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The best Black Panther characters, ranked

From Ulysses Klaue and M'Baku to Ramonda and Killmonger we think these are the best Black Panther characters and Wakanda's finest protectors.

Best Black Panther characters: a close of on the poster for the 2018 marvel movie Black Panther

The best Black Panther characters ranked. The reason why Wakanda feels so real, and is so successful in drawing the audience in, is because of the many Black Panther characters who live in the nation.

There are few locations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we love as much as Wakanda. The fictional nation was introduced in Black Panther (one of the best movies in the MCU) after we met everyone’s favorite MCU character, T’Challa, in Captain America: Civil War. Since then, though, the country has appeared in the Black Panther movies, Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

But who are the greatest citizens of Wakanda? Well, that’s a great question. Here are our picks for the best Black Panther characters. Warning, spoilers for Black Panther 2 ahead.

The best Black Panther characters ranked:

  • Namor
  • Riri Williams
  • Ulysses Klaue
  • M’Baku
  • Shuri
  • Nakia
  • Okoye
  • Ramonda
  • T’Challa
  • Killmonger

Black Panther characters: Namor

10. Namor

Namor, aka K’uk’ulkan, is the King of the Talokan and chronologically the first MCU mutant (Although Kamala Khan beat him to the screen by a few months). Unlike his comic book counterpart, Namor isn’t the son of an Atlantean princess. Instead, his mother was a member of the Yucatán people who ate a vibranium-laced herb while pregnant with Namor in the hopes of curing a plague ravaging their people.

The herb caused the Yucatán to mutate into an underwater dwelling people, but it had the greatest effect on Namor. When he was born, Namor had winged feet, and he could move between land and water freely. As he grew older, Namor came to resent the surface dwellers who forced his people underwater, ultimately leading him into a war with the Wakandans.

While Namor’s haughty attitude makes him easy to dislike, his strength and tragic backstory engender some sympathy. We just can’t forgive him for killing Ramonda, though.

Black Panther characters: Riri Williams

9. Riri Williams/Ironheart

A young genius from MIT, Riri comes to Wakanda’s attention when she builds a machine capable of detecting vibranium. Still, as impressive as this invention is, it’s got nothing on her Iron Man-inspired battlesuit, which turns her from a teen genius to a walking tank.

We didn’t get a lot of Riri in Wakanda Forever, but what we did get we liked. She’s as smart as Tony Stark, without the arrogance, and a true hero who’s willing to help the Wakandans battle the Talkoan threat.

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8. Ulysses Klaue

Ulysses Klaue is the secondary antagonist of Black Panther, who had previously shown up in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s equipped with a super-strong metal arm, which the smuggling arms dealer uses to destroy his opponents.

The truth is, though, that Ulysses Klaue isn’t a particularly complex or exciting Marvel villain, and that’s only highlighted in contrast to Killmonger. Still, thanks to a fun portrayal by Andy Serkis, with his thick South African accent, scarring, and aggressiveness, the character is still simply cool. He’s entertaining to watch onscreen, even if he’s not very memorable.

Black Panther characters: Winston Duke as M'Baku in Black Panther

7. M’Baku

Played by Black Panther cast standout Winston Duke, M’Baku is the leader of the Wakandan tribe that lives in the country’s mountains. He disputes T’Challa’s ascension to the throne. He’s a skilled and powerful warrior and a natural leader. The character has a magnetic presence on screen, simultaneously demanding that the audience takes him seriously and also enjoy their time with him.

Beneath his harsh exterior is a Wakandan with a lot of dad jokes – but don’t make the mistake of getting on his bad side. As we see in Avengers: Endgame, he loves Wakanda just as much as T’Challa and is willing to defend it with his life. Also, never forget that he’s a vegetarian.

Black Panther characters: Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther

6. Shuri

Shuri is T’Challa’s princess sister, who is a genius inventor and the mind behind the Wakandan design group. She is one of the progressives in Wakanda who is willing to open to country up to influence from the outside world. Coupled with her talent for innovation, this sets her apart from a lot of other Wakandans. She’s a key adviser to her brother, who she takes over from as Black Panther in Black Panther 2.

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5. Nakia

T’Challa’s former love interest (who he still harbors feelings for) is a passionate and capable warrior. She is a vital member of the War Dogs, which is the Wakandan intelligence agency, and she uses her role to protect and fight for women in other African countries, like Nigeria.

Nakia played an important role in T’Challa’s campaign to take the Wakanadan throne, and after his success, she worked with him to open up Wakanda to the rest of the world.

Black Panther characters: Danai Gurira as Okoye in Black Panther

4. Okoye

Okoye is the leader of the Dora Milaje and the head of the Wakandan armed forces. She’s a strict traditionalist who believes in Wakanda’s right to secrecy and is cautious and distrustful of outsiders. She is also extremely proud but carries a lot of heart and humor too.

Okoye is also one of the most talented warriors in Black Panther, and she’s even able to hold her own in Avengers: Endgame fighting alongside Black Widow and Scarlet Witch.

Black Panther characters: Angela Bassett as Ramonda in Black Panther

3. Ramonda

Mother to T’Challa and Shuri, and Queen Mother of Wakanda, Ramonda, is played with majesty and nobility by Angela Bassett. She acts as T’Challa’s most trusted adviser, and her influence guides him through the challenges he faces throughout the superhero movie. Ramonda takes on a bigger role and more importance in Black Panther 2 when Wakanda looks to her after the loss of her son.

Black Panther characters: Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa in Black Panther

2. T’Challa

T’Challa is the Wakandan King and one of the most impressive leaders in any Marvel action movie. He’s a complex character, torn between many different ideologies and impulses. As the king of the nation, he has to balance the quest for progress with respect for tradition.

However, it’s as a superhero that the character really shines. His Vibranium suit is instantly iconic, and he manages to be graceful and completely terrifying in battle.

The death of Chadwick Boseman means that T’Challa is not in Black Panther 2, but his legacy as a character – and his influence on so many around the world – remains. The MCU is far, far weaker without his presence.

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1. Killmonger

The MCU often struggles with villains. Take the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a great science fiction movie packed with comedy and heart. But what is there to say about its bland villain, Ronan? However, Black Panther has no such problem.

Alongside Thanos, Killmonger is one of the two best Marvel villains of all time. He is complex, and like all good villains, his motivations and aims make sense. Jordan’s performance in the role makes the movie villain intimidating due to his physical presence and patient intellect. With T’Challa next to him, the two characters carry the action movie and ensure that it is regarded as one of the best superhero movies of all time.

And that’s the rundown of our favorite Black Panther characters. For more Marvel fun, here are our guides on how to watch all the Marvel movies in order, and all the upcoming Marvel movies coming our way in Marvel Phase 5.

If that’s not enough, we’ve cast an eye into the future to bring you everything we know about the new movie Black Panther 3 and The Marvels release date.