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In Black Panther, T'Challa is challenged to ritual combat twice, once during his coronation ceremony, and once afterward. In both cases, T'Challa explicitly declares, "I accept your challenge".

What happens if the king, or king-apparent, refuses a properly constituted challenge? Is verbal acceptance of a challenge a mere formality or social grace, or does the king actually have full discretion to decline the challenge? What happens if he does so?

  • Does he automatically forfeit the throne?
  • Is he required to appoint a champion to fight in his stead?
  • Does the fight happen anyway?
  • Is the challenger just out of luck?
  • 1
    Good question! I just assumed it was pro forma. – Adamant May 22 '18 at 21:06
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    I can't find a clip of the scene, but I do recall that others there (mother, sister, etc) pointing out to T'Challa that he didn't have to accept, and T'Challa implies that he's choosing to accept (as opposed to being required to). If he hadn't, then I imagine it would be up to the council to decide. – Mwr247 May 22 '18 at 21:11
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    I believe it depends on the time of which the challenge was issued and by whom. If it is a blood relative then it’s a hands down must do deal which you must say yes or your going to lose the support of your people. If it’s at any time after the ceremony where you see if anyone wishes to challenge. Then at that point it doesn’t matter so the current king and deny it. That’s my understanding. – K.Lanie May 22 '18 at 21:15
  • I don’t know if that answers your question or not but at least I tried – K.Lanie May 22 '18 at 21:36
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This seems to be covered in the original "challenge" scene.

Zuri: Victory in ritual combat comes by yield or death. If any tribe wishes to put forth a warrior, I now offer a path to the throne.

Simply refusing to accept a challenge by a rightful challenger (one with royal blood) would seem to fall under the category of a yield.


Killmonger is a valid challenger, hence refusing to accept his challenge would be the same as yielding.

Border Elder: As the son of Prince N'Jobu, he is within his rights.

  • 2
    I have agreed completely with this 🙂 – K.Lanie May 22 '18 at 22:25
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    @K.Lanie - Do you yield??! – Valorum May 22 '18 at 22:26
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    Lol 😂 that’s too funny my friend and yes I may yield or do me Death (No waterfalls please) 😅 – K.Lanie May 22 '18 at 22:44

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