- "I've seen too many in need just to turn a blind eye. I can't be happy here knowing that there's people out there who have nothing."
- ―Nakia to T'Challa
Nakia is a member of the War Dogs and T'Challa's lover, who was often sent on missions around the world, witnessing the hardships experienced by many people and growing the belief that Wakanda should actively help them. She was pulled out of an assignment to attend the Incoronation of T'Challa and took part in a mission in order to arrest the criminal Ulysses Klaue. Following their failure to apprehend him, Nakia exiled herself when Erik Killmonger took the throne of Wakanda. She reunited with T'Challa in Jabari Land and assisted him in reclaiming the throne from Killmonger. As T'Challa decided to open Wakanda to the rest of the world, Nakia would oversee the humanitarian policy of Wakanda.
While T'Challa learned to become King of Wakanda and the ways of the royal family, Nakia joined the War Dogs. During a mission in South Korea, she was involved in a confrontation with ivory smugglers. She was later given an undercover assignment in Nigeria where she pretended to be a Nigerian woman as she observed the trafficking going on in the country.
- "Why are you here? You ruined my mission."
- ―Nakia to Black Panther
Two years later, Nakia was still on her undercover mission. She traveled in a truck with several other captives until the truck line was suddenly stopped. As the captors engaged in defense position, Nakia sneaked out of the truck. While Black Panther suddenly attacked the traffickers, Nakia picked up a machine gun and assisted him in the fact. She then stopped Black Panther as he moved forward to the last soldier, claiming that he was a young boy who had been forced to carry a weapon.
One last soldier took another woman hostage in front of Nakia and Black Panther, only to be taken down by Okoye. With the attack being over, Nakia blamed Black Panther for having sabotaged her cover. However, Black Panther informed her that T'Chaka had died and that he wanted her to attend his incoronation. Therefore, Nakia told the captives to go home and agreed to return to Wakanda. During the journey, Nakia comforted T'Challa over the loss of his father.
Upon arriving in Golden City, Nakia left with Ayo who escorted her back to the River Tribe province to prepare for the impending Incoronation of T'Challa. Nakia then went onto the River Tribe's boat during the ceremony, performing the ritual dances along with the other members of her tribe. Later, Nakia attended the coronation ceremony and was surprised when M'Baku and the Jabari Tribe arrived and declared that they would challenge T'Challa for the throne.
T'Challa accepted the challenge, and Nakia then attended the duel between T'Challa and M'Baku, expressing distress when M'Baku stabbed T'Challa in the shoulder with his knobkerrie. However, T'Challa eventually triumphed over M'Baku, much to Nakia's joy who happily cheered her new King. Therefore, T'Challa was celebrated by the people of Wakanda as he was officially crowned the King of Wakanda.
Spending Time With T'Chaka
Later, Nakia took a walk with T'Challa in the Golden City. When T'Challa asked her to remain in Wakanda, Nakia insisted that she wanted to return into a mission to help other people outside her country. Indeed, Nakia thought that Wakanda should do more towards people in need instead of keeping hiding from the world, although T'Challa did not share her views. When T'Challa noticed that her stubbornness would keep her from being a great Queen, Nakia replied that this was what would make her a great Queen, making her imply that she thought about it.
Nakia was later recruited for a mission along with Black Panther and Okoye to arrest the criminal Ulysses Klaue. They journeyed to Busan, South Korea, where Nakia reached her contact Sophia, who had information regarding the deal Klaue was about to make in the Jagalchi Market Casino. They entered the casino and decided to split up to cover more area. Nakia sat at the bar and soon spotted three Americans, suspecting them to work with Klaue's buyer.
While T'Challa discovered that CIA operative Everett Ross was the buyer, Klaue arrived in the casino with more bodyguards, prompting Nakia to stand up and be ready for action. As more Americans kept coming, Nakia and the others out figured out that this was an ambush meant for them. When bodyguards eventually identified Okoye as a target, a violent gunfight erupted in the casino. Nakia took down several of Klaue's bodyguards before leaving the casino with Okoye.
