• What exactly is the Ancestral Plane? I am happy to accept answers from the comics if the two planes are related.

After rewatching Black Panther I am more curious about the Ancestral Plane. We do not learn much about it from the MCU film(s) as far as I can tell:

  1. You go there by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb.
  2. You need to be fully covered?
  3. It would seem you gain the ability to communicate with the dead...
  4. Or you merely have a serious acid trip?

Looking at the Marvel Wiki the Ancestral Plane article does not even mention Black Panther... It seems to really relate only to America Chavez:

From The Wiki

Is this because the the Plane from the MCU is completely independent of the Plane from the comics? Below the video on this link the paragraph notes the comics, but the link takes you to the MCU wiki which obviously just rehashes what we see in the film...

Is there a more thorough explanation of the Ancestral Plane from Black Panther? Is there something/ some resource I missed that will shed more light on this?

  • 1
    My guess after only having watched the MCU movies, is probably your option 4, but perhaps someone who has read the comics can offer another perspective.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 18:38
  • It's magic. :) Alien metal magic.
    – Adamant
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 20:55
  • “Is this because the the Plane from the MCU is completely independent of the Plane from the comics?” Everything in the MCU is independent of the comics. The MCU is an adaptation, and as such will feature whatever makes sense for the movies. Commented May 20, 2018 at 14:05
  • 3
    (2/2) (WARNING!! Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War ahead) Thor was able to talk with Odin at the end of Thor: Ragnarok and Thanos is visited by Gamorra. My understanding is that the Ancestral Dimension is not a "material dimension" similar to our dimension with its rules of physics, but a spiritual dimension with its own rules that are influenced by people that live or visit there. (the Black Panther and Ragnarok's Ancestral Dimension may be the same, while I guess the one in Infinity War may be a similar but unrelated dimension).
    – Taladris
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 14:38
  • 1
    It's the plane of their ancestors, what?
    – Möoz
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 8:06

2 Answers 2


We may have got a little more colour about the Ancestral Plane prior to Black Panther, in Captain America: Civil War:

T'CHALLA: In my culture death is not the end. It's more of a… stepping-off point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into the green veldt where… you can run forever.

NATASHA ROMANOFF: That sounds very peaceful.


The Ancestral Plane in Black Panther pretty much looks like a veldt? T’Challa sounds like he’s speaking metaphorically about the afterlife (“in my culture”), but that may be the traditional Wakandan caution about revealing too much to outsiders.

As such, the Ancestral Plane may be a literal afterlife, where the actual consciousnesses of dead people go after human death, and which living people can access using the Heart-Shaped Herb. (Perhaps only people who have ingested the herb have their consciousnesses go there after death too, although Killmonger seems to meet his dad there, so perhaps not*.)

Alternatively, as you say, the whole thing may be just one big hallucination, a bit like the cave in The Empire Strikes Back. Or, indeed, some combination of the two. As Taladris commented above, we have seen two other apparent conversations with dead people (reference acknowledged) in the MCU. The Heart-Shaped Herb might be another way to achieve that, whilst the Plane could be our puny human brains interpreting the experience in a way we can understand.

* As such, since the events of Avengers: Infinity War...

... it might be getting a bit crowded up in there.

  • +1 I forgot about that scene from Civil War... but Killmonger did ingest the Herb as well in Black Panther, that is what gives the power of the Black Panther. He ingested his right before he instructs the to burn the rest.
    – Odin1806
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 16:05
  • 5
    @Odin1806: yup yup — I meant maybe the only people who go there after death are people who ingested the herb. That can’t be true, because Killmonger’s dad was there when Killmonger went there, and Killmonger’s dad (presumably) never ingested the herb, having never been King of Wakanda. Commented May 21, 2018 at 6:28

Moon Knight (2022 MCU miniseries) expounds upon the Ancestral Plane, where it is described to be "an afterlife", one of "many intersectional planes of untethered consciousness", and that a person "may perceive this realm as something more easily recognizable to [them]."

Taweret, an Egyptian goddess*, describes the Ancestral Plane in Moon Knight S01E05 "Asylum":

* Bast in Black Panther is also an Egyptian goddess.

Taweret: Welcome, gentle traveler... Travelers, to the realm of the Duat.
Steven Grant: Duat? The Egyptian underworld. This is Taweret, goddess of women and children... and she's guiding us through our journey to the afterlife.
Marc Spector: Okay. Right. So, this is the afterlife? The afterlife?
Taweret: An afterlife. Not the afterlife. You'd be surprised how many intersectional planes of untethered consciousness exist. [Gasps] Like the Ancestral Plane. Oh! Just gorgeous. Anyway.

Taweret: Because the Duat's true nature is impossible for the human mind to comprehend, you may perceive this realm as something more easily recognizable to you.

as far as I can tell:

You need to be fully covered?

No, you do not need to be fully covered or buried. Steven Grant and Marc Spector weren't fully covered or buried when they died and traveled to the Duat. Nor was Shuri when she visited the Ancestral Plane in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Relevant dialogue:

Nakia: Are you sure you don't want me to bury you?
Shuri: No. I need you to have access to my chest. Just in case I go through cardiac arrest.

  • 1
    Those Moon Knight writers owe me some royalties for ripping off my answer in that last quote! Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 8:10

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