Uatu, the Watcher stands in his home on the moon. Suddenly, unexpectedly he is addressed from the ground. Uatu! What’s up buddy? He looks down, assuring the stranger that its presence is no surprise by any means. The small golden creature, one of King Solomon’s frogs, assures him he’s not trying to disrespect Uatu’s abilities. He’s been watching Uatu as long as he’s been watching him. He just wanted to know how it felt to feel his prediction come true.
The Watcher replies that, contrary to some misconceptions, he doesn’t see the future, nor does he travel through time like the frog. However, after observing the Earth since its creation, there are certain probabilities that are easy to calculate. He knew that once Storm and the Black Panther became husband and wife, that union would become the foundation of a dynasty… a dynasty that would rule the world.
the possible future:
High Tech Wakanda some decades in the future. A female Black Panther elegantly jumps over the rooftops enthusiastically cheered by the crowds. She is expected at the People’s Plaza in central Wakanda, where a wedding is taking place.
A little earlier in King T’Challa’s palace. T’Challa addresses three of his children, tall white-haired twin girls and a younger teenage boy, reminding them that today their brother is getting married. This wedding will not only make him happy, but will likely cement a Pax Africana. So, could they keep the family drama to a minimum? Yes, the kids obediently chorus. Good, now where’s their brother T’Wari? The kids look at each other embarrassed.
Queen Ororo is floating in the air amidst the birds. T’Challa calls her via comm-link. He warns her she is wearing herself out. No, she is renewing herself, she replies, before she has to smile and talk to all those people. She’s a nice girl, T’Challa tells her. That’s the politician in him talking, she chides him.
Walking outside the palace, he points out she is just a mother protecting her firstborn cub. As is her right and responsibility, she retorts. Nice isn’t enough for her prince.
T’Challa changes the subject. He called her because no one can find T’Wari. Even with all their tracking devices? Ororo asks. He defeats them all, comes the reply. That’s her boy, she states proudly. Well, T’Chaka is his, he reminds her, and he doesn’t want his day ruined by his pouty little brother. Ororo promises she’ll find him and flies off.
The twins protest they could have found him. T’Challa explains it’s not about finding him; it’s about the conversation when he’s found.
And so a little later… T’Wari angrily informs Ororo he is not going. Ororo lands gently and asks her son what is troubling him so much that he would insult his entire family as well as their new family. “New?” he asks scoffing. They grew up with the Cages! How can his brother marry a girl they were practically cousins with? Not long ago cousins did marry, Ororo points out and insists he tell her what’s really bothering him.
T’Wari admits he gets what this wedding is really about. It’s to give the Americans comfort. But why should they even bother? Why do they even care what they think? Because it’s right, Ororo replies with a smile. This is how Wakanda has saved its soul.
Ororo reminds her son that Wakanda has not involved itself in the affairs of other nations unless it was absolutely necessary. The rise of European slavery sorely tested that policy. While Wakanda was virtually impenetrable from invasion, other African nations were targeted by pirates who trafficked in human lives. They acted without mercy. Battles were fierce, but the superior firepower of the Europeans gave them an advantage. Of course, every once in a while they faced firepower that they did not anticipate, such as another weather-controlling ancestor of Ororo, who fought them off.
In Wakanda, there was great debate over what to do. One of the King’s counselors insisted the Barbarians must be stopped. Which barbarians? another points out. The whites who buy humans, or the black who sell them? What’s his point, the first counselor asks. If you plan to solve this problem, be prepared to fight the world, comes the reply.
There was no easy solution, but there was only one answer. The king and chosen Black Panther decides that these developments are threatening the long-term interest of Wakanda and cannot continue to go on unchecked.
The first actions were subtle, Storm relates. Africans were bought and brought back to Wakanda, where they were trained for military acts. And so the war began. Slave ships sunk upon arrival in African harbors. Even if the culprit was captured, they had no idea who they really worked for.
