“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a sequel project to MCU’s greatest home runs. With Ryan Coogler as a director, it should have been a smooth and successful development. However, the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman put the movie in a precarious position. After all, a movie is nothing without a lead already well-accepted by the audience. We agree that Marvel Studios made a smart decision of not recasting T’Challa, Boseman’s character in the movie. However, it elicited a burning question: How would the movie survive without the main character.
According to the first trailer, “Wakanda Forever” is all set to beautifully answer that question. The trailer premiered on Saturday at SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) and gave us quite an interesting sneak peek at the plot points. It seems that T’Challa’s absence will be the movie’s focus with elements of grief, hope, and celebration. However, the trailer refrains from revealing the next character of Black Panther for obvious reasons. It would keep the audience speculating and waiting for the revelation. In the short trailer, the conflict between Namor and Wakanda upsurges, showcasing combat where anyone from the worthy supporting cast and Black Panther’s family could become the next Black Panther.
We have highlighted the snippets from the trailer to keep the readers informed and eager for more.
Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia is the first character appearing in the trailer. Nyong’o has proven herself as a prospective lead in previous movies, including “Queen of Katwe,” “Us,” and “12 Years a Slave.” Nakia plays a highly-trained spy, a War dog, in the movie. She serves Wakanda by carrying out risky covert secret missions in foreign countries. The trailer shows her on a beach with a Mesoamerican pyramid in the background. It hints that Nakia may be carrying out a diplomatic mission against a new enemy.
As per Wakanda’s narrative, the person taking the Black Panther mantle is the one who rules the country. But it doesn’t always happen. T’Challa became the Black Panther while T’Chaka, his father, was still king. The trailer shows that this time it’s Angela Bassett in the role of Queen Ramonda who takes up the throne. Given that, Wakanda is no longer a secret territory with a technology veil, and Ramonda has to carry responsibilities while her pain is still fresh.
Gone, not forgotten
Wakanda Forever has a unique touch, with a restrained and quiet touch to the beginning. You won’t hear a single dialogue in the first minute. However, the audience’s mood is shaped by the cover music of “No Woman, No Cry.” The song transits halfway into “Be Alright” by Kendrick Lamar. Ramonda breaks out with the first dialogue with a heartfelt goose-bumping short speech. The speech ends over a closer shot of T’Challa’s mural.
We can easily deduce that the MCU has made this movie a memorial for T’Challa, in other words, for Chadwick Boseman. Secondly, instead of highlighting a single hero, the movie is an ensemble picture of joint strength. It seems the supporting characters have shown their worth by filling the void of a leading role in this movie. In other words, the trailer perfectly shows a united Wakanda as the main character. The nation mourns their king while the casts and crew grief for their leading man.
A king’s funeral
Besides the soulful grief moments, the trailer also shows snippets of a funeral ceremony that looks more like a joyful celebration.
A winged-feet baby
In the previous movie, T’Challa decided to end Wakanda’s isolationism for a less insular future for his nation. Therefore, it’s fitting that the sequel is bringing new characters from the world outside Wakanda. In the 50 seconds of the trailer, we see an underwater couple welcoming a newborn winged-feet baby into their family. The winged feet pronounce that the baby will grow to be none other than Namor.
The Dora Milaje
The Dora Milaje is a group of female elite warriors who serve as Black Panther’s bodyguards. Danai Gurira as Okoye leads the group. Okoye is devastated by T’Challa’s death in both the real and fictional world. As per the reports, the audience can expect a spinoff series on Disney+ showing Okoye’s origins and life story as Black Panther’s protector.
The Atlantis ruler
Wakanda Forever shows the Atlanteans and their ruler Namor connected to Mayan culture. Huerta even went forward to learn the Mayan language for a more realistic effect. Their outfits also resemble Mayan iconography, such as the headdress.
The blue skin of the Atlanteans accurately aligns with the comic. However, Namor is more human-like due to his human father, Leonard McKenzie.
A land and sea battle
Wakanda Forever might have an environmental theme at the core of its plot. Comics Namor is antagonistic towards the land, particularly because humans pollute his domain. The trailers show shots of a fight between Wakandans and Atlanteans in the flooding city of Wakanda. We can deduce that either the Atlanteans declare war with Wakanda or Wakandans come between Namor’s vendetta against the land dwellers.
It seems that the war will reach the throne, the core of Wakanda. One striking shot shows Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister standing on the throne’s platform, water and flames around her. Her lone figure by the throne reflects that the queen might not survive the war events. It also shows Shuri as the next one in the line to the throne.
According to comics, Riri Williams is a super-genius teenager who Tony Stark discovered. She became his protégée after inventing her own armored suit. Dominique Throne is playing Riri’s role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She has made a few appearances in the trailer, first greeting Shuri in Wakanda’s tech workshop.
Winston Duke has performed beautifully in “Black Panther,” which justifies his extended role in “Wakanda Forever.” M’Baku leads Jabari Tribe, rebels of Wakanda. They believe in the gorilla god Hanuman against the panther god Bast. Initially, M’Baku challenged T’Challa over the throne and lost. But, the Jabari’s made a temporary alliance with Wakandans to restore T’Challa as the king. Later, we saw them fighting Thanos along with their nation in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
The trailer shows an aircraft approaching the Jabari’s home base, with M’Baku staring up with a rare fearful look. The presence of Dora Milaje in the scene in furs to fight the cold hints toward another alliance between the two groups in the movie.
Wakanda vs. the world
The teaser indicates that Queen Ramonda, M’Baku, Okoye, Shuri, and the Dora Milage will have to fight the outer world. Most probably, the fight would be to protect their nation from the intervention of world power players after T’Challa’s death. T’Challa wanted to build a good relationship with the rest of the world by showing his nation’s technological advancement. But people being people, the risk of hostility, greed for power, and paranoia was always there.
Two instances in the trailer indicate that all is not well between Wakanda and the rest of the world. First, when armed soldiers attack a Wakandan ship, and second where the queen leads a Wakandan delegation at a United Nations conference. It could be either to announce T’Challa’s death, which will also explain the reason for his fictional death to the audience. But the shot hints more toward a bad relationship between the two worlds.
Aneka, the new entry
Michaela Coel, in the role of Aneka, is a new addition to the Black Panther movie. In the trailer, we can see her fighting alongside M’Baku’s fighters and the Dora Milaje. The fan discussions portray her as a strong candidate for the next Black Panther. Coel is known for her acting chops in “I May Destroy You” and “Chewing Gum” to be a lead lady in a franchise.
Wakanda new protector
We kept the most intriguing part of the trailer as the last revelation in the article. The trailer shows someone wearing a gold-accented Black Panther suit. The suit and unclear shots hide not only the identity but even the gender of the new character. However, with the prominence of female leading roles in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Black Panther’s slim figure, the Gold Panther can be a woman too. Whatever the case, it surely is not M’Baku anyways.