternal figure to the young king. Zuri's death at Killmonger's hands leaves T'Challa as distraught as he was when T'Chaka was killed by Zemo.
- He seems to have played a similar role during Erik's childhood, as the latter refers him as Uncle James when they meet again decades later.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He is stabbed by Killmonger during the latter's challenge against T'Challa.
- Master Actor: As a War Dog, he impressively kept up his adopted façade as an American criminal. It was even good enough to completely fool another War Dog, Prince N'Jobu.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Just like Obi-Wan, he not only serves as the spiritual teacher to T'Challa, but he also dies at the hands of a villain he inadvertently helped create.
- My Greatest Failure: Holds quite a lot of guilt over the death of N'Jobu, especially because this led to the abandonment of N'Jobu's son.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He shows a lot of guilt over abandoning Erik and keeping it secret. But since it was T'Chaka's orders, he does it without hesitation.Zuri: We had to...maintain the lie.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretended to be a dim American criminal named James while being nothing of the sort.
- Odd Name Out: Uniquely among named Wakandan men, his name doesn't use an apostrophe.
- Retired Badass: Was a War Dog in his younger days, one of Wakanda's spies sent abroad, and specifically tasked with keeping watch over N'Jobu in the prologue and maintained his cover perfectly.
- Reverse Mole: In 1992, he was placed by the king to watch over N'Jobu, pretending to be an American named James, even hiding his African accent.
- Secret Keeper: He has been hiding the truth about T'Challa's uncle until the latter demands it.
- Take Me Instead: He offers his life to Killmonger in exchange for T'Challa's, since Zuri was the one who turned in Erik's father for betraying the crown; thus, his death was Zuri's fault. It doesn't work — Killmonger simply attempts to do away with them both.
Besides the Royal Family, Wakanda is a tribal nation consisting of five other great tribes: the River Tribe, the Border Tribe, the Mining Tribe, the Merchant Tribe, and the Jabari Tribe.
Portrayed By: Lupita Nyong'o
Voiced By: Verónica López Treviño (Latin-American Spanish dub), Silva Sarmentera (European Spanish dub), Junko Minagawa (Japanese dub), Fily Keita (French dub), Catherine Hamman (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther
Nakia: I would make a great queen because I am so stubborn.
An undercover Wakandan spy and T'Challa's lover. Heiress of the River Tribe.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Has black hair in the comics, but has dyed red hair here.
- Adaptational Heroism: Nakia in the comics actually turned into a supervillain called Malice after her affections to T'Challa were rejected. She is much more heroic and nicer here.
- Adaptational Job Change: Her comic counterpart is a member of the Dora Milaje. She's a War Dog here instead, though a nod was made to the source material when she wears the Dora Milaje armor during the Final Battle against Killmonger.
- Age Lift: She's a grown woman in the MCU but was a teenager in the comics, with Everett Ross even calling her "Jailbait" a few times.
- Armor Is Useless: Her vibranium suit is unable to protect her against Killmonger's nanite-vibranium claws, resulting in a leg injury that hampers her performance for the rest of the last battle.
- Bare Your Midriff: The River Tribe costume Nakia wears during T'Challa's ceremonial duel shows off her midriff as well as her shoulders and a good portion of her legs.
- Career Versus Man: It is implied that at least one reason she and T'Challa broke up is because she was too busy doing missions outside of Wakanda to stay in Wakanda as queen. T'Challa revealing Wakanda's true nature and putting her in charge of part of his outreach program means she can have both.
- Celebrity Paradox: In Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, it's established that the Star Wars movies exists. Nyong'o played Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Implied to have this while undercover abroad, such as getting into a past "disagreement" with ivory traders at the illegal Korean casino.
- Combat Pragmatist: Director Ryan Coogler explicitly pointed this out in a featurette about the casino fight sequence: Okoye is a staunch traditionalist, so she fights with a Wakandan spear (made from incredibly strong and sharp wonder-metal Vibranium), and looks down on using guns. In contrast, Nakia is a spy who was sent out into the world to keep tabs on things, and left to fend for herself in deep cover; she therefore had to learn to adapt to her situation, improvising weapons from anything in her surroundings. Case in point, during the casino fight, she takes off one of her high heels to stab one of Klaue's guards in the throat. Then, while he's stunned from this, she rips the pistol out of his hands and starts firing at other guards.
- Combat Stilettos: She removes her high heels during the casino fight to smack an attacker in the face.
- Composite Character: Her background as T'Challa's ex-lover who acts as a Wakandan operative in foreign countries comes from Malaika, an obscure character from Peter B. Gillis' 1988 Black Panther mini-series.
- Cunning Linguist: Nakia is fluent in several languages, including Korean, which she uses to facilitate her entry into an illegal casino in Busan.
- Damsel in Distress: Subverted. Nakia is introduced sitting inside a truck full of kidnapped women, but when Black Panther intervenes to "save" her, Nakia just grabs a gun, kills several slavers, and chews out T'Challa for ruining her infiltration (as she hadn't learned yet that her king was dead).