African slavers (dressed like Europeans) meet to discuss the situation. One wonders if the Europeans are behind it. Why would they destroy their own property? another remarks. Maybe saboteurs… rivals… abolitionists. A last one states they know who is really behind it all. The others look at him, silent for a moment, none of them wanting to say the name. And if they tell the whites about them, then they will send them to fight them. And that is certain death.
Of course the slave traders were not going to have their business shut down by terrorism, so they tortured their African partners till one of them talked. Sure enough, this led to an army of Africans who were compelled to attack Wakanda… or be attacked by their European partners. Even after the tenth massacre, the Europeans would not stop.
Instead, alliances were formed. Business men and bureaucrats of different countries and different businesses began to whisper about a legendary African tribe that could not be defeated. It was understood that this had greater significance then the profitability of the slave trade. This was a challenge to their cultural heritage, to their continued dominance of the planet. Old rivalries were put aside to join forces to defeat the common threat.
Of course, Wakanda had spies in the corporate boardroom and the halls of parliament, so they knew trouble was coming.
The Panther faced a terrible decision. Wakanda was a mighty land, with wealth and weaponry that the rest of the world could not dream of. But to take on the rest of the world… alone? Was that fair to his people?
His advisors nervously address him. One of them points out that they cannot afford to look weak. The Europeans will attack them whether the Wakandans stand down or not. The other remarks that in spite of the righteousness of their cause what does it say to the king that no nation will stand with Wakanda… not even their fellow Africans? Why should they pay the price for this world of sin?
The first one insists that this world needs cleaning up. If Wakanda doesn’t put the world on a righteous path now, it will eventually corrupt them. The other retorts that while his colleague’s intentions are pure, the act of conquering and ruling the world will inevitably lead to a corruption of the soul that makes them the same as those who they oppose.
The Panther finally turns around, announcing he has a solution.
And so a message was sent, from London, England, to Washington DC to the West Indies… every branch of the slave trade… was touched… all the nation leaders woke up in their beds to find a message next to them. Some decided to still continue, deciding they would not be threatened by savages. While others like Abraham Lincoln decided to take up the Panther on this.
So what is she saying, T’Wari snorts, that his great-great-great whatever was a coward… or a sell-out?
His mother admonishes him to mind his tone and the boy apologizes. Second of all, she continues, she doesn’t understand why he still doesn’t have a better grasp of politics… or power. He had the greatest instructors in the world. Wakanda is not just a nation. It is a culture. If they sacrifice their values to protect the nation, they have already lost.
But why the accommodationist stance? he asks. They are a warrior people. A warrior is not a bully, Ororo drives home. Wakanda could have gone to war with the world, maybe they would have won, maybe they would have lost, but the very act of attacking all of the major western powers and their puppet states in Africa would require a ruthlessness that would threaten the moral fiber of the nation.
Instead, the decision was made to take a long-term view. Even if it took centuries, the world would eventually recognize that the Wakandan way is the correct path. And if not, God bless them, for they would not survive.
Why? T’Wari asks. Because man recognizes good? He doesn’t see many examples of that. Because a true warrior recognizes all of his strengths, Storm replies, and love is the mightiest weapon of all. She reminds him of how love makes people see beyond artificial boundaries of race to recognize the humanity of the others. The power of African art – referring for example to music – an expression of love - has seduced the world many times over. Mahatma Gandhi toppled an empire using love. Martin Luther King transformed a nation.
Her son replies cynically that he knows she is not really trying to sell him on that “love conquers all” thing. Her history as a warrior is, well… Does she even know how many peoples she’s struck with lightning? Swept up in tornadoes? Stabbed in knife fights? Unphased, Storm replies that she never even tried to count before… but that’s not the point. It is the point T’Wari retorts. Wakanda has maintained its cultural integrity because of its military might. Every generation a world power tries to conquer them… and Wakanda beats the snot out of them. And she was there leading the charge alongside his father for the greatest battle they ever fought. They took on the United States… and won!
It was horrible, she recalls. The whole world was at war. Fighting one another. It made the first superhero Civil War look quaint by comparison. But they gave Wakanda no choice, T’Wari insists.
