In the face of tragedy, the women of Wakanda rose to the occasion in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

In 2018’s Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa also heavily relied on the film’s female characters, starting with his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), his partner Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and the Dora Milaje warriors. Following Boseman’s death in 2020 and T’Challa’s passing in the film, the women come to the rescue once again in the sequel. This time around, they also have reinforcements with the addition of the rebellious Dora Milaje warrior, Aneka (Michaela Coel), and the astounding Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne). 

They all work together to assist Shuri as she deals with her grief while she transitions from being the king’s little sister to being the leader and protector of the African nation and its people. The film accurately encapsulates the way women have uplifted the societies and communities they live in since the beginning of time. Mothers, sisters, and daughters rarely ever have the time or space to mourn the loss or absence of a patriarchal figure before they have to step in to fill that role. Aside from Ramonda losing her son, Shuri is the one who is most affected by T’Challa’s death. 

The way the film and its characters deal with their grief might be familiar territory for viewers who have gone through a similar loss. Wright played a younger, playful, and intelligent little sister in Black Panther. In Wakanda Forever, we see her grow into a fearless leader who at first uses her despair and anger as her driving force until she finds herself again. “Channeling your pain into power is definitely a motivation for the way I approached the script,” Wright tells Complex during a recent press junket. “The way I approached Shuri and just sharing that with our audience members can really help people to heal and move forward positively.”