Both Nakia and Okoye engaged in the hot pursuit in the streets of Busan, chasing Klaue in his SUV. They successfully followed him for a while, nearly catching up with him, but in the end, Klaue used his prosthetic hand's cannon to blast their car, leaving them behind while he escaped. Nakia and Okoye were then picked up by CIA Agent Everett Ross, who took them to where Black Panther had ultimately caught Klaue. Nakia begged him not to execute Klaue as they were being watched by numerous witnesses.
Interrogation of Ulysses Klaue
Nakia joined the CIA South Korean Black Site along with Black Panther and Okoye. However, while Klaue was being interrogated, Nakia figured out that something was not right outside the CIA facility. Indeed, a disguised Erik Killmonger had arrived to release Klaue. Killmonger began shooting in the facility and Ross jumped in front of Nakia, taking a bullet for her. Nakia then agreed with Black Panther upon bringing Ross to Wakanda to heal him.
Erik Killmonger's Arrival
Back in Wakanda, Nakia took some time alone with T'Challa, who had learned the truth about his uncle N'Jobu who had betrayed Wakanda and had been killed by T'Challa's father T'Chaka. Nakia comforted T'Challa, stating that he was not responsible for his father's mistakes and that he had to choose what kind of King he would be. Their conversation was however interrupted as Shuri called T'Challa and asked him to come back to her lab, along with Everett Ross, who was recovering from his gunshot wound.
At Shuri's Lab, the two uncovered that the man from earlier was Erik Killmonger, whose real name was Erik Stevens, a former Navy Seal and a member of a CIA black ops assassination squad. Indeed, Killmonger had returned to Wakanda with the corpse of Ulysses Klaue as a gift. Nakia listened to Everett Ross' presentation about Killmonger, all the while exchanging concerned looks with T'Challa.
Later, Nakia attended the duel between Killmonger and T'Challa. When Okoye asked her where Ross was, Nakia replied that she had locked him up. Nakia then watched the fight and despite her support, T'Challa was defeated and Zuri was murdered by Killmonger. Nakia watched in horror as Killmonger took T'Challa and threw him over the waterfall, leaving him for dead. Knowing that they were in danger as of now, Nakia took Shuri and Ramonda away for safety.
Exile from Wakanda
Nakia later met with Okoye and asked her to come with them and leave the Golden City. However, Okoye refused claiming that she was bound to serve whoever sat on the throne of Wakanda. Nakia replied that she loved Wakanda as much as Okoye did and that she would save it from Killmonger while Okoye would serve the new King. Nakia then went to find Everett Ross. She informed him of T'Challa's demise and gave him clothes so he could escape with Shuri, Ramonda and Nakia herself.
Before leaving the Golden City, however, Nakia went to the City of the Dead, where Killmonger was to undergo the ceremony where he would meet his ancestors on the Ancestral Plane. Nakia watched as Killmonger returned from his interdimensional journey and ordered all the Heart-Shaped Herb to be burnt down. Nakia managed to salvage one single herb before secretly leaving. She then reunited with Shuri, Ramonda and Ross and they made their way to Jabari Land, where they intended to give the Herb to M'Baku so he could challenge Killmonger.
On the way, Ramonda questioned this plan and suggested that Nakia should take the herb herself, but she refused, as she was a spy with no army. They were captured by Jabari warriors who brought them to M'Baku. Nakia explained to M'Baku that they had come to offer him the Heart-Shaped Herb so he could help them overthrow Killmonger. However, instead of taking it, M'Baku took Nakia and the others with them and revealed the truth: T'Challa was alive and had been secretly kept by the Jabari Tribe.
Nakia gave the Heart-Shaped Herb to Ramonda, who crushed it into the drink which would restore the powers of the Black Panther. Thanks to that, T'Challa was revived, much to Nakia's joy. They returned to the Jabari throne room, where Nakia explained the situation in Wakanda and swore to fight at T'Challa's side against Killmonger.
Nakia, Shuri and Everett Ross sneaked into Shuri's Lab while Black Panther faced the Border Tribe who followed Erik Killmonger. Nakia then reclaimed advanced Ring Blades and, on Shuri's request, wore a Dora Milaje armor. She then left the lab with Shuri, leaving Ross behind so he could take remote control of the Royal Talon Flyer. Nakia and Shuri joined the battlefield on Mount Bashenga and quickly confronted Killmonger as he had defeated Okoye and two other Doras.
