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Some truths...are too much to bear, T'Challa.
~ Zuri to T'Challa.
I am the cause of your father's death. Not him. Take me.
~ Zuri to Killmonger, his final words.

Zuri is a supporting character in the 2018 film Black Panther, being a warrior shaman and advisor of King T'Chaka and his son T'Challa. He is pivotal in the secrecy of T'Chaka's past actions in stopping his brother N'Jobu, and feels regret in leaving Erik Killmonger behind, which resulted in the latter being hellbent in getting revenge on his cousin. Zuri's sacrifice would allow T'Challa to return and defeat Killmonger, and reveal Wakanda to the rest of the world.

He was portrayed by Forrest Whitaker (who also played Saw Gerrera in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order), and Denzel Whitaker young.

Biography

Background

Zuri was born in Wakanda to Badu and an unnamed mother, and his father passed away at an unknown point in time. Once he reached to adulthood, he was recruited into the War Dogs to act as a spy for King T'Chaka. The king would task him to befriend his brother N'Jobu, as he believed that the latter was selling vibranium to their enemies. Traveling to Oakland, California, Zuri took the name "James" and befriended N'Jobu, and learn that T'Chaka's fears were correct. N'Jobu had started to believe Wakanda's isolationism was causing more harm, and wanted to sell vibranium to those who were oppressed. Zuri also became friends with N'Jobu's son N'Jadaka, acting as a honorary uncle to him.

Stopping N'Jobu

N'Jobu started to sell information on Wakanda to the arms dealer Ulysses Klaue, which allowed the criminal to infiltrate the land and collect vibranium for his own benefit. Zuri would inform T'Chaka of N'Jobu's betrayal, and witnessed the king confront his brother in his apartment. Zuri then revealed that he was War Dog as well, which led to N'Jobu to lash out and try to kill his former friend. T'Chaka stopped him and killed his brother, and decided to keep the incident a secret by leaving N'Jadaka behind. Though Zuri agreed to his loyalty to Wakanda, he felt remorse for leaving N'Jadaka in the United States to fend for himself.

At some point in his old age, Zuri retired from being a spy for the War Dogs, but was given the position as a warrior shaman for the Wakandan royal court. He was also given the title as T'Chaka's advisor, where he also befriended Queen Ramonda and their children, Prince T'Challa and Princess Shuri.

Black Panther

Upon T'Challa's return to Wakanda, Zuri led the coronation where he nullified the prince's powers from the heart-shaped herb, and later oversaw T'Challa be challenged by M'Baku. After T'Challa defeated his challenger, he was crowned king and Zuri sent him into the ancestral plane while he received the heart-shaped herb once again. Despite T'Challa having to deal with ruling the land, his position is threatened by Erik Killmonger, who challenged the king after bringing Klaue's corpse. Afterward, T'Challa confronted Zuri and wanted to the truth, and the latter reluctantly explained what happened decades prior. Once the truth was revealed, T'Challa decided to continue with the challenge, and was nearly killed before Zuri stopped Killmonger's killing blow. He then told Erik that he was partly responsible for his father's death, and begged him to kill him instead of T'Challa. Killmonger then impaled Zuri with his own spear, stating that he would take him and T'Challa.

After Zuri's death, Killmonger was crowned king and proceeded to plan selling vibranium to those who were oppressed, as T'Challa was defeated but saved by Nakia. T'Challa would return and defeat his cousin, and decided to reveal Wakanda to the rest of the world.

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