Excited for Black Panther? So are we. Which is why we’re rolling out obsessive coverage with Black Panther Week.
Spoiler alert: This post contains major spoilers for Black Panther.
It’s a real tragedy that Black Panther had to end – the film’s so good, we wanted to keep it going forever. But at least it went out with a couple of parting shots.
We’re talking, of course, about the two end-credits scenes. One, which comes midway through, puts a final button on a storyline that’s been simmering throughout the movie, and lays the groundwork for things to come; the other may be hinting at big things for a certain character.
1. T’Challa visits the United Nations
What happens: T’Challa heads to the United Nations in Vienna, along with Nakia, Okoye, and Ayo, to give a speech. In it, he proclaims that Wakanda has spent far too long watching from the shadows, keeping their knowledge and their resources from the outside world.
But the times are dire, and the citizens of the world need to look out for one other. “Fools build barriers. The wise build bridges,” he declares.
Which is nice … but also kind of confusing, when you realize the rest of the world still sees Wakanda as an impoverished and insignificant nation. A UN delegate from another country pipes up, “With all due respect, what can your farmers have to offer the rest of the world?”
T’Challa smiles ever so slightly, and we cut to black.
What it means: In Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa’s actions exposed Wakanda to the rest of the world; in Black Panther, he wrestled with the question of whether Wakanda should go back into hiding or continue reaching out.
This scene represents his final decision: He’s opening up his famously secretive country.
This could have massive implications for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward – and not just within the Black Panther movies. This means everyone else will have better access to Wakanda’s vibranium stores, and their technological know-how.
While we don’t know exactly what comes of Wakanda’s new role in world affairs, we do know they won’t be going back into seclusion anytime soon. As the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War have shown, the country is very much involved in the fight against Thanos.
2. Bucky emerges in Wakanda
What happens: Three small children are peering into the camera at us and giggling. Eventually, we realize they’re in a Wakandan hut, and that they’re staring at something – or rather someone.
Shuri arrives and playfully chases the kids out of the room, scolding for teasing the man they call the “white wolf.” Turns out they’re referring to Bucky Barnes, who emerges from the hut in what looks like Wakandan garb.
She asks how he’s feeling and he answers that he’s well. With that, she invites him to follow her, saying that there’s “much for you to learn.”
What it means: First and foremost, this confirms Bucky’s whereabouts at the end of Black Panther, and leading into Avengers: Infinity War. He’s still in Wakanda, where Cap dropped him off at the end of Civil War, but he’s apparently out of deep freeze and adjusting to a more normal life in Wakanda.
The phrase “white wolf” here is interesting. There is, in the comics, a character known as White Wolf. His real name is Hunter, and he’s a white guy who was orphaned at a young age and taken in by the Wakandan royal family. He eventually becomes the head of the Hatut Zeraze, Wakanda’s secret police.
Clearly, Hunter doesn’t line up all that well with Bucky’s bio in the movies. But it could be a hint that Bucky’s about to get a lot closer to the Wakandan royal family, and a lot more involved in Wakandan affairs. Or maybe we’re just reading too much into it. Either way, we’ll see how things shake out in Avengers: Infinity War.