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Her hair is dyed red, it is a downplayed trope. Apparently, she likes it.
- Establishing Character Moment: She aids T'Challa in rescuing several captive women from brutal guerrillas only to stop him from killing one of their younger members, because he was kidnapped by them and forced into their service. She even asks the rescues to help escort the boy back to his village on their way back to theirs.
- Everyone Has Standards: She's something of a radical, but finds the idea of wearing Dora Milaje armor for the final battle (there weren't any other sets) disrespectful since she's not even from their tribe, let alone sect.
- Foil: Nakia and Okoye are two Action Girls who tag along T'Challa, counseling him on the best course of action in their own way but are pretty much two opposite sides of an argument. While Okoye is the bodyguard of the royal family, is very traditionalist and wary of every foreigner, arguing that the ruler of Wakanda must look for his people first and foremost, Nakia is a foreign agent who wants to change Wakanda's isolationist policies and open it to the world to help oppressed black people around the world. It also shows when Killmonger apparently defeats T'Challa and is crowned king, Okoye reluctantly adopts a My Country, Right or Wrong state of mind and reluctantly bodyguards the king, while Nakia immediately takes action to break the law and help dethrone Killmonger.
- Their differences is also shown in their fighting styles. Nakia uses modern fighting techniques like wristlocks, and will use any weapon she can reach, from her own heels to guns, and even uses an unorthodox weapon like the ring blades. Okoye, the traditionalist, only uses her vibranium spear in battle and no other weapons.
- Nakia will gladly speak any foreign language if it gets her closer to her mission, while Okoye expresses distaste for using English in front of a 'colonizer' like Everett Ross.
- Nice Girl: Is an unwavering pillar of support to T'Challa and the Royal Family and pushes T'Challa to change Wakanda's isolationist policies and open it up to refugees and share their technology for the benefit of the rest of the world.
- Noodle Incident: She, T'Challa, and Okoye have a little trouble getting into the underground Korean casino at first due to Nakia causing some past trouble with ivory dealers.
- Orphaned Etymology: Of a sort. Wakanda prides itself on being independent from the rest of the world, including culturally. This is most explicit in their continued practice of their traditional polytheistic religion. However, Nakia is an Arabic name, common in Africa because of Islamic influence.
- Promoted to Love Interest: This version was T'Challa's former lover, while the comics Nakia had feelings for T'Challa that he never reciprocated. By the end of the movie, they're all but outright stated to resume their relationship, as T'Challa now agrees that Wakanda's isolationism can't continue.
- Put on a Bus: Despite Wakanda's involvement, she's conspicuously absent from the events of Infinity War and Endgame.
- Rings of Death: She wields a pair of ring blades as her primary weapons, even if they are mostly used during the climax.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She has a claim to the Wakandan throne, both as a high-ranking member of her own tribe and by possibly becoming T'Challa's Queen, but would prefer to venture out into the world to help the needy.
- She's Got Legs: As evidenced by her dress during the Busan mission, as it has double leg splits.
- Vigilante Man: Uses her role and resources as a Wakandan spy to right wrongs in the outside world rather than act chiefly (and passively) in her country's interests.
River Tribe Elder
Portrayed By: Isaac de Bankolé
Appearances: Black Panther
A member of the Wakandan Tribal Council and the leader of the River Tribe.
- Body Horror: He has a traditional lip plate, which can come across as this.
- No Name Given: His name is never specified, the character is only credited as "River Tribe Elder".
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Depending on the scene, he alternates between more traditional outfits and sharp, colourful suits.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He is the one who asks Killmonger his name, setting off the third act of the film as Killmonger uses this moment to challenge T'Challa to the throne and be Black Panther.
Appearances: Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War
Wakanda's first line of defence, the tribe that guards the nation's outer borders, and maintains their disguise as a Third-World country.
- Barrier Warrior: Besides literally maintaining Wakanda's barrier, their blue vibranium cloaks can project powerful energy shields. They can also use them to trap enemies by surrounding and encircling them with troops, as they do to the Dora Milaje during the final battle.
- Black Shirt: Their brown tunics take on a darker meaning once they fully back Killmonger's plan to have Wakanda subjugate the rest of the world.
- Blue Is Heroic: They are associated with the color blue and are tasked with safeguarding Wakanda's entrance on top of their leader being T'Challa's best friend. Subverted when they willingly serve Killmonger as his mooks, unlike the Dora Milaje (who are loyal to whoever is king, but clearly dislike Killmonger and turn on him at the first opportunity).
- Easily Forgiven: They all betray T'Challa and the royal family during the film's third act, but are allowed to fight alongside him against Thanos' forces in Avengers: Infinity War which is set a few years later. Downplayed in that Okoye says there's only a handful of them left.
- Reality Ensues: After technically committing treason in Black Panther, they are essentially dissolved so that only a handful show up in Infinity War.
