How does [spoiler] return in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? The cameo explained

M'Baku in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer
(Image credit: Marvel)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever brings back a major Marvel character for a surprise cameo – and it's not in a way you might expect. The movie focuses on a Wakanda in mourning after the death of T'Challa, with a new Black Panther joining the fray and eventually going up against Namor and his kingdom of Talokan. 

We won't get into spoilers here, but it's safe to say this cameo is a gasp-worthy moment. We dive into who it is, how they appear, and what it means below. It goes without saying, but there are major Black Panther: Wakanda Forever spoilers ahead. Turn back now if you haven't seen the movie yet! 

Does Killmonger return in Black Panther 2?

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Still here? Then let's get into spoilers. During the movie, Shuri makes the decision to take up the Black Panther mantle. She synthesizes a new Heart-Shaped Herb using T'Challa's DNA and the plant that turned the Talokanil into water-breathers, and, after taking the Herb, wakes up in the Ancestral Plane. 

It's not her mother Ramonda she sees there, though, but Erik Killmonger, once again played by Michael B. Jordan. Killmonger is actually Shuri's cousin who was killed at the end of Black Panther, which explains why he appears before her in the Ancestral Plane.

Shuri isn't very happy to see Killmonger. He has arrived to talk to his cousin because she's planning on taking revenge against Namor, who killed Ramonda. Killmonger says that Shuri's father T'Chaka would have killed Riri like Namor wanted, pointing out that T'Chaka killed his own brother (AKA Killmonger's father, as seen in Black Panther), whereas T'Challa let his father's murderer live. That particular moment happened in Captain America: Civil War, which saw T'Challa choose to spare Zemo – even going as far as preventing the villain from taking his own life – after Zemo murdered T'Chaka earlier in the movie. Killmonger then asks Shuri if she's going to be noble like her brother T'Challa, or take care of business like he would. When Shuri wakes up, she's upset and says her family abandoned her. 

That isn't the last we see of Killmonger, though. Later in the movie, Shuri and Namor clash on a beach. Namor stabs Shuri and she seems close to death, then has another vision of Killmonger in the Ancestral Plane. She tells her cousin that she's nothing like T'Challa and she will watch Namor die. But, before she can land a killing blow on the Talokanil leader, she sees Ramonda in the Ancestral Plane, who tells her, "Show him who you are." Shuri then allows Namor to live, on the condition that he yields. 

So, while Killmonger does appear, then, he hasn't been resurrected following his death at the end of Black Panther, like some speculated in the run-up to Wakanda Forever's release. It's also unclear if we'll ever see Killmonger again, though it's possible that, if T'Challa's son one day takes up the Black Panther mantle, he might encounter his uncle in the Ancestral Plane. 

For more on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, check out our guides to:

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.