One of Marvel Comics’ greatest and sometimes heartbreaking love stories is that of the X-Men’s Storm and T’Challa, the Black Panther. Even if they didn’t have a romantic history, the two share the honor of being the publisher’s most prominent African superheroes. But the bond runs far deeper than that for the Kenyan mutant weather goddess and the King of Wakanda. Although, it took decades for both characters to tie the knot. But could we maybe see that history play out, in a way, in Wakanda Forever? Before we get to that, here’s a history of the romance between the King and Queen of Wakanda.
The Marvel Comics History of X-Men’s Storm and Black Panther
Storm’s history in the comics is far more expansive than anything we saw in the Fox X-Men films. She was born Ororo Munroe, the child of an American photojournalist and a Kenyan Princess. Although born in the U.S., Ororo’s parents eventually moved to Cairo, Egypt. While still a child, both her parents died in a tragic accident, leaving Ororo homeless. Left to wander the streets of Cairo alone, she became a child pickpocket, stealing for Achmed El Gibár, who was essentially an adoptive parent for her. She would later work for the Shadow King, which facilitated her first encounter with a young Charles Xavier.
Eventually, she left Cairo to discover her roots in her mother’s homeland of Kenya. On her way there, she came across a young T’Challa, who had left Wakanda to learn about the world. He ended up getting kidnapped, and Ororo rescued him using her recently emerged mutant weather-controlling powers. The two teenagers had an instant bond, and young love blossomed between them. But the duties of the throne called to T’Challa, and the two would not reunite until they were both adult superheroes, one an Avenger, and one an X-Man. This story was told by the Uncanny X-Men dream team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, in 1980’s Marvel-Team Up #100.
However, that’s not the only version of how the pair met. In a later Storm mini-series in 2006, their first encounter was retconned. It was now a young T’Challa who saved a young Storm. At the time, Marvel Comics was giving more importance to their Avengers franchise than the X-Men, so they probably wanted to uplift one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes over an X-Man. Regardless of what the “true” first meeting was, their young romance was still a part of their past. It was shocking that it took Marvel Comics over 25 years to revisit it in a meaningful way.
The Marriage of King T’Challa and Queen Ororo
In the mid-2000s, T’Challa rekindled his love for Ororo, and helped her reunite with both her American and Kenyan relatives. In 2006, in Black Panther Volume 4: #14 and #15, King T’Challa finally proposed to Storm. Ororo, having broken up with her former X-Man love Forge, said yes to her childhood sweetheart. The wedding took place in Black Panther Volume 4: #18. This occurred right in the middle of the superhero Civil War, and the Avengers and others called a truce so everyone could attend the festive occasion. For one day at least, they all put their grievances aside to celebrate the happy couple.
Wakandan Power Couple
For the next six years, the royal couple had a fairytale romance. Well, as much as can be possible for two active superheroes. During the Civil War, both Black Panther and Storm were on team Cap (something MCU T’Challa was definitely not at first). For a brief time, both Black Panther and Storm were members of the Fantastic Four. In fact, the FF’s Baxter Building served as the Wakandan embassy in the United States. When T’Challa slipped into a coma after the events of Dark Reign, after which his sister Shuri became Black Panther, Ororo stayed by his side as Queen until he awoke. What would ultimately tear them apart for good was their loyalties to their respective superhero families — the Avengers and the X-Men.
Why Did Black Panther and Storm Divorce?
Ultimately, what broke the royal couple apart was the Avengers vs. X-Men event, or AvX. When the Phoenix force was returning to Earth, the mutant population, which had been decimated by the Scarlet Witch, believed the Phoenix could reactivate the X-gene. The Avengers saw the destructive Phoenix Force as too unpredictable, something that needed stopping. This caused a massive war between the two teams. Black Panther took the side of the Avengers, and his wife, the side of the X-Men.
When Namor the Sub-Mariner, now powered by the Phoenix and on the side of the X-Men, flooded Wakanda, the casualties were severe. Unable to forgive his wife for taking the side of the X-Men over the kingdom she ruled over, T’Challa had the High Priest of the Panther Clan annul their marriage. It just so happened that the Black Panther was the High Priest. The two heroes separated, and although there was much bitterness between them at first, they are now fairly amicable exes.
Black Panther and Storm’s Son, Azari
Although Storm and Black Panther split up in the 616 universe, there were worlds in the Multiverse where they not only didn’t divorce, they actually had a child. On both Earth-555326 and Earth-10943, the two had a son named Azari T’Challa. In the animated film Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, they introduced us to the first version of Azari, a teen who inherited his father’s powers of the Heart-Shaped Herb, and the control over lightning of his mutant mother.
For the comics, another teenage version of Azari debuted in 2010, with the same power set. He lives on the same Earth as other next-generation heroes like Spider-Girl. So far, there’s no sign that T’Challa and Ororo in the 616 are getting back together, much less having a child. But anything is possible in comics. And eventually, those comics might inform the MCU.
Could Storm Make Her MCU Debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
For years, fans have speculated that Storm might make her MCU debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Janelle Monáe even petitioned Ryan Coogler to play the part. But so far, it seems like Storm is not in the film. At least, that’s what they’ve told us. Marvel has held on to some pretty big secrets before. So we wouldn’t be that shocked to see Storm show up. One popular fan theory suggests that Nakia is an assumed name for Ororo. One that she used as a Wakandan War Dog, and her mutant powers will activate in Wakanda Forever. Thus, revealing that she has always been Storm. Now wouldn’t that be wild?
And if Nakia becomes Black Panther, it would mean our second protector of Wakanda is an iconic X-Man. But since Nakia is a long-time comic book character, we’re not sure Marvel would want to erase one character to serve another. While we sadly won’t ever see Chadwick Boseman’s Panther romance Storm, the Multiverse is vast. So who knows? Maybe Storm and another version of T’Challa are happily married on Battleworld? Meaning we may see a version of the royal couple in Secret Wars. Stranger things have happened in the MCU.