When beloved actor Chadwick Boseman passed away at the end of 2020 Marvel executives made the difficult decision to let the character die alongside him as a way to honour his memory and the brilliant performance he had given as the king of Wakanda. While fans of the film fully understand why this was done and the details of the character’s death weren’t dug into, a couple of fans have started theorizing about what exactly it was that caused T’Challa’s death. And we believe they’ve cracked it. Here is how T’Challa died in Black Panther Wakanda Forever…
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Was the Heart Shaped Herb Keeping Him Alive?
The heart-shaped herb was a gift given to the Wakandans by the Panther goddess Bast, which granted the one who consumed it the powers of the Black Panther, including superhuman strength and agility. During the events of Black Panther, Wakanda is visited by Erik Killmonger, the cousin of T’Challa. After defeating him in ritual combat, Killmonger consumes one of the heart-shaped herbs himself, and then, to ensure that no one would be able to take the power for themselves to fight against him, he had the garden burnt.
Reddit user BigDongo37 theorized that the person carrying the mantle of Black Panther had to continue to consume the herb or they would die from it, much like T’Challa did, which is why we see Shuri trying to synthesize it at the beginning of Wakanda Forever.
Was Erik Killmonger the Reason T’Challa Died?
If we work on the basis that there is only one Black Panther allowed at a time (as perhaps deemed by Bast?), it could also be likely that despite the fact that it was the only way to save him, by using the herb and having two Panthers at the same time it might have crossed a line set by Bast.
When T’Challa arrived in the ancestral plane after taking the herb for the second time, his father and the rest of his ancestors were there to receive him into the afterlife but he refused, instead choosing to stay with the living and help get Killmonger off the throne and save his country. It’s a great moment but it may have had unseen consequences. At this point Killmonger, while his rule would have probably led to the ultimate end of Wakanda, was still the king of Wakanda, having won the throne according to the customs set in place.
Technically what Shuri, Nakia, and Queen Romanda did in Black Panther was cheating and their actions, as well as T’Challa’s own, could have been what led to his death in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
It’s sad having to say goodbye to a fictional character and even sadder when that character had such a positive impact on the world. You can see that the film is not just the Wakandans saying goodbye to T’Challa, but the actors and Marvel giving their final goodbye to Chadwick Boseman.
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Tell us, how do you think T’Challa died in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?