Since Wakanda (FOREVER!) is the most technologically advanced nation in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it only makes sense that the country would have an ever-expanding archive of scientific data at their disposal. Indeed, Shuri (Wakanda's princess and also its brightest mind) has been keeping a close eye on empirical and theoretical advancements that date back to the 1940s when Howard Stark assisted in the creation of Captain America.
All of her research is compiled into one convenient database known as The Wakanda Files — a brand-new book from Epic Ink. Described as a "A Technological Exploration of the Avengers and Beyond," the 160-page tome (now on sale) helps flesh out the MCU with insights on human enhancement, transportation, weapons, artificial intelligence, weapons, and mind control. It covers everything from the birth of Captain America to the time-traveling possibilities of the Quantum Realm. There's even an explanation for what happened to that bottle of soda containing a droplet of Bruce Banner's gamma-irradiated blood. Plus, make sure to scour each page for hidden messages with a Kimoyo Bead-shaped UV light.
SYFY WIRE has only just scratched the surface of The Wakanda Files, but here are five tidbits we learned from our first read-through...
According to The Wakanda Files, Shuri began looking into a way to synthesize the Heart-Shaped Herb (the plant that gives the Black Panther their abilities) after Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) burned the entire supply following his usurpation of the throne. She even considers stabilizing the effects of her synthetic herb by adding some vibranium into the mix, but notes that she can't do much until she has studied a sample of the original botanical.
Shuri later notes that she finds herself fascinated with the Extremis research done by Aldrich Killian's colleague, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). While Extremis ended up causing people to explode, it follows the line of thinking that if you treat "the human brain like a supercomputer" you can make it think "that it has the abilities of cytokini and auxin in plants," which then allows the body to regrow lost appendages. Shuri states that the idea "has potential," hinting that she'll be picking up where Hansen and A.I.M. left off. M.O.D.O.K. here we come!
Oh, and you know that cool remote driving Shuri did in Seoul? Yeah, that tech only works on cars made in the 1970s or later, according to The Wakanda Files.
Captain America's body is insanely strong
OK, yeah — we already knew that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was a "super-soldier," but what exactly does that mean? Well, after being injected with Dr. Erskine's serum and exposed to Vita-Rays, Cap's metabolism became so fast that he can burn almost 8,000 calories a day, simply by resting! That increased metabolism is also why he was able to survive in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic without dying. According to a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. memo sent to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) from Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), "his increased metabolism and his increased immune system put him into a cryogenic hibernation."
Even the Nazis thought Red Skull was nuts
When Nazis (yeah, those guys) start thinking you're too hardcore, then maybe there's something wrong with you. In a telegram to Doctor Zola (Toby Jones), Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller accuses Johann Schmidt (aka Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving) of madness. After diverting money and resources to HYDRA, the German High Command was becoming very impatient with waiting for Schmidt to fulfill his promise of delivering wonder weapons. Little did they know that Red Skull was planning to double-cross them.
Like Steve Rogers, Schmidt was given a dose of Erskine's serum, albeit a prototype version. This gave him the "strength of 10 men or more," according to some World War II-era testimony from Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). However, there were unforeseen and "extreme side effects," Carter says, "including the burning away of the skin and tissue surrounding his skull and nasal cavity [which] left an unpleasant red scab."
A possible Shang-Chi tease?
In the book, the opening chapter on "Human Enhancement" features a memo from the office of President Ellis (William Sadler) to the U.S. Secretary of Defense that mentions "the current threat of the Mandarin and the Ten Rings." While this is framed within the context of Iron Man 3 (in which the Mandarin was revealed to be a two-bit actor named Trevor Slattery), there's no way that this isn't a clever nod to fans excited to see the real Mandarin played by Tony Leung in Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi movie. The threat is still out there!
As the Marvel one-shot All Hail the King revealed, the actual Mandarin (and by extension, his terrorist group known as the Ten Rings) wasn't happy about being impersonated. In the comics, the rings are alien-made objects that grant different abilities to the person who wields them. With that in mind, it's no stretch of the imagination to think that Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) will be tasked with overcoming the otherworldly powers of the Mandarin's hand bling.
Tony was aware of branching realities
Thanks to some wisdom from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), we know that the Infinity Stones create the literal flow of time. If one is removed from the past, it doesn't alter the present, but creates an entirely new reality that branches off in its own unique direction that often leads to disaster. That's why it was so important for Cap to return each one to their respective time periods following the "time heist" in Avengers: Endgame.
That said, the book makes it seem like Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was already aware of this fact in an encrypted message sent to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), in which he shares his findings on the time-space GPS. Using David Deutsch's model of Quantum mechanics, Tony writes that "altering events of the past could never affect the continuous loop. Though, it could create tangential split-timelines." He quickly follows that up with: "Let's not worry about that for the time being, right? One reality at a time. For all our sanity."