The Black Panther is one of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes, having been around since his first appearance in 1966’s “Fantastic Four #52.”. As the king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther has had many storied adventures across comic books over the past 50+ years. He is a unique character with a long history.
How Often Has Black Panther “Died” in the Comics?
In that time, Black Panther has “died” several times in the comics over his long history. However, these deaths often turn out to not be permanent for various reasons involving common comic book storytelling conventions around death not always being final. Some of his more notable “deaths” that were later reversed have been:
- Killed by Morlun in 2005’s “Black Panther Vol 4 #35”. He was later resurrected by Storm and a Wakandan shaman using mystical methods.
- Killed by Doctor Doom in Doomwar 2010. He was later resurrected by his sister Shuri using a combination of advanced Wakandan tech and magic.
- Killed by Namor and the Black Order in New Avengers Vol 3 #9 in 2013. This turned out to be an alternate universe version of T’Challa rather than the main continuity one.
So while Black Panther has technically “died” a few times over the many decades, the main Marvel universe version has always managed to return relatively quickly. Resurrection and the cyclical nature of death are quite common in superhero comics and their storytelling conventions.
Did Black Panther Die in Avengers: Infinity War?
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Avengers: Infinity War from 2018, Black Panther is one of the many heroes who get dusted by Thanos’ snap that wipes out half of all life in the universe. While dead by the end of that film, the five-year jump in Avengers: Endgame sees Black Panther brought back to life when Hulk uses the Infinity Stones to reverse Thanos’ snap that caused the deaths.
So while Black Panther technically experienced death in the MCU continuity, it was a short-term death that was quickly undone in the next film to bring popular characters like T’Challa back into the ongoing story. This plot device draws inspiration from comic book storytelling techniques around death and resurrection.
What Is Black Panther’s Current Status in Marvel Comics?
The current era of Black Panther comics faces a unique situation regarding the character. Following actor Chadwick Boseman’s tragic and unexpected death from cancer in 2020, Marvel made the controversial decision to have T’Challa die as well in the comics continuity some months later out of respect.
In a 2021 mini-series called “The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda”, it is revealed that T’Challa has died under vague circumstances and his sister Shuri has taken up the mantle of the Black Panther and ruler of Wakanda in his stead. Marvel has said this death will be permanent for now and not undone anytime soon to honor Boseman’s legacy as the MCU’s T’Challa.
However, the exact details around the nature and permanence of comic book T’Challa’s death remain unclear to fans. There is speculation that the character may eventually return down the road after a respectable period of being “dead”, as often happens in superhero comics given the nature of the genre.
But for now, he is considered deceased in the current Marvel continuity, with Shuri acting as Black Panther and queen of Wakanda moving forward for the foreseeable future.
Black Panther’s Deaths
Here is a summarizing the key deaths of Black Panther across major Marvel continuities over the years:
|Killed by Morlun
|Resurrected by Storm
|Killed by Doctor Doom
|Resurrected by Shuri
|Alternate universe comics
|Killed by Namor
|Dusted by Thanos
|Resurrected by Hulk
|So far permanent
What Does This Mean for the Future of the Black Panther Character?
The death of T’Challa in the main Marvel comics universe in 2021 was a very controversial and surprising move that upset many devoted fans of the character.
While Marvel says the death will stick for some respectable amount of time out of honor for Chadwick Boseman’s acclaimed legacy playing the role, questions remain around exactly how long they will keep such a beloved and popular character dead in the comics before potentially bringing him back.
There is certainly a possibility T’Challa could eventually return down the road once enough time has passed. True permanent deaths are very rare in comics if publishers decide they want to restore a character. In the meantime, all signs currently point to his sister Shuri continuing the Black Panther legacy for the next few years at a minimum.
The Black Panther movie sequel is also still reportedly moving forward within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Letitia Wright’s Shuri rumored to potentially take up the mantle there as well for the foreseeable future.
So while T’Challa’s time as Black Panther has come to an end for now in some continuities, the enduring Black Panther legacy remains a strong one within the pages of Marvel Comics and on the big screen moving forward.