- Rhino Rampage: They train armoured war rhinos as their heavy muscle in combat. W'Kabi summons a group of them to attack T'Challa's forces during the final battle. These are white rhinos, the more social and tameable of the living rhino species.
- Sinister Scimitar: A lot of them wield shotels, to the point that it is probably their standard-issue weapon.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Many of them are killed during the last battle of the first film due to following W'Kabi and Killmonger's schemes.
Portrayed By: Daniel Kaluuya
Voiced By: Emmanuel Bernal (Latin-American Spanish dub), Fernando Cabrera (European Spanish dub), Kazuya Nakai (Japanese dub), Rody Benghezala (French dub), Eric Paulhus (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther
T'Challa's second-in-command. Leader of the Border Tribe.
- Adaptational Villainy: His comic counterpart never pulls a FaceHeel Turn.
- Ancient Order of Protectors: Head of the Border Tribe, and responsible for maintaining Wakanda's disguise as a third-world country. Unbeknownst to even his wife, however, he's grown very tired of the deception.
- Beta Couple: In a loving, affectionate relationship with Okoye, in contrast to the obvious but complicated tensions between T'Challa and Nakia. Yet when he and Okoye face off in the final battle, Okoye shows no hesitation about putting her duty to T'Challa and Wakanda above her love for him.
- Broken Pedestal: Originally T'Challa's closest and best friend, W'Kabi begins to lose faith in him as king after he breaks his promise and fails to apprehend Klaue, who murdered his parents, to save Ross, an outsider.
- Didn't Think This Through: His decision to side with Killmonger in the climax of Black Panther. While he did think through agreeing with Erik's plan, he argues seriously with Okoye about it in a deleted scene and ignores her perspective. His wife Okoye leads the Dora Milaje to protect T'Challa from the Border Tribe, and proves she is willing to kill him or die to protect Wakanda. When T'Challa is restored, it's implied that W'Kabi at best is demoted and at worst exiled, and his tribe is dissolved by the time of Infinity War.
- The Dragon: After Erik ascends to the throne, he serves him in his plans to wage war on the entire world. This ironically makes him the opposite to his wife Okoye's The Lancer for T'Challa.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Okoye manages to talk him down when she stops him from running down M'Baku on his rhino. W'Kabi may fight against T'Challa and support and illegitimate ruler, but he will not kill his wife, even if she no longer loves him. Hes also pretty appalled when Erik revealed that T'Chaka had murdered N'Jobu, looking at Erik with great surprise.
- FaceHeel Turn: After T'Challa fails to capture or kill Klaue in South Korea, W'Kabi joins Killmonger when he delivers him Klaue's corpse. That being said, he still arrests the latter and waits until T'Challa and Killmonger face each other in tribal combat before he starts taking orders, presenting it more in a My Country, Right or Wrong fashion. But when T'Challa reveals himself to be alive and thus technically the throne is still up for grabs, W'Kabi opts to fight against T'Challa instead of for him.
- Foil: To M'Baku. They started off on opposite sides, with M'Baku against T'Challa and W'Kabi being one of his closest allies, only for them to swap roles by the third act of the film. This is further symbolized with M'Baku ending up replacing him in the Court. Also, while M'Baku has a physical appearance of a Scary Black Man, deep down he is a Reasonable Authority Figure, while W'Kabi is considered one in terms of motivation and irrational thinking of waging war and vengeance against Klaue.
- Happily Married: According to Ryan Coogler, W'Kabi and Okoye were a married couple and appeared to be happy together up until the civil war between T'Challa and Killmonger tore them apart.
- Heel Realization: Seeing how his wife was willing to oppose him to save Wakanda and his countrymen are fighting each other to the death for their loyalty to Killmonger, guilt overcomes him and prompts him to surrender and have the rest of the Border Tribe to stand down.
- Horse of a Different Color: He rides an armored war rhino against T'Challa's forces during the final battle at the vibranium mine.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After realizing that Okoye was ready to fight him to the death — and likely from seeing his own people already doing so — W'kabi throws in the towel.
- Jumped Off The Slippery Slope: Disappointment in his leader over a broken promise is one thing, but W'Kabi to his credit arrests Erik when the latter arrives with Klaue's body, and brings him to the Royal Council to interrogate him about how he found Wakanda. He and Okoye actually agree that even if they don't like the person behind the crown, they have to serve them. Then T'Challa reveals he is alive and demands that Erik resume the challenge one-on-one. W'Kabi sets his tribe and rhinos on T'Challa when Erik orders them.
- Love Cannot Overcome: His decision to side by Killmonger, and willingness to fight for him, leads to his ruined marriage. Okoye bluntly tells him that she will die or kill him to save Wakanda.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He sides with Erik due to him having claimed the throne and leads his tribe against the Dora Milaje who sided with T'Challa. May count as a subversion though: as Okoye points out, Erik's rule is illegitimate since he never completed the challenge and refused to resume it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After Okoye makes it plain she is prepared to kill him to defend Wakanda, W'Kabi looks across the battlefield with an expression of genuine remorse and regret at his fellow countrymen fighting to the death and his role in making it happen.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He despises immigrants and refugees, believing that they only "bring their troubles with them" and that their presence in Wakanda would only ruin the country. He joins Killmonger's scheme partly because W'Kabi supports his idea of bringing war to other nations.
