For a long time most of the world assumed that Tony Stark was the smartest person in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe followed closely by Bruce Banner but it was one of those two people. With the release of Black Panther we know that the smartest person in the MCU is a sixteen year old girl named Shuri. She is the Princess of Wakanda and played by actress Letitia Wright. She makes all of the technology in Wakanda so not only is she a genius but she’s also in the STEM fields. When The Tracking Board interviewed Wright they asked her what it felt like to be playing the smartest person in the world.
Really good! Really, really good, because she’s a young person and she could inspire a lot of young people. Tony and Banner are great, not only as actors, but in the films themselves. They’re amazing, iconic characters, so to be able to be on par with them… and that’s not even something I said! I didn’t say that, the head of Marvel said that, and it kind of created a chain reaction. And Nate Moore said those things, so talk to those guys! They felt really strongly that Shuri was the smartest person in the universe, and I’m not going to downplay that. Young people are the future, so it’s only right to allow that to be the thing that’s being said online.
The thing about Shuri though is she is portrayed so differently from how smart people are usually presented. When she think of “smart” on movies or on television we think of awkward people who can barely hold a conversation. Or a jerk like the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes. Shuri isn’t like that though and it’s one of the things that Wright loves about the character.
If you watch the film, yeah, Shuri is pretty smart, but she’s really relatable as well, so she’s not this super-intelligent person who nobody can really connect wth and everybody feels like, ‘aw, you’re too intelligent to be my friend.’ Shuri is super cool and ultra amazing, and her mind is her weapon. She uses that to create amazing technology, but then she’s able to turn around and tease her brother, so she’s still able to be a relatable, down-to-earth character who everybody can vibe with.
We know that Shuri is going to play some sort of role in Avengers: Infinity War but there should really be a scene where Tony and Bruce see that Shuri is smarter than them. Instead of doing what people might expect, being angry, they just smile and let her keep talking. They both know what it’s like to command a room so they let her.
Summary: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Black Panther, directed Ryan Coogler, stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman. It’s out now.