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"Some truths... are too much to bear, T'Challa."
―Zuri to T'Challa[src]

Zuri was a former member of the War Dogs and a Wakandan shaman and the trusted loyal adviser to his King. Having maintained T'Chaka's secrets over his handling of the death of N'Jobu in the past, Zuri continued supporting the King of Wakanda as T'Challa took over the throne in the wake of the death of T'Chaka. However, when Erik Killmonger returned to Wakanda and challenged T'Challa for the throne of Wakanda, Zuri organized the ritual duel between the pair, only to sacrifice his own life in a desperate attempt to save his king, confessing to Killmonger that he was partly responsible for the death of Killmonger's father.


Early Life

Working with N'Jobu

"Your uncle took a War Dog assignment in America. Your father placed me there to observe..."
―Zuri to T'Challa[src]

Zuri worked for King T'Chaka to stay with N'Jobu to keep an eye on him in Oakland. He posed as a man named James and worked with him when N'Jobu worked with Ulysses Klaue to deal out vibranium.[1]

Betraying N'Jobu

"Did you think you were the only spy we sent here?"
T'Chaka to N'Jobu[src]

Zuri acted out as a personal spy for T'Chaka

When Wakanda was attacked by Klaue, T'Chaka came to N'Jobu and Zuri, knowing that it was N'Jobu who supplied Klaue with the information he needed to attack Wakanda. Zuri revealed that he was Wakandan and N'Jobu lashed out, pulling out his gun on Zuri. However, before N'Jobu could fire, T'Chaka killed his brother. As a result, Zuri and T'Chaka agreed to leave N'Jobu's son, N'Jadaka behind in order to maintain their secret about what happened to N'Jobu.[1]

New King

T'Challa's Coronation

Zuri attending T'Challa's royal coronation

"Victory in ritual combat, comes by yield or death. If any tribe wishes to put forth a warrior, I now offer a path to the throne."

Zuri led T'Challa's coronation ceremony at Warrior Falls. Giving T'Challa the serum that nullified the powers of the Heart-Shaped Herb, Zuri asked if there were any warriors from the other tribes who wished to challenge. To their surprise, the Jabari Tribe, led by M'Baku, arrived to challenge T'Challa for the throne. T'Challa emerged victorious and Zuri proudly crowned him King.[1]

The New King

Zuri sends T'Challa into the Ancestral Plane

"Time, it has a way of making you look back on the things that you have done."
"Do you often look back on your time as a War Dog?"
"No, the outside world is too unpredictable for an old man like me."
―Zuri and T'Challa[src]

Following the coronation, Zuri led the ceremony in a cave where T'Challa would consume the Heart-Shaped Herb in order to regain the power of the Black Panther. Zuri gave T'Challa the potion of the herb as the latter laid and buried in the sand. When T'Challa awakened from his visit to his father in the Ancestral Plane, the newly crowned king told Zuri that T'Chaka really was there with him.

Soon after, Zuri and T'Challa reminisced about their memories of T'Chaka. When T'Challa spoke about how his father had gotten too old to hold the mantle of Panther, Zuri amusingly remarked with the fact that T'Chaka had gotten too fat to fit the suit. T'Challa then sorrowfully told Zuri that he begged his father to not speak in Vienna and asked why T'Chaka wished to put Wakanda's isolationism behind. Zuri replied that time has a way to make people reflect on their past deeds.[1]

Confession to T'Challa

Zuri confesses the terrible truth to T'Challa

"What happened to him?"
"I promised the King to say nothing."
"I am your king now!"
T'Challa and Zuri[src]

T'Challa confronted Zuri about his uncle's disappearance. Zuri swore to secrecy out of respect for T'Chaka before T'Challa furiously insisted he tell the truth. Reluctantly, Zuri told T'Challa of how T'Chaka killed N'Jobu to save him, and how they left his young son behind.[1]

Sacrifice and Death

Zuri attending Erik Killmonger's challenge

"I am the cause of your father's death. Not him. Take me."
"I'll take you both, Uncle James!"
―Zuri and Erik Killmonger[src]

Zuri oversaw the duel between T'Challa and Erik Killmonger at Warrior Falls, once again feeding T'Challa the serum that removed his powers of the Black Panther. T'Challa took a severe beating from Killmonger, whom Zuri stopped from striking a killing blow. Zuri begged Killmonger to spare T'Challa's life, offering his own in his place as amendment for N'Jobu's death. Killmonger furiously impaled Zuri, who fell to the ground dead much to the horror of T'Challa.[1]


Zuri was loyal to Wakanda and its people. He understood the consequences if his country's true nature is revealed to the outside world and would do anything to keep it isolated. As the shaman of the royal court, Zuri was active in preparing and participating in the traditional ceremonies and customs of Wakanda, which include the coronation of the country's new monarch and the monarch's consumption of the Heart-Shaped Herb.

Despite his firm belief in Wakanda's isolation, Zuri has always felt responsible about what happened between T'Chaka and N'Jobu. He knew that he was the cause of N'Jobu's inadvertent death and the abandonment of N'Jobu's son, N'Jadaka, and while it was necessary to maintain the lie of Wakanda, Zuri felt very regretful about keeping the terrible secret from everyone around him for 24 years. Unable to bear the guilt forever, Zuri was willing to confess and have his life taken by N'Jadaka in order to spare T'Challa's.


  • Expert Spy: As a former War Dog, Zuri was able to hide the fact that he was from Wakanda from both N'Jobu and N’Jadaka while he was in an undercover mission to spy on the former.
  • Bilingualism: Zuri was fluent in his native Xhosa, as well as English.



  • Spear of Bashenga:

    Zuri prevents Killmonger from killing T'Challa

    The Spear of Bashenga is the spear that Bashenga used during the war of the five tribes of Wakanda. Zuri equipped the spear while leading T'Challa's coronation ceremony at Warrior Falls. In another coronation of Erik Killmonger, Zuri disarmed him with the spear during the match.

Other Equipment

  • War Dogs Tattoo: As a member of the War Dog, Zuri had issued a hidden tattoo in his gums to signify his status as a Wakandan spy and to identify himself as a War Dog agent for Wakanda.







  • In the comics, Zuri was a friend and companion of King T'Chaka, and served as special attendant and warrior of his son T'Challa. He was also a good friend of Thor.

Behind the Scenes

  • Director Ryan Coogler described Zuri as the "Black Panther's version of Obi-Wan Kenobi": "He's somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure. Spirituality is something that exists in Wakanda in the comics, and it's something we wanted to have elements of in the film. Forest's character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T'Challa's father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance."[2]
  • Kurt DeVille was a stunt double for Forest Whitaker in the role of Zuri.


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