On the occasion of the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, here are five things to know about this long-awaited sequel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Ryan Coogler
With Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Tenoch Huerta…
What is it about ? Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milajes struggle to protect their nation from interference from other world powers after the death of King T’Challa. As the people struggle to move forward, our heroes will have to band together and rely on the help of mercenary Nakia and Everett Ross to usher the kingdom of Wakanda into a new era. But a terrible threat arises from a kingdom hidden in the depths of the oceans: Talokan.
Mourning and recovery
When Chadwick Boseman passed away in August 2020, the creative team had to take a big step back to reconsider this sequel. Producer Nate Moore says: “Chada was a true artistic partner. We spent time, just him and I, talking about the direction we wanted to see T’Challa and the story evolve, discussing his admiration for the other actors. Continue the story was the best thing to do.”
As the team pondered the script, a new leitmotif emerged: how to cope with grief and overcome loss? This theme, and how it affects each character, became the driving force of the narrative: “In order for the story of Wakanda to continue in a world where T’Challa no longer exists, it seemed logical to explore what this loss means to those around him. And the one most affected by it is his little sister, Shuri.”
Namor, the new enemy
Played by Mexican Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico), this new villain is inspired by the culture and history of Mesoamerica. Unlike the comics in which Namor is the ruler of Atlantis, the character rules Talokan here.
An iconic figure in the Marvel catalog, Namor had so far only been entitled to animated series. Black Panther 2 therefore marks the first cinema appearance of this character created in 1939 by Bill Everett (in the comic book Motion Picture Funnies Weekly).
Born of the union between a human and an Atlantean, Namor was, on paper, enemy then ally of the Fantastic 4, since he fell in love with the Invisible Woman. A member of the Avengers or the X-Men in some stories, he is also the first Marvel mutant.
Note that the actors Daniel Dae Kim, Brian Tee, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Phelps and David Boreanaz have each been (more or less) considered to play this most charismatic antagonist, also called the “Prince of the seas”.
Daniel Kaluuya busy with “Nope”
W’Kabi’s interpreter in the first Black Panther, the highly requested Daniel Kaluuya is not back in this sequel due to a conflicting schedule with the filming of Nope directed by Jordan Peele (Get Out). In this film crossing thriller, horror and science fiction, the actor embodies the hero confronted with supernatural phenomena in a valley in the depths of California.
In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, W’Kabi is however mentioned, in the course of a dialogue, by Queen Ramonda.
An underwater civilization
In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, antagonist Namor rules over Talokan, a breakaway underwater civilization descended from an ancient Maya community. Inspired by the stories and cultures of ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, the technical team called on consultants to legitimize their creative decisions, from sets to costumes and storytelling.
The character and town design not only reflects their roots, but also how the marine environment has become central to their way of life. It took nearly two years to develop the world of Talokan, as production designer Hannah Beachler explains: “Where are they located geographically? How did they get there? How did they survive?”
“We wanted the underwater city to be modern but to include architectural elements that would have been washed away from the surface. The city had to be mysterious, provocative and sumptuous.” The production designer felt that the underwater city should be mainly built in stone with Mayan architectural, colorimetric and iconographic influences.