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"Wakanda survived in the past this way, yes. But the world is changing, General. Elders, it is getting smaller. The outside world is catching up and soon it will be the conquerors or the conquered. I'd rather be the former."
―W'Kabi to Okoye[src]

W'Kabi is the former head of security for Wakanda's Border Tribe as well as T'Challa's best friend. Having lost his faith in his king due to his failure to capture Ulysses Klaue, the man who was responsible for the death of his parents, W'Kabi put his support in Erik Killmonger, allowing him to take the throne of Wakanda and seemingly kill T'Challa as a result. When his former king returned to challenge Killmonger, W'Kabi led the fight against T'Challa and M'Baku, leading to him being forced by Okoye to surrender.

Biography

Early Life

W'Kabi was born in Wakanda, a technologically advanced and isolationist country, living with his parents and the Border Tribe. During his childhood, he met T'Challa with whom he maintained a strong friendly relationship.[1]

Attack on Wakanda

"My parents were killed when he attacked. Not a day goes by when I do not think about what Klaue took from us. From me."
―W'Kabi to Black Panther[src]

One day, as the Wakanda prospered, a weapons trafficker named Ulysses Klaue managed to infiltrate Wakanda and steal a quarter-ton of vibranium. To facilitate his escape, Klaue triggered a bomb at the border, killing several members of the Border Tribe, including W'Kabi's parents. Unable to recover from this trauma, he began to devote a deep hatred to Klaue and swore to hunt him down until his death.

Years later, W'Kabi became the leader of the Border Tribe, which offered him a place on the Tribal Council with the king and father of his best friend, T'Chaka. He also met Okoye and the two fell in love with each other. Throughout T'Chaka's reign, W'Kabi was disappointed that his King's supposed failure to find Klaue and was therefore desperately awaiting the arrival of a new King.[1]

New King

T'Challa's Coronation

Border Tribe

W'Kabi stands alongside the Border Tribe

"You let the refugees in, you let in all their problems."
―W'Kabi[src]

Following the death of king T'Chaka in Vienna, W'Kabi's friend T'Challa returned to Wakanda to be crowned and become the new king. A big ceremony was organized in his honor, and all of Wakanda gathered to dance and sing before the ritual fight. After the festivities, all the tribes gathered at the Warrior Falls to assist the fight. The shaman Zuri then welcomed T'Challa and asked all the tribes if one of their warriors had the will to fight for the throne. W'Kabi then began to refuse that a member of his tribe confront T'Challa.

W'Kabi T'Challa-M'Baku Duel

W'Kabi roots for T'Challa to win the duel

While no tribe accepts the challenge, the Jabari Tribe intervened spectacularly while shouting although they were unexpected. The chief of this tribe, M'Baku, agreed to challenge T'Challa, considering him as incapable of governing as his father. The challenge took place and, after heavy blows, T'Challa was largely dominated by his opponent. W'Kabi then supported his friend by encouraging him with every stroke he took. T'Challa ended up winning the fight by sparing M'Baku.[1]

Learning Klaue's Location

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W'Kabi offers some advice for T'Challa

"Take me with you. We'll take him down together side by side."
"I need you here. Protecting the border."
"Then I ask... you kill him where he stands or you bring him back to us."
"You have my word. I will bring him back."
―W'Kabi and T'Challa[src]

Following the Incoronation of T'Challa, W'Kabi went to his rhinoceros pen to feed his animals. T'Challa joined him and complimented him on the fact that his rhinos had grown up under the wing of his friend. W'Kabi replied that he had learned of Nakia's return to Wakanda and asked his friend if their relationship would resume. T'Challa, embarrassed, replied that Nakia wanted to improve Wakanda's international relations by letting impotent refugees into the country, which ran counter to W'Kabi's traditions and advice.

