The unprecedented success of Marvel’s 2018 Black Panther movie at the box office and in movie theatres across the world was the first of its kind. Picking up three Oscars along the way, there was no doubt that a sequel was on the way soon enough. But a pandemic hit and then tragedy struck, Rest in peace King! Everyone grieved the loss of an icon and Marvel had to plot a new course for Black Panther 2. Marvel recently revealed the title for the sequel as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in a new Phase 4 trailer.
When Black Panther first came out in theatres, the phrase “Wakanda Forever” caught like wildfire across social media, and it remains a key symbol of the film years later, with far more significance than before. While the title refers back to the gesture, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also highlights the first film’s enduring influence and strength, which has become a huge part of pop culture. Even without speaking, almost everyone understands what the Wakanda Forever salute means.
A Tribute To Chadwick Boseman
It has been reported that the sequel will pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy by not recasting T’Challa. There are no plans to use a “digital double” in the sequel, which is also a good thing.
“There’s only one Chadwick, and he’s not with us,” Marvel Studios’ executive vice president Victoria Alonso said. “Unfortunately, our king has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we’re taking some time to consider how we return to history and what we can do to honor this chapter in our history that was so sudden, so traumatic, and so awful, really,” she added.
Watch: Official MCU Phase 4 Trailer (Eternals, Black Panther Wakanda Forever, & More)
Kevin Feige continued, “Wakanda is the setting for a lot of the comics and the first film. Wakanda is a place where you can learn more about characters and subcultures. This was always the main focus of the subsequent plot. There will be no CG Chadwick, and T’Challa will not be recast.”
Despite Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death on August 28, 2020, preparations for Black Panther II continue. The abrupt and terrible casting change seems to have just delayed production by a few months. The Hollywood Reporter reports that shooting on the sequel will begin in Atlanta in July 2021 and last for up to six months.
Shuri’s Expected Ascension
Shuri (Letitia Wright) is officially set to take on a larger role and actor Tenoch Huerta is in talks to play the main antagonist. The film would presumably follow Shuri’s ascension to the throne and her attempts to become the next Black Panther. M’Baku (Winston Duke) may contest her claim, and Huerta’s character will undoubtedly attempt to upset Wakanda’s power balance. However, the identity of his character is still unknown.
Marvel has yet to comment on any of the rumored castings, but it was announced at the Disney Investor Day in December 2020 that the sequel would explore “all of the rich and varied characters” from the first film. Marvel’s decision not to recast TÇhalla in honor of his legacy automatically changes the focus of the sequel. However, it creates room for further exploration of the world of Wakanda.
Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B Jordan, may make a cameo, possibly in flashbacks, but Jordan has stated that this is uncertain.
The Meaning Behind the Title
Wakanda Forever is a fitting title for the Black Panther sequel, as it encompasses the significance of the salute, the country’s storied past, and its diverse citizens. Although it’s unclear how Wakanda Forever could justify why T’Challa is no longer at the core of the film, the title suggests that his memory will live on.
In addition to Shuri, Nakia, Okoye, and the rest of the Dora Milaje, it’s likely that the film will focus on new characters from Wakanda. In either case, Black Panther 2 is supposed to expand upon the world of Wakanda, as the title indicates. Given how the first film established the rich world in which T’Challa and his family live, there are a plethora of stories to tell and new and old characters to meet.
As a film and as an individual character, Black Panther made history, and the impact of both cannot be overstated.