How’s it going, guys and geeks? Welcome to Geekritique! My name is Dakota and I’ll be your forensic chronologist for the day as we set out to piece together when exactly Black Panther: Wakanda Forever occurs on the MCU Timeline. This is a particularly difficult film to place, due in no small part to poor timeline management, but we’ll be taking a closer look at all the information we can glean from the film itself, its leaked script, and more, to best place Wakanda Forever on our timeline. We’ll also be diving into the history of the Mayans and examining how closely Wakanda Forever syncs up with actual history. If you’re as excited as I am to dive into this timeline breakdown, please let me know by sharing this post!
You may have noticed but I recently took a creative detour away from the MCU for a few videos so that I could explore Pandora and create some Avatar content, including several Timeline-centric videos. Those proved extremely successful and I’m excited to announce that I’m going to continue exploring other timelines from franchises outside of the MCU in the future, so let me know what timeline content you’d like to see more of. But for now we turn our attention back to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
I say turn back because some of you may have already watched my preliminary timeline analysis on the film shortly after Wakanda Forever debuted in theaters. In that video we explained our rationale for placing the film in Spring 2025. And now that the film has released digitally, I’ve been able to examine it frame by frame and I’m delighted to say there is even more conclusive evidence for a Spring 2025 placement, including a possible date in which we can tether the film to. While it doesn’t all line up perfectly, as we’ll explain in a moment, we may have found a handy workaround that helps piece the timeline together somewhat by giving us a little leeway.
But before we narrow it down, how did we originally reach the conclusion that the film occurs in Spring 2025? Well first, we know that the main events of the film begin one year after the death of King T’Challa, as Queen Ramonda makes very clear. “One year ago, today.” This is an exact timeframe. If T’Challa died of his illness directly after Avengers: Endgame, that would mean the earliest this film could feasibly take place is around November 2024, as Endgame occurs in October of 2023. Secondly, we know that Nakia has been gone from Wakanda for about 6 years now. “It’s been six years since you left us.” This is an inexact timeframe, as it’s harder to pin down, though we know she left at some point after Thanos’ attack which blipped out half of all life. Okoye claims “after Thanos’s attack, when you left without saying a word, it hurt.” This could imply that she left immediately after Thanos’ attack, though I made the caveat that this time period could be seen as a longer era of trauma within the MCU, not dissimilar to how some in the real world use the phrase “after the towers fell,” which allows us a bit of wiggle room in placing that inexact date range. And lastly, the fact that it appears to be either Spring or Summer in both Virginia and Massachusetts, and that T’Challa was able to spend some significant time with Nakia and his son Toussaint before passing, made it necessary to push the film from November 2024 to April or May of 2025. “Your father, your baba, prepared us for his death, didn’t he.” And that’s the general conclusion we came to in our original video. Now let’s put all that to the test.
When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released on streaming, Disney+ also placed the movie on their timeline, and surprising many they actually appear to have placed it correctly. They’ve slotted Wakanda Forever between Moon Knight, which they believe occurs in early Spring 2025, and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which elapses some months and has its final climactic battle on August 16th, 2025. For full transparency, I don’t agree with Disney+’s Moon Knight placement, as I place it almost a whole year earlier on my timeline, but it’s clear Disney+ claims that it’s a Spring 2025 show, which is good news for us as we narrow down where Wakanda Forever takes place. Disney+ suggests that Wakanda Forever also occurs in either Spring or early Summer 2025, a rare moment of synergy between the Geekritique timeline and the Disney+ timeline.
But while that is strong evidence for a Spring 2025 placement, there is a fairly sizable wrench that’s been thrown into the gears of the timeline. The official script for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been leaked, and its timeline cohesion is all over the place. I’ve read all 259 pages and took full timeline notes on it, all of which you can check out on our Timeline Journal. The first thing you’ll notice is that the script claims that the prologue, the scene in which Shuri is rushing to try to save her brother’s life, occurs in 2025 and that this scene is one year after Endgame. One year after Endgame could potentially include parts of 2025, but that would stretch it to mean more like a year and a half after Endgame. And if T’Challa dies in 2025, according to the script, then the rest of the film must occur in 2026. “This changes everything we know!” Does this work? No, it doesn’t; the script is all over the place timeline-wise, and while the intent may have been to set this movie in 2026, the math within the screenplay itself doesn’t add up.