- Poor Communication Kills: Subverted; it seems at first that W'Kabi blames T'Challa for not bringing in Klaue alive or dead, and T'Challa fails to explain that they had caught Klaue but were ambused. A deleted scene reveals that Okoye told W'Kabi what happened, and W'Kabi refuses to absolve T'Challa of his broken promise.
- Revenge Myopia: He yearns for vengeance against Klaue so much that he turns against T'Challa for his failure to arrest him to face justice and sides with Killmonger for succeeding in what the former failed to do, not even caring if the latter is responsible for the former losing Klaue.
- Scary Black Man: Given he is willing to wage war to make Wakanda a nation superpower, wanting Revenge Before Reason against Klaue for his family's deaths to a point of Revenge Myopia of looking down at T'Challa for letting him escape and looking up towards Killmonger for achieving that the former could not and teamed up with the equally intimidating Killmonger to Take Over the World, he would technically qualify in terms of motivation.
- Selective Obliviousness: As shown in a deleted scene, a good part of the reason why he supports Killmonger instead of T'Challa is because he considers T'Challa unfit to rule after he failed to keep his promise of bringing Klaue back to Wakanda. This ignores the fact that T'Challa went with a team, which means Okoye and Nakia are just as responsible. Okoye points out the only reason he failed was because Killmonger ambushed them and took Klaue himself, but W'Kabi's hatred of Klaue and relief at his death clouds his reasoning.
- Shipper on Deck: To T'Challa and Nakia. Between Civil War and M'Baku's challenge at the coronation it's been a very busy week for Wakanda, but the first topic on W'Kabi's mind when he's alone in conversation with his best friend is to ask if he and Nakia are going to get back together.
- Shadow Archetype: In many ways he's what like T'Challa was in Civil War; Proud, hot-headed, and consumed with getting vengeance for his father's death. The key difference is that T'Challa realized how destructive that path was, while W'Kabi doesn't. In fact, he sees his friend's newfound maturity as weakness.
- Villain Has a Point: No one contradicts his statement that Wakanda can no longer survive just by isolating itself from the rest of the world. Pity that he's clearly justifying his decision to support Killmonger's plans.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Early in the movie, W'Kabi expresses his wishes to go out of Wakanda and wage war against all who commit injustices, likening it to cleaning up the world; it foreshadows his FaceHeel Turn.
- We Used to Be Friends: His friendship with T'Challa is inevitably broken over the course of the film. Best shown in the finale, where T'Challa reveals himself to be alive and thus technically Erik didn't fulfill the challenge to the throne; the Dora Milaje immediately side with T'Challa, while he immediately sends his men to attack the king. When T'Challa asks him to stop, he just keeps going. The end result is him being expelled from the council with M'Baku taking his seat.
- White Man's Burden: He's African, but the spirit of the trope applies. He seems to genuinely believe that Wakanda colonizing the rest of the world would be for their own good in the end.
- You Killed My Father: The reason he's so adamant for justice against Klaue is that his parents were killed when Klaue attacked Wakanda.
Jabari TribeAn isolated tribe even by Wakandan standards — unwilling to bow to the Black Panther's rule, they have shunned the use of vibranium and secluded themselves away in the frigid mountains of Wakanda, where they worship a monkey god, Hanuman.
Portrayed By: Winston Duke
Voiced By: Mauricio Pérez (Latin-American Spanish dub), Óscar Castellanos (European Spanish dub), Subaru Kimura (Japanese dub), Asto Montcho (French dub), Thiéry Dubé (Canadian French dub)
Appearances: Black Panther | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame
The leader of Wakanda's Jabari Tribe and a staunch opponent of King T'Challa.
- Action Dad: He mentions his children while intimidating Ross, and M'Baku himself is a warrior nearly on par with T'Challa.
- Adaptational Heroism: He's a supervillain called Man-Ape in the comics, and an Evil Luddite. Here, he's simply a grumpy traditionalist who ultimately sides with T'Challa. He's also an Evil Poacher in the source material, while in the film he's a vegetarian. By the time of Infinity War, he's basically a full-fledged hero, even calling T'Challa "brother" and fighting with the rest to save the world.
- Adaptational Job Change: He ultimately becomes part of the Wakandan high council, something his comic counterpart never will be under normal circumstances.
- Adaptational Wimp: His comic counterpart was mystically-empowered similar to T'Challa and can fight the latter on even terms. This version gets beaten by T'Challa even after T'Challa loses his superpowers. He is also said to be Wakanda's most skilled warrior (after Black Panther) in the comics, while Okoye has that title here (though he still does have borderline superhuman strength that every other character in the film lacks besides T'Challa and Erik).
