She-Hulk Shows The Negative Impact Of The Black Panther Ending

This post contains minor spoilers for the latest episode of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law."

"Black Panther" was a cultural moment, a box office phenomenon, and a revolutionary superhero movie, both for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the genre in general. Rarely does a superhero movie have a setting that feels as real and lived-in as Wakanda, or characters as vibrant as those of this movie.

Not only was the film spectacular in its visuals, its sound, and even in its portrayal of how a nation like Wakanda would function, but it offered some genuinely profound thought experiments. The central question of the film is a poignant one: Should Wakanda remain hidden and safe from the outside world, or open its borders and offer aid and technology to the world?

When T'Challa briefly dies and meets his father T'Chaka in the Ancestral Plane, he scolds his father for betraying his brother and leaving N'Jadaka alone and an orphan. "All of you are wrong to turn your backs on the rest of the world," T'Challa shouts when his father says that he did what he did for the sake of Wakanda and its future. "We let the fear of our discovery stop us from doing what is right. No more." Arguably the biggest development in the film, at least for the larger MCU, is the scene at the end where T'Challa talks to the United Nations and reveals that Wakanda is actually not an extremely poor African country, but a mighty nation with something to offer the world.

It's an extremely empowering and uplifting ending. At least in a vacuum. Because now, "She-Hulk" shines a different light on that ending, as it shows the horrible repercussions of opening the borders to anyone who can pay their way to Wakanda.

Oh no, are they gentrifying Wakanda?

The latest episode of She-Hulk brings everything that is great about the show together in one lean, mean, green package. We have some hilarious banter, the return of Daredevil and his awesome hallway fights, some legal elements, steamy hot romance, and plenty of fantastic Easter eggs that make the show feel both important and also part of a lived-in MCU full of consequences.

Though the mention of the Sokovia Accords is arguably the more important reference in what it means for the future of the MCU, there is another one that offers a vastly different and much bleaker hint of what is happening in the rest of this universe — our first look at the consequences for opening Wakanda's borders.

In the episode, Jennifer gets an emergency call from arguably her worst client, Jon Bass' billionaire tech idiot, Todd. It seems he just bought what he considers a very cool artifact at an auction: a genuine Wakandan war spear — for which he paid "a millie." It turns out Todd is a huge Wakanda fan, having studied abroad there. He even drops the Wakanda Forever salute, which makes Jennifer (and us) deeply uncomfortable. The problem? That spear was very much stolen by colonizers, but Todd thinks it should be fine because "I got the receipts." 

I hate you, Todd

This is exactly what Killmonger warned us about, and it is likely just the beginning. During this episode of "She-Hulk," it's been almost a whole decade since Wakanda opened its borders, so what has happened? We haven't seen any signs that they cured all illnesses and got everyone universal healthcare. We don't see flying vehicles or anything out of the ordinary going on, so it's likely they haven't really turned the world into the utopia Wakanda itself is. That the first reference we get to the effects of the border opening is an idiot rich white dude being able to study abroad makes me think the worst. 

Has Wakanda somehow suffered an attempted gentrification? Have the big corporations tried to sponsor or meddle with the kingdom? Are the streets of Wakanda full of Starbucks and Tot Topics? This would be a reality grimmer than anything Thanos or any of the other villains in the MCU had in mind.

Because of course the first people to try and go to Wakanda wouldn't be the refugees from neighboring countries who could benefit from Wakanda's safety and technology, or Black people from around the world who would love to see an African utopia. Instead, it's rich white imbeciles who exoticize the powerful kingdom for their Instagram, and boast about spending a million on a stolen artifact. 

This is all your fault Todd, and I hope the Dora Milaje come looking for you.