Shuri "doesn't have to be anyone but herself to be great" in Wakanda #1

Wakanda #1 image
Wakanda #1 image (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Shuri is one of the most popular heroes from Wakanda, the fabled home of the Black Panther. And while Shuri's brother T'Challa is away from his homeland in the current Black Panther title, the supporting characters of Black Panther will take a spotlight in a new comic simply titled Wakanda.

The series will not-so coincidently be on comic book shelves for the release of Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11 which will expand the role of Shuri and other Wakandan figures. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Though each issue will focus on a different character, the five-issue limited series will start with a focus on Shuri - who the issue's writer Stephanie Williams says is the perfect character to kick off a deep dive into the world and characters of Wakanda.

Alongside artist Paco Medina, Williams will dial in on all the qualities that make Shuri a totally different Black Panther from her brother T'Challa, and which make her the exact right character to headline the first issue of the new Wakanda title.

Newsarama: Stephanie, you're kicking off Wakanda with a story featuring Shuri, whose role in Wakanda has evolved in recent years. What makes her the perfect character to start this Wakanda anthology series?

Stephanie Williams: Shuri is such a fun character and has been since her introduction in Black Panther (Vol 4) #2. From the start, she had a strong presence on the page, and you wanted to root for her. When she finally secured the Black Panther mantle for the short time she had, there was never a question of whether she was capable. Of course, she was, just like her brother. She’d be training her entire life for the mantle. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The introduction of Shuri opened things up for the women of Wakanda in a way that hadn't felt as liberating before her existence. Shuri came on the scene, and the Dora Milaje started to break out of their one-dimensional existence. That's impact. 

So, to me, it makes all the sense for Shuri to be the perfect character to start the Wakanda anthology series. As she evolved, so did the world of Wakanda. Now you have this character who still has the fiery spirit and affinity for tech she was introduced with, and it’s all the more pronounced.

Nrama: Where do we find Shuri at the start of the story? What's she up against here?

Williams: We find Shuri in her favorite place to be, her lab. She's burying herself in work she believes needs to be done. Shuri is trying to predict all possible threats to Wakanda and how she can make sure they're able to handle it, but expecting and experiencing are two very different things – even for someone as intelligent as her. As her mother suggests, sometimes relying on instinct and facing a problem just as it presents itself is more than enough. She'll be up against a threat requiring her to act in such a fashion.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Nrama: As you said, Shuri is a Black Panther just like her brother T'Challa. What do you see as the fundamental differences in their approach to the role over the years?

Williams: I do see some differences. Initially, when Shuri held the mantle, she was headstrong and very "f*ck around and find out." Something I will always appreciate in a character who identifies as femme. She isn't one to mince words. My favorite moments of her as Black Panther come from the 'Doom War' story because she is so direct. T'Challa was more methodical in comparison at that time. Shuri isn't so reactive now that she leans into the science of it all, which provides a balance that has served her well.

Nrama: How does T'Challa's absence from Wakanda as he adventures elsewhere inform Shuri's next moves in the Marvel Universe?

Williams: I think for her, it's a void she feels she needs to fill, but in her own way. She is Shuri, which means she will make sure Wakanda is safe by leaning into what she's best at – being quick on her feet as well as in her mind. Shuri is always looking to improve things regardless of how well they are already presumably working.

sam, since you're here, we have an brief interview/preview that Marvel would like out before Monday, that's the final day retailers can adjust their orders... ot's about Black Panther and sister Shuri, but mostly avoids any reference to them being Royals... it mentiond Queen Ramonda once, but I asked George to remove the Queen reference 4:32 it'd be more to Marvel's preference to publish today or early tomorrow 4:32 open to you thoughts

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Nrama: Live-actio0n Shuri's about to take an even bigger role in the MCU with the November release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. How does that increased spotlight inform your approach to the character and the story you're telling here?

Williams: If anything, it made me want to lean into showcasing the relationship between Shuri and her mother, Ramonda. I think exploring how they interact with one another when T'Challa is gone is important. They are the only immediate blood family they have, so I imagine they would lean on one another. My story with Shuri is as much about her as her relationship with her mother.

Nrama: What do you hope readers will take away from Shuri's big moment in Wakanda #1?

Williams: First and foremost, I hope they have fun. I also hope they continue to see Shuri as someone who is just as capable as her brother. She doesn't have to be anyone but herself to be great. I think that is true for any character to come out of Wakanda. The storytelling is richer when characters can stand on their own without their worth being solely based on their proximity to a character who is usually the focal point.

While you're getting acquainted with Shuri in Wakanda #1, read up on the best Black Panther stories of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)