There’s still a week to go before Black Panther hits theatres. It will be the first Marvel film starring a mainly black cast, which is fantastic news in itself. Diversity in films has been very rare and white-washing a common practise. But kids of all races and genders should be able to see themselves represented in good ways in the media. Black Panther shows black kids that they can also be superheroes, instead of having to be a sidekick or saved by white heroes. Black Panther is unique in other respects as well. It is a film in which women have an important role, both on screen and behind the screens. One of the main characters, Shuri, is already on our list of kick-ass girls. Here’s why.
The Smartest Person in the MCU
In a universe where Tony Stark is branded as one of the most intelligent people, it is cool to find that a young girl outsmarts him. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther’s director said the following about her in Entertainment Weekly:
Shuri is not only a fighter but a brilliant scientist, on par with Iron Man’s Tony Stark.
A girl whose intelligence rivals that of Tony Stark? We are a fan!
Letitia Wright, the actress who plays Shuri, said this about her character in Interview Magazine:
“She’s princess of Wakanda, but also she designs all of the new technology there. She has an innovative spirit and an innovative mind, and she wants to take Wakanda to a new place. Also, she has a great fashion sense, better than mine.”
It is important for young girls to have a role model. As black female role models in films are scarce, it is great that young girls have a role model like Shuri.
She kicks ass
Shuri covets the mantle of Black Panther. In the comics she does eventually become the ruler of Wakanda and the Black Panther while her brother is off to fight Doctor Doom. She is extensively trained in martial arts and thanks to the heart-shaped herb, she gained enhanced speed, agility, strength, endurance and senses. Shuri also has the ability to transform her body into a flexible stone-like material which cannot be dented by normal gunfire. She also has the ability to transform herself or anybody she touches in a flock of black birds or one large black bird. This is clearly not a damsel in distress.
Why we are excited about her
We don’t know much about her yet, but the fact that Shuri is such a great character on paper is already a big plus. The MCU has a shortage on strong female characters taking center-stage. Look at Black Widow in the Avengers films. While she’s one of the main characters, she didn’t even have her own merchandise for a while. We know that Black Panther centers around T’Challa. Yet still we hope Shuri will get plenty of screen time.