A new comic book starring Shuri and written by Nnedi Okorafor is in the works at Marvel.
If you were one of the millions of people who watched Black Panther when it came out earlier this year, you’ll have doubtless been impressed by Letitia Wright’s performance as Shuri. Black Panther’s wisecracking teenage sister is a genius inventor who creates her brother’s outfits and gadgets – all the while mocking him relentlessly throughout. Smart, funny and effortlessly cool, she’s the kind of feminist superhero we all wished we’d seen on screen growing up.
Now, it’s been confirmed that Shuri is getting the chance to star in her own Black Panther story. Marvel Comics has commissioned a new spinoff comic book series starring Shuri, written by fantasy and science fiction author Nnedi Okorafor.
“The world fell in love with her in the movie,” reads Marvel’s official synopsis of the new comics, reported by Screenrant. “Now, the Black Panther’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures.”
The Shuri seen in this year’s Black Panther film differed significantly from how the character had previously been portrayed by Marvel Comics. In earlier comic books, Shuri was an adult woman who envied her brother’s status as leader of Wakanda – eventually becoming the nation’s first female ruler. She had no special interest in science or tech, but was a fierce warrior who could get in touch with the spirit world.
The film version of Shuri in contrast, couldn’t care less about taking on her brother’s mantle as Black Panther: in fact, she’s openly cynical about the rituals and demands of royal life. And with her sharp intellect and scientific prowess, she has been widely cited as an inspiration to black girls and women in STEM.
In a sign that Marvel is aware of film Shuri’s appeal, the new comic book – set to be released later this year – will draw inspiration from Wright’s interpretation of the character. The plot will follow Shuri as she is pressured into assuming the throne after her older brother vanishes.
“The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne,” reads the official synopsis.
“But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own.”
In recent times, Marvel has made clear that it wants to pay more attention to the stories of its female superheroes, and no longer reduce them to ‘token’ women. And when it comes to writing the character of Shuri, the entertainment behemoth couldn’t have made a better choice than Okorafor.
The acclaimed Nigerian-American author has written over a dozen fantasy and science fiction books for adults, young adults and children, all set in mythical or dystopian versions of African nations.
Many of her books star young black women as superheroes or ordinary girls who end up saving the world – still a rarity in fantasy and science fiction.
“Nigeria is my muse,” Okorafor told The New York Times last year. “The idea of the world being a magical place, a mystical place, is normal there.” We think Shuri – and Wakanda – are in good hands.
Images: Marvel / Getty Images