“Wakanda Forever” begins with its hero’s final moments when we are not there. Instead, we’re with Shuri (Letitia Wright) trying to replicate the heart-shaped herb that was destroyed under Killmonger’s (Michael B. Jordan) reign in hopes it will save her brother. The match between the new model and the original isn’t of the best quality, however, and seconds pass as she continues to check T’Challa’s heart rate before finally completing a rehearsal. Just before she wants to make her way to her brother, Queen Ramonda is already at the door with a look that will make every viewer rave. Shuri asks for her brother’s heart rate, only to find that she’s gone. The king is dead. Long live the king.
As the film progresses, we learn that T’Challa died of an “unknown illness”, with no further details as to the cause. What we do know is that, as broken down by some of the characters in the film, the king kept the condition to himself until it was nearing its end, making the necessary plans for Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who is pregnant with him was son. That element of secrecy mirrors the same choices made by Boseman himself, who told very few people about his battle with colon cancer, making his death in 2020 all the more shocking and his advancements all the bolder.