After securing what they called a Pax Americana they (heroes like the Avengers, the FF and the Silver Surfer) turned their attention to international targets. Their first targets were easy ones to rally international support behind, even though the precedent was dangerous. No tears were shed over the death of Doom. Nor the destruction of Atlantis which was literally out of everyone’s eyesight.
The Black Panther’s close relationship with the U.S kept Wakanda off the target list for a while, but inevitably, any autonomous power with Wakanda’s resources and the ability to defend them was too much for them to tolerate and Stark and T’Challa fought. Eventually, war – soldiers in Iron Men suits – came to Wakanda’s doorsteps.
In their arrogance, they didn’t believe Wakanda was ready when suddenly the Iron Men were attacked by a giant mechanical Panther. Yes, they did underestimate Wakanda, Storm agrees. So… silly. When the Iron Men tried to kill it, it blew them apart. The final battle between the huge Iron Man and the Panther was brutal. When the Panther robot attacked the throat of the Iron Man machine, they made a terrible discovery. Stark was so bonded with his avatar that he received all of its injuries. Whatever their differences, they never wanted to end Tony’s life.
The death of Tony Stark shocked the whole world into rethinking the entire strategy of a global police force. Without Stark, they couldn’t execute it anyway.
In his last act as reigning Black Panther before he retired, T’Challa forged a peace agreement that lasts to this day.
And how does Aunt Shuri feel about being saddled with such an agreement just before she ascended the title? T’Wari asks grimly. Why doesn’t he ask her, Storm retorts. She says she never imagined she would become the Black Panther, let alone the most powerful one history.
But she knows how Auntie is, he mocks, always grateful and referential to T’Challa and Ororo. His mother sternly reminds him that his aunt is the first woman in over a century to win the right to wear a Panther’s vestment. Does he really think she lacks strength or integrity?
No, he admits. Now can they stop pretending his snit is about politics and deal with the real issue, she suggests. He has a crush on his brother’s bride to be. Always has, since they were kids. T’Wari is shocked. He’s the great warrior, Ororo points out, but he’s shy in social situations. His brother swept Danielle off her feet while T’Wari was still thinking about what to say. And he’s resented it ever since.
That’s not true, he replies weakly. Does she even think they are a good couple? They are well suited for each other, Ororo admits. The perfect woman waits for T’Wari too, but Ororo never believed it was Danielle. She asks him to come and flies away with him.
And so, a little later, in front of families, politicians and heroes Shuri, the Black Panther marries T’Chaka and Danielle Cage.
The crowd cheers as the newlyweds kiss. “Mister President,” Storm jokingly addresses the father of the bride. Who’d a thunk it, the former Power Man replies. Given his sterling leadership of the Avengers why not? T’Challa asks. After T’Challa kicked everybody’s butt, Luke replies, they were so desperate for someone who could deal with him, they didn’t even hold Luke’s prison record against him.
And a female Black Panther, smart move, he tells T’Challa. A real crowd pleaser. That frees him up to make the big moves without the spotlight on him. T’Challa replies that Shuri is doing a great job. He just helps where he can. Riiiight, Ororo and Luke chorus.
T’Wari addresses his brother T’Chaka, apologizing for his earlier tantrum and assuring him he is truly happy for him. No need for explanations, T’Chaka replies. He is here, that’s all that matters. T’Wari asks Danielle to look out for his brother. Danielle takes his hand and assures him he has been her brother all his life. Now they are going to act like strangers? She doesn’t think so.
Well, looks like that train wreck was averted, Luke observes. The four greatest words in the universe: Let Storm handle it, T’Challa agrees.
Ororo wonders whether that was a compliment or… Let him make it clear, her husband tells her and kisses his wife.
Wait, is he telling him that’s going to happen? one of King Solomon’s frogs asks the other. “No, yes,” comes the reply. It is a possible future. He knows how alternate timelines work. They can’t have Wakandans rule the world, the other one replies. He doesn’t need to tell him that, the second one replies and tells him to shush. King Solomon is approaching.
Ah, there you are, the king exclaims and takes up one of the frogs. He thought he had lost them. If only he knew where they keep sneaking off to…