- Anti-Hero: Ultimately, M'Baku wants what's best for Wakanda. Which means that he's strictly isolationist because he fears the outside world and becoming overdependent on vibranium. And he will not commit to overthrowing a king just because he's asked but may change his mind later.
- Animal Motifs: Gorillas. His tribe howls like apes when on the warpath while M'Baku wears pelts and an ape mask in combat. The pelt on his back is, specifically, silvery grey, invoking a silverback gorilla. Nakia calls him "Great Gorilla M'Baku" and there is a statue of a gorilla in Jabari lands akin to the panther statue in Wakanda's capitol. Also like gorillas, he's normally a peaceable man who only gets aggressive and vicious when he feels provoked. And he's a vegetarian, as are gorillas.
- Badass Normal: Has no powers, just a lot of raw strength and power. He even takes down multiple Outriders in the Battle of Wakanda, and later, the Battle of Earth.
- Barbarian Tribe: He and his people are initially set up to be the villainous kind, then turn out to be more or less neutral and ultimately heroic. Compared to every other tribe, they continue wearing warpaint and Pelts of the Barbarian, spurn the use of Vibranium and make tribal chants similar to gorilla barking at times. All of this is done to peg them as traditionalists.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the climax of Black Panther, M'Baku arrives with troops to help T'Challa in his hour of need.
- The Big Guy: Has become one for T'Challa at the end of Black Panther film and Avengers: Infinity War, due to his imposing size and leading a battalion of his tribesmen to defend Wakanda.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's a living tank with a surprisingly playful personality.
- The Berserker: M'Baku is one of Wakanda's greatest warriors and uses his brute and raw strength and charges through the enemy like an unstoppable force. Complete with his terrifying scream.
- Blood Knight: As T'Challa states in Infinity War that M'Baku loves a good fight.
- Best seen in Endgame's climax. M'baku is right at the center of the vanguard alongside the resurrected Avengers, charging towards Thanos's forces and screaming like a lunatic the whole way.
- Carry a Big Stick: He relies on his brute strength and a simple, elongated cudgel to fight. The cudgel seems to be a two-handed knobkierie, a real-life weapon used in East and Southern Africa. Moreover, the wood it was cut from has particles of vibranium in it, making it actually as hard as steel weapons.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: Initially tells T'Challa that the Jabari will not be taking part in the war. Turns up anyway.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: His strength is at the absolute peak of human potential and at times is clearly superhuman, despite his lack of mystic powers like the Black Panthers. He's strong enough to Neck Lift a grown man and easily toss him several feet away with a single hand, as well as send another man flying eight feet vertically with a strike from his club.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: As his Killer Gorilla outfit has been downplayed to a simple ceremonial mask, it makes no sense to keep the code name. He is, however, respectfully referred to as "the Great Gorilla" on occasion. Word of God is that a black character with the codename "Man-Ape" would be too racially insensitive for modern audiences; despite this, there are still plenty of Mythology Gags to keep hardcore comic book fans happy (such as the aforementioned Gorilla mask and moniker, as well as his devotion to the Gorilla God of Wakandan lore). Another part of the reason he isn't called "Man-Ape" in the film is the fact that he receives a healthy dose of Adaptational Heroism, making such a supervillain-y name moot.
- Cool Mask: He wears a ceremonial ape mask during his fight with T'Challa, a visual nod to his comic book appearance.
- The Cavalry: He and his tribe arrived to reinforce T'Challa's forces.
- Deep Cover Agent: It is implied that he has these among T'Challa's people. His tribe lives in the mountains, removed from the capital, but he's very well-informed on current events. "We have WATCHED and LISTENED from the mountains!" He knows T'Challa's father died and what the circumstances were, he pointedly calls Shuri a child who may have been entrusted with too much power and responsibility for someone her age and also correctly observes that she has little respect for tradition. This knowledge is despite the fact that Shuri does not know him or his people and has to be told by her mother who it is when his tribe arrives. He thinks Wakanda has grown too dependent on Vibranium, but would not have this opinion unless he was being kept informed of (and had the education and training to understand) the scientific advances occurring in Wakanda. He's also not at all surprised when T'Challa's family and friends show up after his defeat. He saves T'Challa's life out of respect and gratitude, but also in knowledge that the balance of power has shifted in Wakanda.
- Defeat Means Friendship:
- 'Friendship' is perhaps too strong a word, but he comes to respect T'Challa as a capable leader after M'Baku is defeated by him in hand-to-hand combat.
- By the time of Infinity War, they are true friends. When T'Challa thanks him for showing up to help fight Thanos' forces, M'Baku tells him, "Of course, brother."
- Enemy Mine: Despite being initially opposed to T'Challa and Shuri for what he sees as a lack of respect for the power of Vibranium and an inability to properly protect their people, he still teams up with them to overthrow Erik, whose desire to force Wakanda into a war with the rest of the world is even more at odds with M'Baku's own political views.
