Wakanda Forever’ Explains W’Kabi’s Absence


  • Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
  • W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) doesn’t return in the sequel but is referenced once in the film.
  • Kaluuya had a scheduling conflict with 2022’s Jordan Peele movie, “Nope.”

Many familiar faces return in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but one character from the first movie is noticeably absent from the sequel.

Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi, who played Okoye’s husband, King T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) best friend, and head of security for the Border tribe, is only referenced briefly in one line.

How W’Kabi’s absence is explained in ‘Wakanda Forever’

daniel kaluuya black panther w'kabi

Daniel Kaluuya in “Black Panther.”

Walt Disney Studio

In “Wakanda Forever,” when Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) shockingly strips Okoye (Danai Gurira) of her title as leader of the Dora Milje warriors, she references Okoye’s husband.  

Ramonda holds Okoye responsible not only for the disappearance of her daughter, Shuri, but also compares her to W’Kabi, who Ramonda refers to as a traitor to the throne. It’s inferred W’Kabi was previously stripped of his titles as well.

In 2018’s “Black Panther,” W’Kabi swore allegiance to Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) when he briefly took control of Wakanda. As a result, W’Kabi fought against T’Challa and the Dora Milaje near the film’s end. He eventually yielded to Okoye.

In an interview with Cinema Blend, director Ryan Coogler confirmed W’Kabi is alive but was cast away for his actions. 

“He’s basically banished, but still in Wakanda’s borders,” Coogler said.

A scheduling conflict prevented Kaluuya from returning

Ryan Coogler and Daniel Kaluuya at "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" premiere.

Daniel Kaluuya is seen at the world premiere of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” with director Ryan Coogler.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

In July, Variety reported that, while Kaluuya was asked to return for the sequel, the actor was already set to star in Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller “Nope.”

Both movies were filmed simultaneously.

Though he’s not in the sequel, Kaluuya made an appearance at its world premiere in October.

How W’Kabi could return in the future: M’Baku

As Coogler said, W’Kabi’s currently an outcast, but he still lives in Wakanda. 

Now that M’Baku has taken the throne at the end of “Wakanda Forever,” there’s a chance he may give W’Kabi a second chance and welcome him back into some sort of position of power. 

M’Baku makes it a point throughout “Wakanda Forever” to remind everyone that he and his Jabari tribe were once considered outsiders and banished from being key players in the nation.

M’Baku knows what it’s like to be banned and, as someone who refuses to embrace Wakanda’s technological advancements and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers, he’s sure to make at least one controversial choice on the throne.

The majority of the rest of the cast reprise their roles in “Wakanda Forever,” including Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, and Danai Gurira. You can read our review here.

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