There were a lot of things that we saw during the events of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. But one of the things that we were able to observe was the fact that M’Baku had become a different person whenever he was serious. Of course, at the end of the movie, we saw him taking the place of Princess Shuri in the ceremonial duel at Warrior Falls to get a chance at becoming the new king of Wakanda. So, is M’Baku the new king after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
It is likely that M’Baku is now the new king of Wakanda because no other Wakandan would have been strong enough to challenge him for the throne. In that regard, he was likely given Shuri’s blessing because she saw and understood how wise of a leader he could be whenever compared to the other promising leaders.
Ever since he was introduced, M’Baku was never the most intelligent character and was often a comic relief due to how dumb he could be. But he proved in Wakanda Forever that, despite the fact that he wasn’t as smart as the other characters, he was a wise leader that knew what was best for his people. As such, let’s look at the events that led to M’Baku’s rise as a king.
Why Did M’Baku Replace Shuri?
When Chadwick Boseman passed away, there was a massive hole left in the Black Panther storyline because there was no other man of royal blood that could possibly step up to become the new king. We know that he still had a mother and a sister, but we saw in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that Queen Ramonda was killed and that Shuri had her own story to tell as a character.
Of course, the central character of the movie was Princess Shuri, who was struggling with letting go of T’Challa and with embracing the traditions of the Wakandans and what it meant to be a Wakandan. She also had an internal struggle that allowed us to see how hard it was for her to try to reconcile her desire for revenge with her desire to make sure that she and the Wakandans could move forward to a better future. As such, that was when Killmonger appeared to her in the Ancestral Plane as her inner desire for revenge subconsciously made her summon the only other family member that could understand what she was feeling at that time.
But while we saw how Nakia was willing to help Shuri with her inner struggle, the one man that provided the wisdom that we never thought would come from him was M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe.
When he was introduced in the first Black Panther movie, M’Baku was never the most intelligent man as the Jabari tribe decided to live more primitively up in the mountains of Wakanda. He was also somewhat of an antagonistic person to how Wakanda was becoming more progressive, all while many of the people were letting go of what it meant to embrace Wakandan traditions. However, he was never portrayed as an evil person because he cared so much for his own people that he was willing to help T’Challa and Queen Ramonda back in their fight against Killmonger in the first movie.
Arguably the most physically imposing Wakandan, M’Baku reprised his role as a powerhouse character that provided comic relief and simple solutions to huge problems during the events of the entire movie. He was the one who first proposed to kill Namor so that they could resolve the issues regarding Wakanda and Talokan. However, we also saw how wise he could be.
When M’Baku saw how strong Namor was and how his people looked up to him, that was when he realized that war wasn’t the answer. Even at the funeral for Queen Ramonda, he was the one who counseled Shuri by telling her never to let herself drown in her technology. Of course, M’Baku wanted peace with the Talokan people because he knew that there would be a never-ending series of wars with them if they were to kill Namor, who was more of a god than a king to his people.
In that regard, he may have been a brute and a comic relief, but he was actually pretty wise when it came to knowing what to do at the right time. After all, he was wise enough to provide the help that T’Challa needed back in the events of the first Black Panther movie. And he and T’Challa have been friends with one another to the point that M’Baku said that he promised the former king to provide counsel to Shuri.
So, in that regard, when Wakanda was now in need of a new leader after the death of Queen Ramonda, a battle needed to be fought to determine who had the right to sit on the throne. As progressive as the Wakandans may be, they also embrace tradition. And tradition dictates that there should be a battle held between two people who were willing to sit on the throne of Wakanda.
In that regard, Shuri probably realized that she still needed to grow as a person before she could assume any kind of huge leadership role. After all, the entire movie allowed us to see that she was still an imperfect character that still needed to develop more as a person. And it was the fact that she forced Namor to yield instead of killing him for revenge that ultimately allowed us to see that she understood that she still needed to learn and grow more as a person.
As such, while everyone expected Shuri to try to take the throne, considering that she was the Black Panther, she must have given her blessing to M’Baku because she saw firsthand what kind of a leader he could be. He may not have been as smart as she was, but Shuri realized that M’Baku was a wise leader that knew that it was always better to choose what was best for his people. And that was why M’Baku said that the Black Panther sent her regards the moment he appeared on Warrior Falls.
Is M’Baku The New King Of Wakanda?
The thing about the ceremonial battle is that it involves one person vying for the throne of Wakanda as that person waits for someone to challenge their claim. If there was someone of noble blood that wanted to challenge the one who was trying to claim the throne, that was when a battle would be fought between them. The winner, of course, would have the right to claim the throne, as this was what happened in the fights between T’Challa and M’Baku and T’Challa and Killmonger in the first Black Panther movie.
But if no one wanted to challenge the one who wanted to claim the throne, then the claimant would be crowned the new king of Wakanda. And this was probably what happened to M’Baku when he claimed the right to become the new king of Wakanda at the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
When M’Baku said that he wished to challenge for the throne, everyone else in Warrior Falls smiled as they seemingly approved of the man as their new king. They probably saw just how much he grew and developed in the years that passed since he lost to T’Challa in his first challenge. He has now become a good leader that always makes the most sense in the simplest way possible.
Of course, there probably isn’t another warrior of noble blood strong and prominent enough to challenge M’Baku. As such, it is likely the case that M’Baku’s challenge was left unanswered by anyone else in Wakanda as he is now the new king of the most powerful nation on the surface of the planet.