- Evil Is Bigger: Compared to T'Challa and Erik, he is positively hulking, but subverted when he proves to be a gruff anti-hero and Erik is far more evil than he is.
- Evil Vegetarian: Downplayed, as he's just antagonistic. While his tribe does eat meat, he and his family are vegetarians.
- A Father to His Men: When he fights T'Challa, he fully intends to either win or die. T'Challa wins by convincing M'Baku to yield instead by pointing out that his people still need him. M'Baku looks to his warriors, assembled in support of him, and immediately backs down for their sake. Later, he tells T'Challa that he feels he owed a debt to T'Challa for making him realize what was important.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With T'Challa by Infinity War, answering T'Challa's summons for aid against Thanos' forces without hesitation and refers to him as "brother" with genuine camaraderie.
- Friendly Enemy: With T'Challa — he makes it quite clear he has a problem with his political policies and holds no ill-will to the king himself once in private.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: When he and his tribesmen first appear during T'Challa's coronation ceremony, Zuri treats him like an uninvited guest and no-one else seems too happy to see him either. M'Baku establishes that this contempt is a two-way street by casting aspersions on the other tribes for relying heavily on Vibranium, entrusting their technological advancements to someone who, in his mind, is Just a Kid and being ready to bow to a man he sees as a Sucksessor. The ending implies this will be changing.
- Gentle Giant: He's huge and tough but, trolling aside, he's a pretty good guy.
- HeelFace Turn: At the film's beginning, he is the only tribal leader to challenge T'Challa's claim to the throne during his coronation, being against his family's philosophies and their use of vibranium. However, after he is defeated and spared by T'Challa during his challenge, he begins to respect him as a leader and repays him by secretly rescuing him after his defeat and near-death by Killmonger. While he declines T'Challa's initial request to join his coup, he eventually returns with a Jabari army in the nick of time to turn the tide of the final battle in T'Challa's favour. By the end of the film, he is firmly on T'Challa's side, sitting by him on the Tribal Council in W'Kabi's place.
- Hero Antagonist: He's not a bad person, just rude and understandably afraid of how the outside world could affect his people.
- Heroic BSoD: He suffers from this at the end of Infinity War upon witnessing his tribesmen disappearing before his eyes.
- Hidden Depths: Surprisingly honorable and reasonable in his interaction with T'Challa after his duel with Erik. Also not above exploiting his brutish image by making gorilla noises and threatening to feed people to his children to Troll the heck out of Agent Ross.M'Baku: I'm kidding. We are vegetarians. [giggles and snorts]
- Honor Before Reason: Arguably. He doesn't believe T'Challa should be king and doesn't agree with his growing desire to open up Wakanda's borders among other reasons (his sister's disregard for tradition and T'Challa's inability to protect his own father for example). He genuinely believes it's best for their people to keep themselves closed off. Despite this, he not only saves T'Challa's life, but also reveals to the royal family that the king is still alive after they offer him a legitimate chance to win the throne. The trope gets subverted when he later decides to fully back up T'Challa because he rather they open up their borders than start a war with the entire world. That or he rather back up the evil he knows opposed to the one he doesn't (his motives are never stated for sure but Fire-Forged Friends seems to be in play).
- Hot-Blooded: M'Baku is enthusiastic and a loud leader who often raises his voice in the heat of passion. Also in the final battle where he gives out a Large Ham when saving the Okoye, Nakia, and Shuri saying that they all shall witness the might of the Jabari.
- Hypocrite: His entire tribe's dislike of vibranium can be seen as this when its revealed that their wood is actually just a different, non-metal version of vibranium according to Word of God. However, its possible that they dont know about this yet, so it may be Justified.
- M'Baku scoffs at Shuri and T'Challa being too young/inexperienced to lead, even though he's definitely the youngest tribal leader in Wakanda and is visibly younger than T'Challa.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: Inverted. Despite T'Challa technically getting dethroned and losing support of his army, M'Baku ultimately still sides with him because, as T'Challa points out, M'Baku and his tribe will be the next target of Killmonger's sights.
- Incoming Ham: The first thing we hear from him is a loud chant from offscreen announcing his arrival to challenge T'Challa. He never relents unleashing the hamminess after that.
- I Shall Taunt You: He callously brings up T'Challa's failure to save his father's life in an attempt to bait him into attacking him. It works.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Oddly enough, he ends up proven correct on his fears of outsiders misusing Wakanda technology and that the four tribes rely too heavily on vibranium. Killmonger once ascending the throne wants to use all the weapons, including Shuri's technology, to wage war and tear apart the world, even tearing apart Wakanda in the end. Also, what saves T'Challa from death is natural snow and the Heart Herb, rather than Shuri's technology.
- When Shuri, Nakia and Ramonda say that T'Challa was murdered by Killmonger, M'Baku is the one to point out it was through ritual combat that both parties accepted and thus a valid defeat and less murder.
