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Black Panther 3 Needs To Take Away Wakanda’s Vibranium

In the wake of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there have been many new revelations about the future of the high-tech nation of Wakanda, including one element that is absolutely necessary for Black Panther 3: Wakanda must lose its vibranium. Not only would such a storyline be the next logical step in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ongoing story revolving around Wakanda, but it would also allow for the iconic nation to prove its merit without the use of its greatest tool. Once and for all, Wakanda can prove that it is far more than its vibranium, rising above the rest of the world even without it.

Wakanda Forever gave T’Challa a complicated legacy, revealing that his decision to open up Wakanda to the rest of the world had sparked a race from other nations to get their hands on the nation’s precious vibranium, which is capable of nearly anything, from providing electricity to crafting the Black Panther’s intricate suits. The people of Wakanda have faced many challenges as a result of this decision and managed to emerge victorious in the end, albeit always with the help of vibranium. The presence of vibranium may be an easy loophole for Black Panther’s writers, but the third film in the trilogy would be better if Wakanda’s stores run dry.

The Importance Of Vibranium To The Black Panther Franchise
Vibranium spreads throughout the land of Wakanda
As important as the metal is to the Black Panther franchise, the true origin of vibranium in the MCU remains largely a mystery, with Wakandan legend stating that it came to Earth on a meteor that crashed in Africa long before any nations had settled there. Building their civilization atop this space rock, the first Wakandans discovered the near-infinite uses of the substance inside, taking advantage of its offerings to build the most technologically advanced country in the world. During the events of the MCU, Wakanda remains highly advanced on a global scale thanks to its new and inventive uses for the precious metal, setting them apart from other nations.

The existence of vibranium has not only allowed for Wakanda’s advanced inventions in the MCU but has also served a much more important theme that runs through the entire Black Panther franchise. The idea of Afro-futurism, an exploration of African culture fused with advanced technology and scientific endeavors, underlies director Ryan Coogler’s vision of Wakanda, and vibranium is exactly the tool that made this fictional country so advanced in the context of the MCU. Vibranium has come to be symbolic of the Afro-futurist cultural movement, lending its unique voice to the franchise, helping to make both the 2018 and 2022 films major hits with audiences around the globe.

Ryan Coogler’s artistic vision has made his franchise a success, helping the Black Panther films forever change the MCU. Part of this vision involves a running theme throughout the franchise regarding vibranium’s place in Wakandan culture. Black Panther explored how vibranium helped make Wakanda special, especially given the fact that no one else in the world had access to such a precious metal. Wakanda Forever, on the other hand, shattered the paradigm by introducing Talokan, an underwater nation with its own store of vibranium. The sequel explored whether Wakanda was still special if it wasn’t the only country with vibranium, and a worthy follow-up must expand on this hard-hitting question.

The Problem With Black Panther’s Vibranium
Vibranium sample from Age of Ultron; Black Panther stares into the distance
As deeply complex and thematically rich as vibranium is to the Black Panther franchise, there is also a major problem with vibranium in Wakanda and the MCU, which Phase 4 and beyond have tried to fix. The seemingly endless possibilities for vibranium make it far too easy for Black Panther’s characters to solve every problem they may ever face. Vibranium has become something of a loophole for the franchise’s writers and a “get out of jail free” card for the characters therein. While this issue hasn’t taken away from the films themselves yet, it must be addressed if the Black Panther franchise is to remain as beloved as it is.

Vibranium also poses a problem for the larger MCU, raising questions about why every Avenger isn’t outfitted with the precious metal. The highly-advanced suits that do exist also follow a long-running Iron Man problem in the MCU, providing their wielders far too much protection from their enemies, lowering the stakes for audiences who never believe that their favorite characters are in genuine danger. Although stories regarding other nations’ intense desire to attain vibranium for themselves do help with this ongoing problem, the issue of the metal’s overpowered nature still needs to be fully addressed in the near future, for the good of Black Panther 3 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Wakanda Needs To Show That It Is More Than Its Vibranium
Letitia Wright wearing the Black Panther suit without the helmet in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In order to truly overcome its vibranium problem, Black Panther 3 must show that Wakanda is more than the metal that made them. Up until now, the rest of the MCU hasn’t been a threat to Wakanda, even as they attempt to steal their vibranium. Every appearance from Wakanda in the MCU has shown that its warriors are more than capable of defending themselves against the international groups that seek to steal their most valuable resource from them. So long as vibranium is ready and available for Wakanda’s warriors, any other army will never feel like a true threat to them, making the stakes for the fictional nation feel low.

While vibranium served an important role in the early chapters of Wakanda’s history in the long-running franchise, it is beginning to feel redundant in the grand scheme of the MCU’s story. Wakanda Forever reveals that the MCU’s future may be one devoid of vibranium, or at least wherein the substance is no longer as unique as it once was. In so doing, the franchise can finally fix its longstanding vibranium problem and insert true stakes back into the story of Wakanda. The country’s citizens can finally prove once and for all that it isn’t the vibranium that makes them special but their own merit as a hearty people.

How The MCU Can Move Away From Vibranium
Wolverine’s adamantium claws in Marvel’s Wolverine’s reveal trailer.
The MCU has already set up several methods in which it can begin to move away from relying too heavily on vibranium as a plot device. One prominent theory suggests that Doctor Doom will be Black Panther 3’s villain, adapting the comic story wherein his nation of Latveria goes to war with Wakanda in an effort to steal their vibranium. Such a plot would leave Wakanda devoid of its dearest natural resource and force its warriors to develop new tactics for defeating the major villain. Defeating Doom, one of Marvel’s greatest villains of all time, devoid of vibranium would certainly prove once and for all the merit of Wakanda’s warriors.

Another exciting possibility for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe allows for vibranium to continue as it has in the franchise, but this time with a direct competitor. The X-Men will likely be introduced in Phase 6, and with them will come adamantium, another powerful metal that could be even stronger than vibranium in the MCU. The introduction of a substance even stronger than vibranium could spell disaster for Wakanda as it struggles to defend itself against powerful adamantium weapons. Adamantium’s presence would infuse new stakes into Black Panther 3, leaving behind the days depicted in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, wherein Wakanda was at the top of the world.


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