Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may be Marvel Studios' toughest venture yet as director Ryan Coogler tries to follow the success of his 2018 flick without the late Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa. Not only was Black Panther a financial and critical hit, but it proved to be a game-changer for both representation in Hollywood and the world view on African cultures.
Following Boseman's passing, Wakanda Forever will mark a paradigm shift for the franchise as Letitia Wright's Shuri steps up to first billing and reportedly takes on the Black Panther mantle. With T'Challa also confirmed to be dead in the MCU, many have voiced concerns as to how the franchise will proceed without its original lead.
As Wakanda goes to war with Namor's underwater nation of Talocan, fans are preparing for a different flick to Black Panther, one which celebrates the legacy of its original star. Now, one of the movie's stars has warned moviegoers what to expect to advance of the November release.
Black Panther Actor Adjusts Sequel Expectations
During a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, M'Baku actor Winston Duke called for fans to alter their expectations for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Duke warned fans to avoid expecting Wakanda Forever to be exactly like Black Panther as the sequel is "going to be its own thing:"
"And it's also important to let go of any expectation that this movie will be Black Panther 1. This is going to be its own thing, this narrative has evolved, and it's changed just like all the characters, just like the circumstances, and Wakanda itself. I just had to let go of the expectation of this being anything like the first movie and allowing this movie to be its own thing."
In the same interview, Okoye actress Danai Gurira addresses the desire to "really solidify that these characters and this world have an arc" after the success of Black Panther:
"I think the most important was honoring our brother, our leader, and our king. That was definitely at the forefront of our minds, spirits, and hearts. And also the fact that there was this amazing impact that the first Black Panther had, and so the need was to really solidify that these characters and this world have an arc. It wasn't a one-time momentous thing. There's a story and complexity that comes with people who we rarely ever see on this sort of platform. And that was very important for the arcs, the journeys, and the complexities to be fully realized. Because that really solidifies the representation created in the beginning."
Why Black Panther 2 Will Be Different
With Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa tragically absent from Wakanda Forever, the sequel will undoubtedly have a drastically different feel from the original. Black Panther was clearly T'Challa and Kilmonger's tale, and now, the follow-up will instead be the story of Wakanda as a nation in the world.
There's no telling just how different the resultant product will be from what was originally intended prior to Boseman's death, but this direction does follow the path set by Black Panther. The post-credits teaser of the first flick set the focus on Wakanda's place in the world, something which will soon be explored as the African nation goes to war.
As always, it's important to go into every new MCU outing with the right expectations of what to expect. In the case of Wakanda Forever, fans must prepare for a drastically different film from the first, something which will prove disappointing to many with the popularity of Black Panther.
Either way, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will certainly be pivotal to the MCU as it appoints the next Wakandan hero, rounds at Phase 4, and possibly even introduces Doctor Doom in advance of 2024's Fantastic Four.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11.