- Part of why M'Baku refuses initially to help T'Challa is that T'Challa is the first Wakandan king to come to the Jabari in centuries, and that was basically an accident rather than a conscious decision. Thankfully, he changed his mind and gave aid, and eventually takes a seat on the Ruling Council.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Saving T'Challa's life and aiding him in the final battle would make him the epitome of this. Also, he could have chosen to take the Black Panther powers for himself, but he did not.
- Just a Kid: Makes no secret of seeing Shuri as a child and holding the rest of Wakanda in contempt for effectively letting her run their entire infrastructure and technological base.
- Karmic Jackpot: A mutual one with T'Challa. After T'Challa spares him during their duel, M'Baku keeps him alive through near-death as a repayment for his kindness. Later, M'Baku pulls a Big Damn Heroes to help T'Challa in his hour of need and is rewarded by having his tribe gain the respect of the others and becoming one of the king's advisers.
- Killer Gorilla: He and his tribe use Animal Motifs invoking this trope, having an ape-like war chant and presenting themselves as brutish warriors. He also threatens to eat Ross although he's only joking.
- Large and in Charge: He's an important Wakandan political leader, and built like a human wall.
- Large Ham: Has very few scenes where he's not giving grandiose proclamations in the most theatrical way possible, but especially so when his army comes to T'Challa's aid in the final battle and M'Baku himself tosses a Border Tribe tribesman like a ragdoll.M'Baku: WITNESS THE MIGHT OF THE JABARI FIRST-HAND!
- Laughing at Your Own Jokes: After his "vegetarians" joke, he has a rather disarming fit of the giggles (while his two bodyguards remain as impassive as ever).
- The Leader: He's the leader of the Jabari Tribe, one of the major ethnic groups within Wakanda.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's incredibly tough, strong enough to send armored warriors flying with a single blow, and much faster and quieter than somebody of his size and bulk has any business being. Unfortunately for him, he still loses out on raw fighting skill compared to T'Challa, which costs him the challenge fight.
- Mask of Power: Symbolically; he only starts losing against T'Challa during their fight after his mask is knocked off.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Ryan Coogler has previously hinted that M'baku's home may have some mystical stuff going on there, rather than the typical vibranium infusions happening throughout the rest of Wakanda. While mountain peaks will always be colder than surrounding regions, the snows at the Jabbari tribe's home shouldn't form at those elevations; it's unnaturally cold up there. The big sticks Jabbari tribesmen wield in battle are also hinted to be magically augmented in some way, rather than vibranium. Certainly could explain why he does so damn well against physically and technologically superior alien invaders.
- Moment Killer: Takes it upon himself to end T'Challa's family and friends' sugary "we're standing with you" moment, loudly yawning to remind them that he's right there and sarcastically asking if they're done.
- Mythology Gag: His outfit still recalls his gorilla outfit from the comics, just in a less overt manner (with a leather chest plate and silvery pelts on his arm and back).
- Nice Guy: By Infinity War, Hes become one of T'Challa's most loyal allies, referring to his king as "brother".
- Not So Above It All: Isnt above using the Jabari's dark, mysterious status to Troll the heck out of people.
- Oh, Crap!:
M'Baku: This will be the end of Wakanda.
- His face when W'Kabi is about to charge him on a rhino. Luckily Okoye steps in-between them and the rhino likes her.
- He also has this reaction in Infinity War, when T'Challa gives the order to lift the barrier and draw the Outriders into attacking the Wakandan armies.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: He survives the final battle in Infinity War, though most of the action is focused on the Avengers.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
- He's not afraid to die, and is willing to charge into a fight if and when duty calls. When the Children of Thanos invade Wakanda in Infinity War, and T'Challa lifts a portion of the protective barrier to draw the fight away from Vision and Shuri, M'Baku expresses with genuine fear that the invasion will be "the end of Wakanda".
- Also in Infinity War, he looks utterly shellshocked and despondent after surviving the battle and Thanos' deadly fingersnap.
- Patriotic Fervor: He cares deeply about the well-being of Wakanda. He is so much a patriot to his country that at first in Black Panther, he worried about the country's over-reliance on vibranium that he initially challenged T'Challa before accepting defeat. Then in Infinity War, he expressed fear over the end of Wakanda at the hands of Thanos' forces. Nonetheless, he loves his country so much he would protect it from any threats.
- Punctuated Pounding: In his duel with T'Challa, M'Baku continues his "The Reason You Suck" Speech while bear hugging and headbutting him repeatedly.
- Rage Helm: When he challenges T'Challa during his coronation, he wears a very unsettling-looking war mask that resembles a monstrous, roaring gorilla. Coupled with his and his tribe's emergence from the shadows during a bright, colourful ceremony, it makes him look a lot more evil than he actually is.
