When actor Chadwick Boseman unexpectedly passed away in 2020, many began wondering what would happen to his beloved MCU franchise Black Panther and its sequel, Wakanda Forever. While the grief was felt worldwide, MCU czar Kevin Feige and director Ryan Coogler vowed that the role would not be recast, at least right away, and that they would be moving forward with production of Wakanda Forever and the recent trailer offered a major glimpse into new characters and the hopes of redeeming an otherwise lackluster Phase 4 of the MCU.
The trailer solemnly opens with a type of funeral procession mourning the loss of King T’Challa as attendees dressed all in white celebrate the life of their beloved warrior and king. This is juxtaposed with the images of a different leader ascending their throne in an underwater kingdom and the first major appearance of Namor signals his arrival to the MCU. Namor is a popular figure in the history of Marvel Comics and is often credited as the first known anti-hero. He was even rumored to have appeared in Avengers: Endgame but that remains to be speculation. In the trailer, Namor is shown to be leading his people on a series of excursions to stop human interference in his kingdom including one where his soldiers are infiltrating an unknown ship.
The trailer then moves on to scenes of the Jibari Tribe accepting new technology from Wakanda and Lord M’Baku divulging details of their new foe while warning of the risk of war. There are also scenes of Wakanda in distress as a flood rages through the city as the throne room is under attack by Namor. The Dora Milaje also gets in on the action led by the ultimate badass, Okoye. This flood does feature prominently in the action of the trailer and it could serve as an allegory for the destruction of climate change and fit into why Namor is striking against humans.
The character of Riri Williams aka Ironheart is also set to make her MCU debut as she is shown building her own suit of armor presumably to aid the Wakandans in their fight. Ironheart is also set to receive a series on Disney+ sometime in the future but an exact release date is unknown at this time. The trailer is filled with tense scenes that really drive home the point that Wakanda is under siege and is unable to properly defend itself without King T’Challa or so we think. The mantle of Black Panther is meant to be passed on to the next leader of Wakanda and given how progressive the country is with its treatment and respect towards women, it is likely that T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, is set to become the next Black Panther as she makes a truly dramatic entrance to close out the trailer as her mother echoes a cry heard in the original film to “show them who we are”.
It will be difficult to move from the loss of Chadwick Boseman and the role he was seemingly born to play but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will attempt to move forward in a manner that pays tribute to the late actor but plants a new actor into the role and carry it on for the next generation.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is written and directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Tenoch Huerta, Angela Bassett and Martin Freeman. It will release in theaters on November 11, 2022.
Featured Image: Wakanda Forever Trailer