With a month to go before it hits theaters, Marvel has released another dour, joyless trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The sequel to 2018’s Black Panther (and 2018’s Infinity War, and 2019’s Endgame, and kind of 2016’s Civil War, and you know the MCU drill by now), Wakanda Forever picks up after (we can extrapolate) T’Challa’s death, as a reeling Wakanda must face a war with Atlantis (which is no longer Atlantis because it’s Talocan). Ryan Coogler returns to direct the sequel, with Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke, and Martin Freeman reprising their roles; they’re joined by Tenoch Huerta as Namor the Sub-Mariner and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams/Ironheart. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters on November 11, 2022, and you can see the new trailer below:
Both of the trailers for Wakanda Forever make it look more like a memorial to Chadwick Boseman than a narrative. I get it – they’re killing off Black Panther in honor of him, so they need to play that up in the movie, and his spirit has to be felt. But that sounds… not fun. These trailers make Wakanda Forever feel like an obligation, and I think that’s partly on purpose. Let’s be real; nobody wants to see a movie about Black Panther’s wacky sidekicks. They’re all fine in their own right, but they’re not the draws; T’Challa was (and Killmonger, but he’s not coming back either). He was the one we wanted to follow, the guy whose journey to making peace with his father and his past and becoming a leader to his country and a hero to the rest of the world was the emotional arc of the film, and all of his MCU appearances. Take that away, and there’s not much to care about aside from people mourning his passing.
It does fit with Phase 4 of the MCU, though, and the cynic in me thinks that, as I said a week ago, they eschewed recasting T’Challa not because of some “too soon” responsibility to the audience but because of that final shot in the trailer showing us the new and improved female Black Panther. Now, Marvel and Disney can have their cake and eat it, too, wallowing in misery to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman while replacing him with (probably) his sister and getting their All New, All Different gold star. Less-than-coincidentally, Riri Williams also makes her debut here, and there’s a shot of her in the trailer as she flies with her armor, which we’ll undoubtedly be assured is way better than any of Tony Stark’s suits. Finally, Namor looks goofy flying around on his winged feet. I’m somewhat sympathetic to this; there’s probably no way it can look right in real life, so the effects crew can only do so much with what was intended for comic books. But, like everything else, it doesn’t make me want to see Wakanda Forever.
What did you think of the second Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer? Are you looking forward to the movie? Are they aware that the “it takes four women to replace one man” jokes are already being written? Let us know in the comments, and stick around Geeks + Gamers for more lamentations on what we’ve lost in entertainment!