- Real Men Eat Meat: Averted. He's a towering 6"5 mountain of muscle and an experienced warrior who is also a vegetarian.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He ends up proving to be one. When he challenges T'Challa, he's only following tradition and expressing worry that the young man isn't ready to be king. When T'Challa gets the upper hand, M'Baku surrenders for his people's sake and accepts the new king. Then he saves T'Challa to repay the life debt, offers Sacred Hospitality to his family and Ross, and comes into the final battle to stop Killmonger. In Infinity War, he comes without hesitation to help T'Challa defend Wakanda.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Wakanda and its Royal Family in his introduction, specifically Shuri and T'Challa:M'Baku: We have watched and listened from the mountains! [walks over to Shuri] We have watched with disgust as your technological advancements have been overseen by a child! Who scoffs at tradition! [walks over to T'Challa] And now you want to hand the nation over to this prince! Who could not keep his own father safe. Hmm? We will not have it. I SAID WE. WILL. NOT HAVE IT! I, MBaku, leader of the Jabari will-!
T'Challa: I accept your challenge, M'Baku.
Ramonda: [shouting to T'Challa] Show him who you are!
- He delivers a second during their fight to a seemingly overwhelmed T'Challa. Unfortunately for him, it only succeeds in goading T'Challa to fight on.
- Reimagining the Artifact: The filmmakers found a way to work him into the story while jettisoning or downplaying the more offensive aspects of the character.
- Sacred Hospitality: He promises T'Challa to keep the Queen safe, and doesn't harm any of the visitors when they come seeking aid. Though he does troll Ross by threatening to eat him. Taken Up to Eleven when he saves T'Challa and puts him in snow to keep him alive.
- Scary Black Man: His attitude, size, armor and weaponry make him look like one. Subverted when we learn he saved T'Challa from the river.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: At the end of Infinity War, he looks utterly despondent after half of the Wakandans turn to dust on the battlefield, and he survived.
- Starter Villain: The first major villain T'Challa faces in combat. M'Baku's defeat demonstrates not only T'Challa's still outside of the suit, but also his mercy and empathy for what M'Baku can still do for the Jabari. Plus, T'Challa's victory clears his way to being truly named king in the ceremony.
- Status Quo Is God: Invoked, as he feels that T'Chaka and T'Challa bringing Wakanda into the international stage was a mistake, and wants to return to its traditional isolationism.
- Stealth Expert: He and his tribe are very good at sneaking up on people. For as loud as they are in appearance and voice, they only make themselves seen and heard when they want to.
- Stealth Insult: When his challenge to T'Challa is accepted, he smugly praises Hanuman to those assembled and pointedly ignores doing the same to Bast, the patron goddess of the rest of Wakanda.
- Stout Strength: He's big and very strong but his physique has noticeably more body fat than the more defined six pack look T'Challa has. Winston Duke claims this was intentional as they figured M'Baku wouldn't be concerned with looking especially shredded and his strength would come more from physical labor than a traditional workout.
- Survivor's Guilt: Implied when he looks at the aftermath of the battlefield in Infinity War. He still stands, but his army has lost numbers fighting the Children of Thanos and then experiencing the fingersnap.
- Took a Level in Idealism: It's understandable that M'Baku and all of his tribe despises Vibranium considering the mineral can be used to advance Wakanda's civilization or fall into the wrong hands of selfish peoples like Killmonger which he took the latter reason more serious but with T'Challa's influence, he finally embraces the former reason knowing that reuniting all five tribes is the key to their country's prosperity.
- Troll: He's very fond of this.
- He threatens to eat Ross for speaking out of turn, and then tells everyone he and his tribe are vegetarians (or, more accurately, pescatarians).
- When Ramonda tearfully tells M'Baku that T'Challa was murdered in ritual combat, only for M'Baku to dryly note that since the odds were fair it was technically a defeat. It's bordering on a Kick the Dog moment but he knew T'Challa was alive by this point so he probably felt more comfortable saying it.
- Use Your Head: Love to use this, especially when wearing his mask.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Refuses to commit his forces to help T'Challa take back the throne from Killmonger, seeing it as not the concern of the Jabari. Luckily, he has a change of heart and brings his army at the nick of time in the final battle.
- What You Are in the Dark: His men save a comatose T'Challa and put him in snow to keep him alive. When T'Challa's family come to him seeking aid, he shows them where T'Challa is and allow them to feed him the ceremonial herb to save his life. Then he comes during the final battle to save the king, even after promising he wouldn't. Keep in mind that they first offered him the herb and the chance to become king, just like he wanted in the beginning. He could have hidden T'Challa's presence with no issues.
- Worthy Opponent: M'Baku opens his challenge by insulting Shuri and T'Challa, but T'Challa nonetheless compliments him for fighting with honor.T'Challa: Yield! Don't make me kill you!M'Baku: I would rather die!T'Challa: You have fought with honour! Now yield! Your people need you!
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: His greatest fear isn't for his life, or for his people's safety, but rather for Wakanda. He is terrified of Wakanda ever falling to outside or inside forces. He faces this fear in Infinity War, when the Children of Thanos invade Wakanda to take Vision's Infinity Stone, and it's the only time we've seen him actually scared of battle.