Using her Ring Blades, Nakia managed to disarm Killmonger, but he fought back and wounded her on the thigh with his Panther Habit's claws. He then threw Nakia away before turning to Shuri. As Black Panther joined into the fight, Nakia was found by Shuri and they decided to resume the fight against the Border Tribe alongside with the Dora Milaje. However, they were outnumbered and Nakia, Okoye, Shuri and Ayo found themselves cornered by the Border Tribe.
Nakia and the others were eventually saved by M'Baku and the Jabari Tribe, who came into battle to fight for Black Panther. Thanks to these reinforcements, Nakia was able to defeat several members of the Border Tribe. In the end, the Border Tribe surrendered while Black Panther successfully defeated Killmonger.
Helping the World
- "This will be the first Wakandan International Outreach Center. Nakia will oversee the social outreach."
In the aftermath of the Battle of Mount Bashenga, Nakia was present in the throne room as T'Challa returned as the rightful King of Wakanda. She then took another walk with T'Challa in the streets of the Golden City. When T'Challa thanked her for having saved both himself and Wakanda, Nakia simply replied that she had done her duty and protected what she loved, prompting T'Challa to kiss her. Nakia kissed him back and T'Challa announced that he had found a way for her to fulfill her plans of providing the world with assistance.
As T'Challa decided to create Wakandan International Outreach Centre, Nakia was appointed a head of the social outreach department. She then accompanied T'Challa to Vienna for a United Nations meeting during which T'Challa decided to open Wakanda to the world, following Nakia's advice.
- "If you were not so stubborn, you would make a great queen."
"I would make a great queen because I am so stubborn."
- ―T'Challa and Nakia
Despite being loyal to Wakanda and has the country's best interests in mind always, Nakia disapproved of Wakanda's secretive, isolationist political policies, seeing it as obstacles holding Wakanda back from making the world a better place, instead of effective and efficient measures of keeping Wakanda safe. Despite her duties as a War Dog being mainly espionage and little else, she consistently gets involved in conflicts for the good of others, adamant to use her abilities to help those in need. Her insistence of not sitting by idly while others are suffering, coupled with her open disapproval of Wakanda's isolationism, results in her constantly being outside of the country helping others when she does not need to. Her stance and her headstrong attitude often have her coming to idealistic clashes with T'Challa, despite both having clear romantic affections for each other.
- Expert Spy: Nakia was a member of the War Dogs, Wakanda's spy group. As such, she was able to flawlessly infiltrate a kidnapping.
- Expert Martial Artist: Nakia took down multiple goons of Ulysses Klaue's using different techniques and has held her own against Erik Killmonger, even disarming him, while he was imbued with the power of the Heart-Shaped Herb and the Golden Jaguar Habit. It is also suggested she is the top warrior in the River Tribe as she was standing next to the River Tribe Elder holding her weapons during the Incoronation of T'Challa and first uttered the tribe's chant as only the warriors did during the ceremony.
- Expert Marksman: Due to her War Dog training, Nakia is able to handle firearms with great proficiency, as shown when she shot down two of Klaue’s men at the casino fight.
- Multilingualism: Nakia is fluent in her native language, Xhosa, as well as English and Korean.
- Ring Blades: Nakia's Ring Blades are charged with some form of energy and are seen as being able to bounce back to her grip after throwing one at Erik Killmonger. It is unclear whether or not this is because of skill or technology though. She used the same weapon to fight several members of the Border Tribe.
- Kimoyo Beads: Have the standard abilities of Kimoyo Beads.
- Dora Milaje Armor: Despite not being a member of the Dora Milaje, Nakia wore the standard armor of the Wakandan elite guard during the Battle of Mount Bashenga.
- In the comics, Nakia was rescued by Erik Killmonger and then became his ally, taking the alias of Malice.
Behind the Scenes
- Maria Hippolyte, Niahlah Hope and Brionna Maria Lynch were stunt doubles for Lupita Nyong'o in the role of Nakia.
- Lupita Nyong'o called Nakia a "departure" from her comic counterpart, calling her a "war dog ... an undercover spy for Wakanda. Her job is to go out into the world and report back on what’s going on."
- According to Ryan Coogler, Nakia was heavily inspired by abolitionist and political leader Harriet Tubman, who served as a spy and agitator during the American Civil War.