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W'Kabi gives his input to the Tribal Council

The latter replied that allowing refugees to enter would bring problems with them, which would lead to Wakanda becoming a country like the others. However, W'Kabi proposed to T'Challa to let him take his army to restore order and peace in the world, which he would do without hesitation. T'Challa, attached to the traditions of the country, was perplexed when using violence.[1]

Losing Faith

W'KabiFurious

W'Kabi asks T'Challa about his mission

"For thirty years, your father was in power and did nothing. With you, I thought it'd be different. But it's more of the same."
―W'Kabi to T'Challa[src]

Hearing the return of T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia, W'Kabi rushed to Shuri's Lab to see if his friend had brought Ulysses Klaue back as he had promised. He found the king at the entrance to the lab and asked if he brought Klaue back, looking all around him with a lot of enthusiasm. T'Challa told him that Klaue escaped just after being captured.

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W'Kabi is furious with T'Challa's failure

W'Kabi changed his expression directly and explained to T'Challa that for many years he lost hope in T'Chaka, who had anything to do with his parents' killer, but that his son was crowned, he had hopes things were going to change. W'Kabi ended up saying that he had nothing more to support for T'Challa, that was to say that the way of acting does not yet have a difference compared to that of the former king. After a last look of disappointment, W'Kabi left the room and returned to the border.[1]

Meeting Killmonger

Border Tribe Killmonger's Arrival

W'Kabi is approached by Erik Killmonger

"What is this?"
"Just a little gift."
―W'Kabi and Erik Killmonger[src]

While W'Kabi was monitoring the Wakanda border, he saw a man, Erik Killmonger, get off a plane and arrive with a long bag. W'Kabi approached him with his men and asked him what the bag contained. Killmonger told him that it's a present and starts to open the bag, which did not please W'Kabi and his men who drew their weapons. Killmonger hardly paid attention to it and still opened the bag under the petrified eyes of W'Kabi who discovered Ulysses Klaue's corpse. W'Kabi then asked Killmonger who he was right before reporting the Tribal Council. By taking Killmonger, he discovered that he is wearing the same royal ring as T'Challa.

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W'Kabi escorts Erik Killmonger into the throne

Once the Tribal Council meet, W'Kabi opened the door and accompanied Killmonger so that he can explain. Killmonger openly exposed his plan to conquer the throne in order to restore order in the world, which provokes a laugh from the Ancients. T'Challa then went to Killmonger telling him that he knew who he was. Killmonger then provoked the whole room by asking them to ask who he was, Shuri replied that his name is Erik Stevens, and that he is a former United States Armed Forces soldier, to which Killmonger responded that this was absolutely not his true identity.

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W'Kabi witnesses Erik Killmonger's testimony

T'Challa refused to ask him his name and continued to tell his guards to take him away, and ordered W'Kabi and his men to remove him from the room. The River Tribe Elder could not help asking for the identity of the stranger, and Killmonger reveals that his name is actually N'Jadaka, son of Prince N'Jobu and legitimate heir to the throne. The whole room being in shock, Ramonda suspected him of lying, but W'Kabi proved the opposite by showing him the royal ring. Killmonger therefore proposed to T'Challa to challenge him to give him a chance to become the new King of Wakanda, believing that he is legitimate.[1]

Defeat of T'Challa

As W'Kabi watched on, T'Challa therefore accepted Erik Killmonger's request and the two meet on Warrior Falls to fight for the throne. During the fight, T'Challa was largely dominated by Killmonger, who during the fight explained his motives for governing Wakanda and offering help to the most oppressed people. His speech appealed to W'Kabi who, despite the fact that T'Challa was his best friend, supported Killmonger to finally hope to see the Wakanda accept his revolutionary ideas.

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W'Kabi witness Erik Killmonger's coronation

When Killmonger prepared to deal the fatal blow to his opponent, Zuri stopped him by saying that he is the only person to blame for the murder of his father. In response, Killmonger killed Zuri in front of the public, and T'Challa screamed in pain at the death of his friend. In the next second, Killmonger finished T'Challa and threw him into the river before gloating of his tyranny as the King. Having won the fight, Killmonger claimed to be the new king.[1]

Following Killmonger's Rule

BP W'Kabi Listens to Killmonger

W'Kabi listens to Erik Killmonger's speech

"The world is changing, General. Elders, it is getting smaller. The outside world is catching up… and soon it will be the conquerors or the conquered. I'd rather be the former."
―W'Kabi to Okoye[src]

Satisfied with Erik Killmonger's victory, W'Kabi waited for his arrival at the Tribal Council with Okoye, the Dora Milaje and the Ancients. Killmonger then went to his throne and sat down, expressing a sense of accomplishment. He then explained his plan to help oppressed countries around the world by offering Vibranium weapons to War Dogs all around the globe.