Here’s a brief rundown of some timeline mistakes the script makes that we can mostly ignore, but glean some writer intent from. In the screenplay Nakia claims “When I left Wakanda after the blip, I came here, and found out I was with child.” Earlier in the script we have Ramonda claiming “It’s been six years since you left us.” This suggests that Nakia left Wakanda in Spring 2018 (the time Infinity War occurred), and has been in Haiti ever since. The script then claims the boy, Toussaint, is 7 years old. If she left six years ago, and didn’t realize she was pregnant until she got to Haiti, the boy should be almost 2 years younger than the script claims he is. On top of that, 6 years after Spring 2018 brings you to 2024, not 2026, like the script claims is the case. All of this can be explained away by the writer not having a clear grasp on the MCU’s timeline, but this logic is frustrating, as the screenplay notes that there were at least 15 different drafts of the script, and not once did the person in charge of the MCU’s timeline placement make any notable amendments to it, which in turn leads to the film’s very murky timeline placement. Some other minor mistakes the script makes is suggesting that Riri is 20 years old and later claiming she’s 19. Also it says that the year 1571 AD is in the 15th century, when it should read the 16th. Minor mistakes in an overall incredible screenplay, but they’re worth a mention.
Now, while the line doesn’t make it into the final film, when Nakia mentions that she learned she was pregnant after her move, it lends weight to her leaving directly after Thanos’ attack. That was clearly the intent of what was written. Can this work with what we know from our timeline placement? No. You see, if the film occurs in Spring 2025, 6 years prior to that would bring her move to Haiti in Spring 2019, but she would have found out she was pregnant in Spring 2018. These three facts cannot all be true. As it stands the 6 years line and the Spring 2025 placement only work together if we conclude she left shortly before giving birth to Toussaint in late 2018/early 2019, and not directly after his conception in Spring 2018. So for the sake of making the film’s internal logic and timeline sound, we have to ignore the unused line from Nakia about when she moved to Haiti, and assume she left later during the course of her pregnancy.
With that being said, beyond my timeline placement, and Disney+’s timeline placement, is there any concrete proof that the film actually occurs in Spring 2025? Well, yes, but somewhat indirectly. During a news reel we see a headline that reads ‘Scott Lang continues tour in support of autobiography “Look Out for the Little Guy.” We know that a big plot point early on in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is that Scott is currently on his book tour, so this Easter egg in Wakanda Forever seems to clearly indicate that these films are happening roughly around the same time. Depending on how big of a book you’re releasing or the level of celebrity you’ve achieved, a book tour can last anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months. Scott Lang’s a huge deal, after being pivotal in saving the universe, so let’s suggest his book tour is on the longer side. Are there any dates that could help us in Quantumania? Yes! The banners beside Scott during his reading of ‘Look Out for the Little Guy’ say “meet today: July 24th,” so we know Quantumania is in the Summer of 2025.
Now, this doesn’t conclusively suggest Wakanda Forever is a Spring film, but let’s take it one step further. Are there any dates within Black Panther: Wakanda Forever we can latch this story’s timeline to? No, but also kinda yes… You see, the final cut of the film does not include any notable present day dates or years. BUT, there is a date hidden briefly in the deleted scenes, and it’s extremely telling. Thanks to a friend of the channel, Ross Livingstone, for pointing me in the right direction on this one. In the deleted scene titled The Upstairs Bathroom, when Everett Ross gets screened into a government agency we see a brief date pop up as 2025-05-07, or May 7th, 2025. It even claims that this date is a Wednesday, which perfectly lines up with May 7th of 2025. This date fits like a glove and shows all the signs of someone behind the scenes making the right choices for continuity’s sake. I just wish they chose to leave it in the film, though I understand why the scene was cut. And amazingly, this is pretty much exactly where we originally placed the film on our timeline, and where Disney+ chose to slot it in on theirs. It’s all finally coming together. There’s just one small problem. It doesn’t quite fit alongside the supposed anniversary of T’Challa’s death. sigh
So what day exactly did King T’Challa die? Early on in the film Ramonda asks Shuri what day it is, and she responds “Tuesday.” If we give that line any weight, then the Tuesday that falls a week prior to Wednesday May 7th is April 29th, 2025. This seems like an appropriate day and date. That means that 8 days pass from Namor making himself known to Wakanda and Everett Ross breaking into that facility. But if you count the days that happen after the one year anniversary of T’Challa’s passing, the film implies that there are only 5 days that pass. Not 8. So can Shuri’s line of it being “Tuesday,” and the date of Wednesday, May 7th both be true? The film alone does not lend itself to that being the case. Both myself and one of the moderators of the MCU Wiki timeline have poured through the details of each day within the film and there doesn’t appear to be any natural place to slot 2 or 3 hidden days into the film to make it work.
