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Black Panther Wakanda Forever: A Movie on Grief

Luis Laboy, Grade 11, Staff Writer


After the sudden death of King T’Challa, the kingdom of Wakanda has a new issue that endangers the whole country's safety. The introduction of a secret civilization similar to Wakanda but focused on revenge, waged an international attack on the surface world. With a new threat on its way and no Black Panther, how will Wakanda fix this situation?

With the sudden death of actor Chadwick Boseman who portrayed Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the script of the sequel to his solo movie had to be changed. The plot of the film developed a theme of grief and loss.

The world grew more hostile as they wanted Wakanda's energy-filled metal, vibranium, for themselves. With no Black Panther, many thought of the country as vulnerable. When a group of people searching for the metal gets attacked in the middle of the Atlantic, a secret underwater tribe reveals itself to Wakanda.

The film introduces a new Latinx representation with Mexican actor, Tenoch Huerta as Namor, the leader of a tribe of Atlanteans called Talokans. The film expresses the hardships of Native Americans in Mesoamerica during colonization and the trauma from what happened to them.

Latinx people on social media like Tik Tok were proud of Marvel for showing the horrible things that happened during colonization and not sugarcoating what happened, as the world has done for hundreds of years. HSAS Junior, Sebastian Ramos said, “It’s a nice thing to see some representation, because there are mainly only white superheroes in the movies. Some diversity with the comic book movies is great because it displays what we had in the comics.” Namor’s actor, Tenoch Huerta also expressed in an interview that “the role isn’t important because it’s a representation of Latinidad but rather because it reflects the people, lands, and cultures that the colonization and hegemony that created Latinidad tried to eradicate.”

Namor and his people plan to enact revenge on the surface world because of the risky reveal of their identity. The Talokans hate the surface world because they witnessed the cruel treatment of colonization when they returned to fulfill a request from Namor's mother. The Talokans express their issue with the Queen and Princess of Wakanda and threaten them to kidnap the person who created the machine that found their Vibranium in the ocean or wage war on them.

There is a similarity between Namor and Princess Shuri because both have gone through lots of grief. They express a bond as they understand each other's actions and grief. Namor wants revenge after seeing the horrors of the surface world and wanting to protect his people from being hurt. In an interview, Black Panther Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler describes Namor as “a character who leans into his trauma, who owns it, and is comfortable existing in a state of perpetual grief.” Shuri still grieves her brother after his death because of her guilt, as she believes she could have saved him.

The film hooked the audience with a balance of grief and humor. During the first half of the movie, the extension of the relationship between Okoye, the leader of the Wakandan Dora Milaje, and princess Shuri through jokes expresses a light-heartedness. The extension of the relationships of the characters gave us more information about who the characters are. The film came together to do better in some parts to educate the audience than the original while not surpassing the original in quality.

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