The City of the Dead was were Wakandans grew the Heart-Shaped Herb which granted the Black Panther their powers. Every time a new individual was crowned King of Wakanda and became the new Black Panther, they were taken to the City of the Dead where they took a liquid made of mashed Heart-Shaped Herbs to meet their ancestors in the Ancestral Plane.
Once he returned in Wakanda after he was forced to kill his own brother N'Jobu, King T'Chaka went to the City of the Dead to mourn his fallen brother who had betrayed Wakanda because of his ideals. While he was grieving, T'Chaka realized that his son T'Challa was there as he used to sneak in the City of the Dead with his friend Nakia. T'Chaka and his son then discussed about the former position as King of Wakanda and the difficult choices it implied.
Gate to the Ancestral Plane
Having become the new King of Wakanda, T'Challa was taken to the City of the Dead by the shaman Zuri. Then, a ritual took place so that T'Challa, thanks to the powers of the Heart-Shaped Herb, could meet his ancestors in the Ancestral Plane. T'Challa was buried under the sand during his interdimensional journey. Once he returned, T'Challa told Zuri that he had met his father T'Chaka. T'Challa and Zuri then remained alone in the City of the Dead, recalling their memories of T'Challa.
Erik Killmonger's Takeover
Following a failed mission in Busan during which he saw a man wearing the same Wakandan Royal Ring as he did, T'Challa went to the City of the Dead and confronted Zuri, who ultimately admitted the truth about N'Jobu, who had betrayed Wakanda and had fathered a son N'Jadaka.
Much like T'Challa, N'Jadaka was taken for an ancestor meeting ceremony in the City of the Dead once he was crowned the new King of Wakanda. Following the ritual's course, N'Jadaka was buried in the sand so he could meet his ancestors, notably his fallen father N'Jobu. Killmonger then regained consciousness in the City of the Dead. In order to prevent anyone from gaining the powers of the Black Panther, he ordered all the Heart-Shaped Herbs to be burnt down. However, unbeknownst to him, Nakia managed to secretly salvage one herb.
- In the comics, the Necropolis of Wakanda was used by the Illuminati during the invasion of Wakanda perpetuated by Thanos and the Black Order.
Behind the Scenes
- According to set designer Hannah Beachler, the City of the Dead's aesthetic was inspired by the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. "We wanted to bring in this sort of like very low-tech, a lot of fire", said Beachler. "You really see that’s where all our ancestors are. You see a lot of masks, all the panther masks, and you see how they do a lot of their rituals as far as the Heart-Shaped Herb, which you will see, and it will be fabulous and wonderful."