BUT. And this is a big BUT. The leaked script may hold some answers. You see, while the script has a number of timeline errors that we can ignore, there is writer intent there that may shed some light on how much time was supposed to pass. In the film, it appears that Shuri and Riri were with Namor in Talokan for only about a day or two. But the screenplay tells a different story. After Ramonda calls Namor with the conch shell, there’s an unused line in the screenplay where she claims to Namor that “it’s been five days,” since Namor took Shuri. I don’t think the film itself really allows for Namor to hold Shuri and Riri for 5 days, but it’s clear the written intent was there that Namor had them for an extended period of time – longer than what we’re shown onscreen. If that is the case, this is the only possible location to add two or three unseen days to the film which would allow us to make both the ‘Tuesday’ line and the date of Wednesday, May 7th work. And if that’s true, we have to suggest that Nakia didn’t arrive at the Yucatán Peninsula for several days after Ramonda met with her, or that it took her several days of asking around and searching to find the entrance to Talokan. It would also mean that the underwater scenes aren’t happening concurrently with the overwater scenes and that this is partially nonlinear.
For my part, I’m going to go ahead and add those extra days into Shuri and Riri’s Talokan staycation to allow both the Tuesday line and the Wednesday, May 7th date to work. This would mean T’Challa died on April 29th, 2024. If you choose to ignore the extra days allotted us in Talokan via the script, then you have to also ignore Shuri’s Tuesday line, because the later date takes precedence, bringing the day of T’Challa’s passing to May 2nd, 2024. What do you guys think? Late April or early May? What does the evidence suggest to you?
But regardless of where you place T’Challa’s death, we know conclusively that the majority of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s runtime occurs in the first half of May 2025. And that’s where we’ll keep it on our visual timeline graphic, the latest version of which is now available to our Patreon members.
I’ve received a number of comments recently asking where T’Challa’s passing lines up alongside the Dora Milaje’s visit in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That series begins around April 2024, and we’ve just determined that T’Challa most likely died at the end of April or early-May 2024. The Dora Milaje don’t arrive in Latvia until about a week after we suppose T’Challa’s death to be, specifically on May 7th, going by the MCU Wiki’s estimation, so it follows that T’Challa died shortly before the Dora were sent to retrieve Baron Zemo. Of course, this doesn’t all fit perfectly because in reality Chadwick Boseman was still alive at the time The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was being filmed, and any inconsistency on that front should not be scrutinized as a plot hole. It is what it is, unfortunately.
Moving away from the present day, it’s very important that we consider the film’s historicity, especially relating to the Mayan ancestry and the timeline we’re provided. In a flashback to 1571, we head to Zamá Yucatán. 1571 is an interesting year to choose to place Namor’s birth, but I’ve found that it fits fairly well with recorded history. In his narration, Namor claims “my mother and her village were driven from their farms by Spanish conquistadors who brought the smallpox, a hateful language, and dogma from another world.” We don’t know the exact year that they were driven away from their farms, but we can use some real world context to help flesh out this story.
Conquistadors landed in Aztec lands around 1519 and by 1521, 50 years before Namor’s birth, Cortés and his people conquered Tenochtitlán, an event we see depicted quite well in Eternals. From there they traveled east to the Yucatán Peninsula into Maya country. During the late 1520s into about 1530 there was a large battle where the Mayan people banded together to defeat the Spanish conquistadors. They were initially victorious, but the issue was that the Spanish just kept on coming back with more men, and eventually by 1546 the conquistadors had conquered all Mayan territory on the Yucatán peninsula, including Zamá, the region known today as Tulum. By this time, some 25 years before Namor’s birth, 90% of the Mayan population had been killed off due to smallpox, war, and enslavement. Those who had lived in the cities took to the jungle for protection against the invaders, and the once vast civilization crumbled from there.
The script claims that Namor’s mother had memories of Chichén Itzá, a large Mayan city near the Zamá region, so her story parallels that of the fall of Mayan Civilization, though she likely would only remember the cities from her childhood. Zamá, better known as Tulum, was one of the last Mayan cities to fall. Eventually, by 1571, even the farmlands in the area would be overtaken by the invaders, which is around the time we find these flashbacks to the few remaining members of this Mayan village. The film only highlights a small portion of the devastation caused by the conquistadors, but what it does showcase is spot on. The ancient Mayan name of Zamá also shares some symbolic meaning in that it means ’Dawn,’ and we see these Zamá Mayans were the Dawn of the Talocanil – a small detail that I find very cool.
Namor ages particularly slowly, still a child at the time his mother dies of old age. The script claims that the year of her death and burial on land is 1631, so Namor is roughly 60 years of age here. By this time in history, the 17th century saw some of the first major settlement efforts from the Spanish, so seeing this Mission built up on Mayan land in 1631 is not surprising, and in my opinion quite historically accurate. The film does an incredible job of believably slotting it’s historical settings.
After a frame by frame analysis, about 1.7% of the runtime occurs in 1571, .8% in 1631, 3.9% in 2024, and a whopping 93.6% in 2025.