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If you haven’t already prepared yourself for the roller coaster of emotions to come while watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, brace yourself. The film has themes that everyone can relate to. Motherhood, grief, and intelligence versus wisdom are some of the themes in this 2-hour-40-minute film.

Following the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, Ryan Coogler’s sequel was rewritten to reflect the death of the actor and his character. Marvel originally announced the sequel in 2019 and Coogler even offered to show the script to Boseman while he was still alive. However, due to his tragic passing, Marvel Studios had to rewrite the film as they moved forward with production.

Boseman was perfect and iconic as T’Challa; he brought that character to life. Obviously, his presence was missed in the second installment, but he was definitely not forgotten. Major kudos to Coogler and the team behind the sequel for Wakanda Forever. It is a great film that progresses the storyline of the Wakandans. It also sets up two new characters, Namor (played by Tenoch Huerta; more on him later) and Ironheart (played by Dominique Thorne; that character has a Disney+ series coming next fall). And, of course, there’s a new Black Panther  (I’m not telling who it is, but the trailer revealed that someone would be in the costume).

For those who don’t follow the Marvel comics or know all of the events that happened prior to Black Panther, fear not. Like the first film, Wakanda Forever stands on its own; you’re pretty quickly filled in on anything you need to know. (But, if you’re interested, here is our guide to what to watch before seeing Wakanda Forever.

Without spoiling anything, there are some notable moments that we can reveal before you head to the theater.

Boseman’s Wakandan family mourned his death in an emotional farewell, affecting his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) the most. Meanwhile, Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda has no other choice but to lead the nation. Shuri immerses herself in her scientific work with Vibranium technology so that she does not have to face reality.

Since the introduction of Vibranium to the world, there has always been a threat of people using the metal for evil purposes. We’ve seen that in prior Marvel films (like 2015’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron). That continues on in Wakanda Forever. But since there’s no way in hell Wakanda would willingly give Vibranium to just anyone, the US government took matters into their own hands to try and find Vibranium on their own.

While embarking on a deep sea dive, Vibranium is found at the bottom of the ocean. However, they also found Namor and his people, leading to an inevitable conflict. Namor is similar to DC’s Aquaman, as they both reside underwater. But there are important differences as well: Namor has no ties to the surface world like Aquaman does. And, he can fly thanks to wings on his ankles. Namor’s name translates to “the child without love” (“el niño sin amor”) and he rules over the Talokan people (not Atlantis, like in the comics). He is also known as the Feathered Serpent God (aka Ku’ku’lkán), which is an actual Mesoamerican deity. Watching underwater scenes in Dolby made the details in the landscape and sea creatures come to life.

Like the Wakandans, the Talokans have spent most of their existence isolated from the rest of the world. As in the first Black Panther, the new film looks at the consequences of that. Will the two societies join together, or will they be enemies? Black Panther was a Marvel film that looked at bigger issues, including isolationism, colonialism, and the relationships between fathers and sons. Similarly, Wakanda Forever exists firmly in the MCU, while also taking on the big issues, and doing it successfully.

'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' - What To Watch (And Read) First

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)

    T’Challa – he was still Prince T’Challa at this point – makes his debut here. Captain America (Chris Evans)’s brainwashed friend “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) attacked a U.N. meeting, killing T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka (John Kani). T’Challa wants revenge and aligns with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)’s Avengers to bring Cap, Bucky and their friends to justice. Ultimately, T’Challa realizes that Bucky’s actions are not his fault, and agrees to bring him to Wakanda for deprograming. There was a lot of moving parts to this film – it also introduced Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and introduced Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man to the Avengers – but the story still took precedence and it’s one the MCU’s best movies.

  • Black Panther (2018)

    It picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but director/co-writer Ryan Coogler made sure that Black Panther stood on its own. Beyond being a Marvel movie, it was a story about fathers and sons, colonialism and globalism, set to a fantastic soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar and featuring a stacked cast of great talent: besides Boseman, there was Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (T’Challa’s lost cousin and arch-enemy). Lupita Nyong’o played Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-lover and an undercover agent for Wakanda. Danai Gurira played Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces. Martin Freeman reprised his role as CIA agent Everett K. Ross. Daniel Kaluuya played W’Kabi: T’Challa’s best friend, and the head of security for the Border Tribe. Winston Duke played M’Baku: the leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari. Letitia Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’s genuis 16-year-old sister who designs new technology for Wakanda. Angela Bassett was Ramonda, T’Challa and Shuri’s mother, the Queen Mother of Wakanda. Forest Whitaker as Zuri, an elder statement of Wakanda. Andy Serkis repreised his role as Ulysses Klaue (from Avengers: Age of Ultron), a black market arms dealer and smuggler. Florence Kasumba reprised her role as Dora Milaje warrior Ayo (she first appeared in Captain America: Civil War as well). At the beginning of the film, Wakanda is hidden from the world, who believe it to be an impoverished nation (and they are fine with that). By the end of the film, they are ready to present themselves to the world as the most technologically advanced nation on Earth.

  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

    LIke Catpain America: Civil War, this movie does a lot of heavy lifting, bringing together the Avengers, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The third act of the film takes place in Wakanda and involves T’Challa, Okoye, M’Baku, Shuri and Ayo. It ends on a major cliffhanger.

  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    T’Challa is gone, and Okoye seems to be in charge of Wakanda. Wakanda doesn’t have a huge presence in Endgame, but the moment the King returns — in light of Chadwick Boseman’s passing — is more moving than directors the Russo Brothers could have anticipated.

  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

    So far, the only major Wakandan character that we’ve seen since Avengers: Endgame is Ayo, who shows up with some of the Dora Milaje in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; we learn that she worked with Bucky when he was rehabbing in Wakanda between Civil War and Infinity War and we get a little more insight into her in her brief appearance in this series. We also learn that the new Captain America’s new gear is likely Wakandan.

  • Reading Materials!

    The Black Panther “Sturm und Drang” storyline from 2001 (written by acclaimed Black Panther writer Christopher Priest) sees a conflict between Wakanda and Atlantis. Atlantis’s king, Namor, is the antagonist in Wakanda Forever, but in the film, he hails from Talokan. You can read comic books digitally, via Amazon’s “Comixology” app, or via Marvel Unlimited. Following the events of Wakanda Forever, she’ll have her own series on Disney+.

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