BP Conquerors or the Conquered

W'Kabi expresses his opinion to the council

W'Kabi agreed until Okoye said that Killmonger's methods are not the ones Wakanda generally used. W'Kabi replied that the world is changing, and that Wakanda should do the same to stay better and not be conquered, which did not please Okoye who abstained all from even to answer. Killmonger ultimately ordered him to respect the orders he has given and begin the operation.[1]

Confronted by Okoye

Okoye & W'Kabi Arguement 1

W'Kabi and Okoye argue about their operation

"He was not fit to rule, T'Challa told me to my face right here, that he would bring Klaue back, did he do it?"
"He had him, and N'Jadaka stole him from our..."
"I don't care! Klaue stole from us!"
―W'Kabi and Okoye[src]

Away from prying eyes, Okoye then had words with her husband, perturbed by his support of Erik Killmonger's usurpation of the throne. W'Kabi, however, found every justification he could as he remembers loosing his parents to Ulysses Klaue's incursion into Wakanda to steal their sacred Vibranium. Despite Okoye's defense of T'Challa's limited courses of actions for handling the situation, W'Kabi's anger and frustration was visible.

Okoye & W'Kabi Arguement 3

W'Kabi loses his faith in T'Challa's royalty

As they continued to debate the idea, W'Kabi voiced support for Killmonger's plan to conquer the world under a united Wakandan rule, to have their children lives as rulers, something which greatly disturbed a traditionalist such as Okoye; who was also seeing the logic in Killmonger's ideology as no different than colonizers of past eras in human history. Following their heated talk, the two part ways for now, though bitterly, to return to their regular duties. W'Kabi feeling as though he did not reach his wife, while Okoye feels her husband has been easily radicalized by Killmonger.

Battle of Mount Bashenga

BP Killmonger (Orders Weapons)

W'Kabi gives his orders out to Erik Killmonger

"You would kill me my love?"
"For Wakanda? Without question."
―W'Kabi and Okoye[src]

On Mount Bashenga, W'Kabi stood beside Erik Killmonger and the Wakandan armies as they prepared to begin the operation. Killmonger sent cargo planes across the border while W'Kabi followed him listening to his plan. Killmonger, ambitious, observed all the weapons in Vibranium but was interrupted by a big explosion of one of the planes he had launched. This explosion drew all the attention, and the Black Panther revealed himself, revealing to everyone that he is still alive and that, consequently, the fight was not over.

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W'Kabi witnesses T'Challa's sudden return

Killmonger refused to accept the fact that the ritual fight was still in progress, considering that this ritual is now a thing of the past, and ordered W'Kabi to kill him. Okoye tried desperately to dissuade W'Kabi from obeying Killmonger, but W'Kabi, stubborn with the idea of ​​seeing Wakanda dominate the world, called his tribe and into battle against the Black Panther. W'Kabi is therefore right in front of his former friend and began to hit him with his vibranium billhook, but he was soon beaten.

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W'Kabi commands the Border Tribe to attack

T'Challa then urged him to surrender and stop the slaughter, but W'Kabi did not listen to a word and stood on a rock to call his White Rhinoceros to bombard they're way into the battle. Rhinoceros arrive on the battlefield and W'Kabi rode one to impinge on his path. With the help of his tribe, W'Kabi managed to encircle Nakia, Okoye, Shuri and Ayo with energy shields. W'Kabi ordered them to go in exactly three seconds.

W'KabiConfrontedByOkoye

W'Kabi is confronted by Okoye

As he began his countdown, W'Kabi is violently interrupted by M'Baku and his Jabari Tribe, then came to help the Black Panther in his fight. The energy shield is destroyed by the Jabari Tribe and the fight resumed. W'Kabi, determined to finish, used his rhinoceros to attack M'Baku, but his beast recognized Okoye who stood right in front of him, and started to lick her.

