A BLACK PANTHER sequel without Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa under normal circumstances would be a non-starter. However, in August 2020, the beloved actor and humanitarian suddenly passed away, sending shockwaves worldwide.
Ahead of the November 11, 2022, release of BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, many fans have heard a common sentiment that the film does a masterful job of honoring the memory and impact of Boseman, which is true. However, there are three (spoiler-free) things to know before opening weekend.
It’s Not Just About the Tears
WAKANDA FOREVER will be a tough film to watch for fans of T’Challa and the MCU. Boseman’s performance of the king transcended beyond the big screen and help elevate the first installment into a cultural phenomenon. The void left by the tragedy of his passing is also handled in this film but with celebration and appreciation. It is cathartic not just for the Wakandans on screen but also us, the audience.
When asked about how Nakia deals with T’Challa’s death compared to her fellow Wakandans, star Lupita Nyong’o commented, “actually playing [Nakia] was very therapeutic for me because it had me look beyond my frustrations with losing Chadwick and learn from her and that wisdom she seems to possess,”
No Political Motives – Just Good Storytelling
With T’Challa no longer holding the title of Black Panther, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and co. are challenged with keeping Wakanda afloat as news of his death spreads across the world. These women each had personal relationships with the late King and, therefore, are devastated by his passing. AVENGERS: ENDGAME featured a badass montage of female heroes onscreen and, of course, misogyny came out in full force.
Producer Nate Moore said it would have been a disservice to the story not to highlight their leading ladies here in Wakanda. “It was just the right story to tell. These were the characters most affected by T’Challa’s passing, and so we focused on the people who were appropriate.” He continued, “It’s not about pushing women forward or holding men back; it is about telling the story that is organic. I think sometimes maybe from the outside there’s a thought that agendas are at play. It’s just telling good stories.”
The Mantle Must Have a Successor
There is a new Black Panther — this is no secret. Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, and the folks at Marvel made a choice not to recast T’Challa (which could have been made possible by the Multiverse?). So, many assumed there would likely be a new character to take up the coveted mantle. Instead, filmmakers took the approach of it not being a matter of who but how. Historically, every Black Panther to wear the mantle had their traits and motives during their rule of Wakanda and now, watching how we arrive at the new Black Panther is more fulfilling than WHO takes the mantle. All it takes is a few trailers to see who exactly that is, but it’s one heck of a journey.
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER sees the nation of Wakanda undergo great adversity thanks in part to Tenoch Huerta as Namor. With several external threats on the horizon (and lurking in the waters), Wakanda’s leaders must either rise to the occasion or see Wakanda and the legacy left behind by its king fall.