- "The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquered and the conquerors. I'd rather be the former."
- ―W'Kabi to Black Panther
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 Black Panther returned to challenge Killmonger, W'Kabi led the fight against his former friend and M'Baku, leading to him being forced by Okoye to surrender.
W'Kabi was born in Wakanda, an isolationist country and technologically advanced with his parents and the Border Tribe. During his childhood, he met T'Challa with whom he maintained a strong friendly relationship.
One day, as the Wakanda prospered, a weapons trafficker named Ulysses Klaue managed to enter the Wakanda to steal vibranium. To mark the blow, he blew a bomb at the border, which seriously affects the Border Tribe, and killed especially the parents of W'Kabi. 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 made no decision about Klaue and was therefore desperately awaiting the arrival of a new king.
- "You let the refugees in, you let in all their problems."
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.
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.
Learning Klaue's Location
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.
The latter replied that allowing refugees to enter would bring problems, which would lead to trivializing Wakanda and destroying it so that it became 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
T'Challa refused to ask him his name, 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.
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.
When Killmonger prepared to deal the fatal blow to his opponent, Zuri stops 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. Having won the fight, he claimed to be the new king.
Following Killmonger's Rule
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.
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.
Confronted by Okoye
To be added
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.
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. T'Challa then asked 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 with a bombardon. 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. 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. W'Kabi descended from his rhinoceros and 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 realise 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.
- "The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquerors and the conquered. I'd rather be the former."
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, making him realize that he is doing his country more harm than good if his tribe continues fighting his countrymen, causing him to abandon Killmonger's cause.
Ability to summon his horde of White Rhinoceros with the blow of his horn.
- 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.