BP - W'Kabi and Tribe Yields

W'Kabi is finally defeated by Okoye

W'Kabi descended from his rhinoceros and Okoye demanded him to lay down his weapon. Feeling betrayed, W'Kabi asked his wife if she would kill him. Okoye told him that she would do so without question for Wakanda and this finally caused him to realize just how twisted he had become in his aggression. Not wanting to see his people kill each other, W'Kabi surrendered and knelt down before his love, with all his tribe who followed him without hesitation.[1]

Personality

W'Kabi is a warrior with immense loyalty to Wakanda, who, like T'Challa, has doubts about Wakanda's isolationist policies. Since his parents' death by the hands of Ulysses Klaue, he has developed a longstanding, burning desire for revenge on Klaue, but loyalty to his country and dedication to his duty as leader of the Border Tribe, as well as head of the protectors of Wakanda's borders, prevent him for exacting his revenge. Nevertheless, he resented the former king T'Chaka for not doing anything to apprehend or terminate Klaue, and jumped on any chance to officially go outside of the country to pursue his family's killer. Growing up together with T'Challa, they become fast friends due to similarities in mindsets, with both sharing immense love and loyalty for their country, a warrior mindset, and doubts about Wakanda's isolationism. However, unlike T'Challa who is comparatively mild-mannered and tries to avoid using force whenever possible, W'Kabi is notably more aggressive and sports a shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude when dealing with threats of any kind.

Notably disappointed after T'Challa fails to apprehend or kill Klaue on the new king's mission to pursue the notorious arms dealer, W'Kabi's friendship with T'Challa falters, claiming his friend to be just "more of the same". When Erik Killmonger comes carrying Klaue's dead body as a gift and proves his lineage as T'Challa's cousin and a Wakandan by blood, W'Kabi is quick to take Killmonger's side when he challenges T'Challa for the throne, seeing his former friend to be too weak and ineffective to be king. While wary of Killmonger's apparent lack of care for both his duty as King of Wakanda and Wakandan customs, as well as eagerness to wage a war against the entire world when he takes the throne, W'Kabi's inherent aggressiveness and doubts about Wakanda's isolationism lead him to follow his king's orders faithfully nonetheless. He goes as far as to call on the Border Tribe to attack T'Challa despite the fact that Killmonger's claim of the throne is being contested, as the duel deciding who will be king can only end with one contender dead or yielded, but T'Challa never yielded during the duel, and comes back alive ready to fight.

However, W'Kabi's loyalty to his country and fellow countrymen, especially his wife Okoye, ultimately prevails over his personal agenda and beliefs, as shown by how he at first felt betrayed by Okoye siding against him and even being willing to kill him, clearly showing how he felt betrayed when he questioned Okoye for her threat of him, only for Okoye to instead give him a chance to reconsider by appealing to his loyalty to Wakanda, saying she would not hesitate to kill him for Wakanda. These words made him realize that despite his previous beliefs that his country would be able to evolve while also helping the rest of the world, what he was doing was instead doing more harm than good for Wakanda if his tribe continues fighting his countrymen and not desiring to have his people kill one another, he eventually abandoned Killmonger's cause and ordered his tribesmen to surrender.

Abilities

  • Combatant: W'Kabi displayed excellent fighting skills, as he defeated many of his opponents during the Battle of Mount Bashenga and even managed to land a hit on T'Challa, although he was overpowered.

Equipment

  • Kimoyo Beads: A Wakandan device that allows him to communicate with others.
  • Vibranium Mambele: A vibranium sickle-sword that W'Kabi used against T'Challa.
  • Blowhorn: W'Kabi can summon his horde of White Rhinoceros with the blow of his horn.

Facilities

Relationships

Family

  • Father †
  • Mother †
  • Okoye - Wife
  • Children

Allies

Enemies

Trivia

  • In the comics, W'Kabi was the chief of the Wakandan security and T'Challa's second in command.

Behind the Scenes

References

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