Black Panther Hero’s Fate Taken From Classic Series
Danai Gurira, Okoye in the Black Panther films, explains that her character may be getting a Kung-Fu inspired spin-off in which she wanders the world.
Danai Gurira is no stranger to spinoffs, The Walking Dead alumni will star in one as Michonne alongside Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, and according to a report from Murphys Multiverse, an MCU spinoff might be on the way. Rumor has it that Gurira’s character, Okoye, was going to end Black Panther: Wakanda Forever wandering the world similar to Cain from the David Carradine classic series, Kung-Fu. Actually, rumor isn’t the right word, as the actress herself said that was the ending of the original script, before later edits decided to change the end of the movie to focus solely on Shuri.
In the interview, Gurira explains that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler compared it to Kung-Fu, “[Coogler] was saying it’s like that kung fu show, where the guy just walked the earth. She just walks off. We don’t know where Okoye’s going. And she’s sort of letting go. She was fighting to keep that position, and then she lets it go. That’s kind of her arc, that she lets go. And we don’t know where that leads to.”
During the runtime of Wakanda Forever, Okoye is stripped of her rank as General and removed from the Dora Milaje, but she is gifted the Midnight Angel armor from Shuri. Wearing the power armor allows Okoye to go toe-to-toe with Namor’s right-hand man, Attuma, while also granting her the power of flight. In Okoye’s last scene, she’s rescuing CIA Officer Everett Ross, played by Martin Freeman reprising the role from Black Panther, before she then wanders off, presumably to start her Kung-Fu inspired journey.
Danai Gurira on what’s next for Okoye: “[Coogler] was saying it’s like that kung fu show, where the guy just walked the earth. She just walks off. We don’t know where Okoye’s going. And she’s sort of letting go. She was fighting to keep that position, and then she lets it go. That’s kind of her arc, that she lets go. And we don’t know where that leads to.”
Kung-Fu ran from 1972 to 1975, following Carradine’s Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin Monk, that wandered the wild west with only his martial arts skill. Okoye’s quiet confidence, which Gurira can communicate on screen just by the way she stands, matches that of Caine, as both characters knew they were the best warriors in the room. A Black Panther spin-off mirroring Kung-Fu makes a lot of sense, especially since it could tell a series of small-scale stories instead of building up into a world-ending threat.
Okoye was given more prominence in the comics following the success of Black Panther, not unlike the copycats inspired by Carradine’s Kung-Fu, and yes, in the comics Okoye also acquired the Midnight Angel armor. As the Midnight Angel, Okoye worked with Aneka, conquering M’Baku’s northern tribe to create a sanctuary for Wakandan women. In more recent comics based off of Wakanda, the emphasis has been on the wider World of Wakanda, presumably, the same name for the series of upcoming spin-offs, one of which we know will be Ironheart starring Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams.
Outside of Ironheart, no other spin-off has been officially announced and Danai Gurira will be busy back in the world of The Walking Dead. Okoye has been a scene-stealing fan-favorite in multiple movies though, and Ryan Coogler seems determined to make the World of Wakanda happen, so one day, we may get our Black Panther-inspired Kung-Fu remake. Wakanda Forever is still in theaters and should be available to stream on Disney+ next year. In addition to introducing the Midnight Angel, Namor, Ironheart, and a new Black Panther, the film is also the end of the MCU’s post-Avengers phase four, marking the start of a new, hopefully more cohesive phase, that will culminate with mega-crossover Secret Wars.