When The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man, each subsequent film was building towards 2012’s modern classic, The Avengers. When The Avengers proved to be a smash hit, it was clear that The MCU wasn’t going anywhere. As they continued to build their mythology, the characters I wanted to see on the big screen more than any others were Doctor Strange and Black Panther. When they finally made their debut in The MCU, they didn’t disappoint. There’s still so much to look forward to in the comics.
T’Challa has an amazing rivalry with Namor The Submariner, The King of Atlantis (Basically Marvel’s more villainous version of Aquaman). Seeing a conflict between the two characters play out was high on the list of things I wanted to see come to life in The MCU.
I’m still unsure exactly how Marvel is going to handle Black Panther after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic and untimely death. I’m fairly certain it’s been stated that Marvel Studios doesn’t plan on killing off the character in The MCU. The sequel to Black Panther, titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to premiere in November. It looks like the plan is to shift the focus to the ensemble supporting cast from the first movie like T’Challa’s sister Shruri, Okoye The Head of The Dora Milaje, Nakia, a Wakandan spy and T’Challa’s former love interest, and M’Baku, leader of The Wakandan Mountain Tribe. This official promo art from the upcoming film shows how, both Shuri and Okoye will appear in the movie.
I’ve always maintained that Marvel should have waited a respectable amount of time and then recast the character. These characters are bigger than one actor who inhabits them. As much as we would love to see Chadwick Boseman in the Black Panther costume again, he’s in his family has come out to say that Chadwick would want the character to continue on after his passing. After speaking to Boseman’s brother, Derrick, TMZ reported “…Chadwick knew the power of the character, and the positive influence it carries. Derrick says there’s so much power in seeing a Black king — especially in a superhero capacity, like in the Marvel flick — which has a huge impact on African-American youth.” It’s like saying we should never have The Joker appear on screen again because Heath Ledger died.
What’s bittersweet for me, is that the new films story seems to be about a conflict breaking out between Wakanda and Atlantis. Which is awesome, but if Marvel wants to tell that story, T’Challa should be a part of it.
Actor Tenoch Huerta has a large, but unspecified role in Wakanda Forever. Most sources say that Huerta is indeed playing Namor. The character rides the line between anti-hero and villain, so I assumed he was the Big Bad in Wakanda Forever. However, new promo material for the upcoming movie has me thinking the film will portray Namor in a more heroic light. New promo images and an official character description has revealed that another long time Atlantean Marvel villain is appearing in the movie. A powerful bad guy named Attuma. Take a look at the character design and the character description below.
“Attuma was born into the tribe of Homo mermanus who eschewed civilization to live as nomadic barbarians. For some unrecorded reason, Attuma was endowed with strength far surpassing that of his people. Nearing adulthood, Attuma learned of a prophesy, in the lost Atlantean Chronicles, of a conqueror who would take the empire of Atlantis by force. Believing he is that conqueror, Attuma has launched numerous attacks on the city of Atlantis and its regent Namor the Sub-Mariner.”
As apprehensive as I am about this film, I must admit that this sounds very exciting. Marvel is once again pulling back the curtain on an entirely new part of the rich tapestry that makes up The Marvel Universe. I’ve always said that Black Panther’s best adversaries are characters like Namor and Doctor Doom because they’re all kings. The best hero and villain dynamics occurt when the characters are reflections of one another. Being King of Wakanda is one of the most fundamental aspects of who T’Challa is. He feels great responsibility to his country and his people. He’s more than just a King, he’s a great leader.
So putting him up against somebody in the same position, who has gone down a darker path, makes for some incredible storytelling opportunities. I think Ryan Coogler is a fantastic director, and he certainly has an absolutely stacked cast to work with. The first Black Panther film was excellent, Marvel knows what they’re doing. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, Marvel Studios will come to their senses and give us a new T’Challa/Black Panther. Not just for the fans, but to also honor the legacy of Chadwick Boseman and the character we saw him create and bring too life. As I mentioned before, from what I’ve heard, the character of T’Challa is not being killed off, so it will be interesting to see how they handle his absence. Almost the entire cast of the first film is returning for Wakanda Forever, not to mention that Wakanda itself is such a cool and unique setting, that it’s almost a character in its own right, so the filmmakers definitely have a lot to work with here. Every time I’ve had serious doubts about a decision Marvel Studios under Kevin Fiege has made, I end up eating my words. Hopefully that streak will continue and this will be the spectacular sequel that Black Panther deserves!
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