Today, the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped, and obviously, it was epic.
We got to see more of the Hulkbuster armor, Andy Serkis (CGI-free, at that!), Tony Stark clearly screwing up ("Everyone creates the thing they dread"), and shot after shot of Avengers and robots causing chaos all over the place. It's wonderful.
However, there is one shot that stuck out in my mind. Not just because it is hauntingly beautiful, but because my first thought on seeing it was, "Who the heck is that?!"?
A beautiful bald woman in a cave strips off her cloak....and that is that. As far as I am aware, we have never seen her before, and we don't know who she is, but I have a theory (it could be bunnies).
Could she be linked to the Black Panther?
My first thought was that Marvel could have really done something incredible and decided to make a female Black Panther. Then, I remembered that Black Panther has already been cast, and Chadwick Boseman will be taking on the role. So much for that.
However, I can't help but think that there is a link in there. We know that T'Challa will be appearing in Captain America: Civil War, followed by a solo movie planned for release in 2017. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be some kind of a lead-up or introduction to Wakanda within Age of Ultron - with the Avengers fighting themselves and Ultron and his robot army causing chaos, one of the most technologically advanced civilizations on Earth wouldn't just stand by and do nothing.
In fact, in Iron Man 2, the map behind Tony Stark shows that the location of Wakanda is known, suggesting that Tony may even call for help from the tribe when he realizes just what he has done.
So if they don't send Black Panther to his aid, who could be the one to come?
The answer is simple: Shuri.
Could she be Shuri?
The younger sister of T'Challa, Shuri, is a warrior princess of Wakanda (and now Queen), has the power of the Heart-Shaped-Herb, and originally wanted to be Black Panther herself. This is an absolutely epic character to bring to the Marvel-verse, and an addition that could go so many different ways.
Shuri could be sent as a representative of Wakanda, but I think that I would rather see her jealous and competitive side come out in the form of her heading to the Avengers without Black Panther's knowledge. One of the big questions with expansions is always, "why have we never heard of this before?" and a headstrong Shuri could be used to bring Wakanda into play, explaining why they had previously chosen to stay out of the battles in the rest of the world.
What her inclusion could bring
Including Shuri would also help quiet the critics who claim that there are too few women in the Avengers franchise - another female as a superhero (as opposed to a love interest) would be a welcome addition to the films.
She could then appear in Civil War alongside Black Panther, as well as in the Black Panther movie - that is one movie that I wouldn't mind seeing as an origin story, and Shuri is hugely important to T'Challa's roots. (Not to mention she would provide some female balance, given that Marvel cannot include Storm in his story.)
Now that I've thought of it, I would actually be pretty upset if this mystery woman from the trailer didn't turn out to be Shuri! Do you agree? Who do you think this could be?