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A look into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

by Hiranmayi and Harivallabhi Ganapathy (‘24)


The long-awaited sequel is finally in theaters! Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrived on November 11, four years after the release of the first movie, Black Panther. The film itself was announced at 2019’s D23 Expo and was intended to release in May 2022. Due to the unfortunate circumstances of Chadwick Boseman, (Black Panther) passing away because of Colon Cancer on August 28, 2020, and Letitia Wright’s, Shuri, set injury, the film’s release date was moved to November 11.

Kevin Fiege, the president of Marvel Studios, said that “Boseman’s character, King T’Challa (former Black Panther), would not be recast out of respect for Boseman’s outstanding work.”

The opening scene was an emotional one as it shows the realistic perspective of T’Challa’s undisclosed illness and how he dies. Since T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, dies, his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), ascends the throne.

“I loved how it began, and I think it was a great tribute to Chadwick Boseman, especially how they mourned T'Challa,” said junior Soha Khan.

As shown in Black Panther and Infinity War, King T’Challa reveals Wakanda’s identity as a country that has access to the most powerful metal in the world, vibranium. Vibranium will help technology to advance and this puts Wakanda at risk since most countries are greedy for vibranium. The U.S., which had already tried to search for vibranium and succeeded, lost two of its scientists in the process for unknown reasons. Now they have also set their targets on Wakanda for the killings of their scientists. Queen Ramonda and Shuri are determined to prove this wrong, so the queen sends Shuri and General Okoye (Danai Gurria) on a mission to find the scientist that helped the two scientists from the U.S. build the device that tracked vibranium.

While on this mission, Shuri and scientist Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who is an MIT student, get abducted by mysterious blue creatures. Later, they soon realize that they are Atanleans, and the leader, Namor (Tenoch Heurta), wants to ally with Wakanda since they both hold vibranium in their cities and use it against the world. Shuri rejects this and soon gets rescued by Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) who was sent by her mother which angers Namor. Namor vows to come back for vengeance, which he does by drowning the entire city of Wakanda and killing someone very precious to Shuri. After this major loss, Shuri is determined to prove Namor and the world wrong, so she decides to become the Black Panther by taking the Heart-Shaped Herb. The city of Wakanda and the Atanleans then go to war, fighting each other for the glory of each other’s leaders. The movie ends with Namor and Shuri coming to equal terms and ending the fight.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first because I didn’t know how they were going to continue the movie even if the Black Panther is dead. As I was watching the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it because I liked how his sister became the new black panther and they carried his legacy on,” said junior Varshiini Ramesh.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did not disappoint when it came to African culture and even Indian culture. This soundtrack itself had many songs that paid tribute to African music and were beautiful to listen to. The movie also mentioned a Hindu God, Hanuman, who the Jabari Tribe (a tribe within Wakanda) worshiped. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set in Wakanda, a (fictional) country in South Africa. The characters in Wakanda speak Xhosa, a real language spoken by 8.2 million people in the world. Another tribute was the funeral for King T’Challa where they sang and danced wearing white and colorful clothes. For example, in places like Ghana and South India, specifically Tamil Nadu, they also sing and dance at funerals because it is part of their culture, and wear white or colorful clothes as a celebration of the life of the person who passed.

When asked about returning to the set in an interview with Yahoo!, Nyong’o said, “Excitement isn't the word. I feel like I'm in a very pensive and meditative state when it comes to Black Panther 2.

In honor of Boseman, Marvel included many tributes to the former Black Panther and star in Wakanda Forever. For example, the Marvel intro is usually a preview of all of the Marvel movies throughout the years, but in Wakanda Forever, it was a montage of Chadwick Boseman and all of his appearances in all of the Marvel movies. At the end of the movie, when Shuri is contemplating her decision to kill Namor or not, there is a flashback of T’Challa and all of his scenes with Shuri in both of the movies which served as a tribute to Boseman. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ryan Coogler, the director of the movie, said that the movie and the cast honored him “just by showing up and respecting each other and going deep with each one of our tasks.”

Overall, many fans enjoyed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as they did Black Panther. Both movies equally deserved the fame they got.

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