Winston Duke’s star has been on the rise for over half a decade. Duke is best known for his roles in Black Panther and Us and for his thick thighs, which have made him an ongoing source of social media thirst. After garnering attention as M’Baku in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, Duke’s role was beefed up significantly for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, where he served as an advisor to Queen Ramonda and Princess Shuri. The film’s final moments seemed to indicate that M’Baku may have taken on an even more significant role in Wakanda and now the star has confirmed it in an interview with Esquire. Spoilers to follow…
The final moments of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever see Shuri, who became the Queen of Wakanda following the death of her mother, Ramonda, head to Haiti to be with her nephew, Prince T’Challa, and his mother, Nakia. Being in Haiti, she is not able to be present at Warrior Falls when M’Baku “challenges” her for the throne, seemingly allowing M’Baku to become King of Wakanda, though clearly with Shuri’s blessing. Though it seemed pretty clear, fans have questioned the outcome on social media but Duke came by to put those questions down, saying of the moment “Yeah, it’s kind of cool to be revealed asM the King of Wakanda at the end of the movie. That’s huge. So whatever that entails, it’s gonna be a fun one.”
Though M’Baku sits the throne of Wakanda, Shuri remains the Black Panther. The post-credit scene would seem to indicate that she’s determined that her role as Protector of Wakanda is better filled in Haiti where she’s able to look to the safety of Prince T’Challa. Whether Marvel Studios ever intends to follow the story of the Prince’s claim to the throne or if the PCS simply serves to make good on the film’s subtitle and show that the Royal Family of Wakanda will live on for another generation isn’t clear. But having the Thigh King become the King of Wakanda is a brilliant way to show that part of T’Challa’s legacy was reuniting the long-fractured nation of Wakanda.