‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ reignites original fan favorite

With a Wakanda Forever salute, Chadwick Boseman poses at the Emmys. After the release of Black Panther in 2018, Wakanda Forever became a symbol for Black pride.


With a Wakanda Forever salute, Chadwick Boseman poses at the Emmys. After the release of Black Panther in 2018, Wakanda Forever became a symbol for Black pride.

Wakanda Forever” premieres Nov. 11. Black Panther was Marvel’s first movie to feature a Black superhero as the main character. (GOOGLE IMAGES)

The phrase “Wakanda Forever” might have just been a movie quote to some people, but for the Black community “Wakanda Forever” represented something uniquely Black. When “Black Panther” premiered in 2018, it quickly became a global hit because Black people were given the chance to see themselves as main characters—a rarity. For once, they were not side characters or comic relief, but the main focus of a movie. For once, Black kids were given the chance to look at a superhero and see themselves. “Black Panther” was a movie that gave Black people the representation they needed and, most importantly, was uniquely Black.

“[Black Panther meant a lot] for our people,” Aidan Farris (10) said. “It was … the first solo Black [Marvel] movie and … [I got] to see someone who looked like me on screen.” 

After “Black Panther” premiered, fans could not wait for the next time to see Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, on the big screens. However, that all changed in late August 2020 when Boseman passed away due to stage four colon cancer. The world was devastated by the tragic news of Boseman’s passing and members of the Black community felt as if they had lost their power, their king and themselves.

“Honestly, I had no clue how to feel,” Roman Laster (10) said. “I really enjoyed his films …[and] seeing that he passed away was kind of shocking. Seeing him pass away was kind of sad [because] he had so much more to come, especially with Marvel and [his] Black Panther role.”

Fans thought that after the passing of Boseman, Black Panther would never come back and that they would never again feel the power they once felt. Yet, that all changed when filming for a sequel of the movie, entitled “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” began on July 29, 2021. It was announced the second movie would take place without replacing Black Panther, but rather honoring him. This sparked controversy with some fans, who were unhappy with the decision to kill off Black Panther. Others were understanding and happy that Boseman was being honored.

“They handled it pretty well,” Farris said. “He embodied Black Panther, so I think what they did in the movie [to honor him] was pretty good.”

“Wakanda Forever” was originally set to premiere in July 2022 then delayed to August due to production issues. Finally, the movie premiered on Nov. 11, leaving fans excited that Black Panther was finally back after a four year wait. 

“I was … very enthusiastic to see the return of [Black Panther] despite knowing Chadwick was no longer with us,” Emeli Moreno (11) said. “[I was] interested on how they would develop the Black Panther  [without Boseman].” 

Unlike the first movie, which focused on power and Black excellence, “Wakanda Forever” focused on grief. The movie opened with a scene honoring T’Challa (Black Panther) after his death and displayed the grief the country of Wakanda felt. For some fans, the opening scene left them with tears in their eyes.

“[I cried] twice [because] you really saw that there was nothing anyone could do [to prevent Boseman’s death],” said Farris. “Even if he told everyone what was going on with him, nothing could have been done to help him.” 

“Wakanda Forever” takes place in Wakanda a year after the death of T’Challa and under the rule of his mother Ramonda (The Queen). The biggest conflict in the movie is between Talokan and Wakanda. Talokan, run by Namor, is the only other place in the world to contain vibranium besides Wakanda. Namor takes on the role of the villain in the movie. However, even though he is the antagonist, many fans felt represented by his Mayan roots.

“I was pretty surprised to see that they were taking influence from Mayan culture, which I thought was really cool,” Moreno said. “The fact that they also had some songs on the soundtrack that were in Spanish … gravitated me towards the movie.”

Though “Wakanda Forever” is a sequel to “Black Panther (2018),” they are two movies that cannot be compared. “Wakanda Forever” was created to honor the legacy of Chadwick Boseman and the impact he had on the Black community. “Wakanda Forever” symbolized that a community can go through hardships and still persevere. For fans, “Wakanda Forever” gave them the chance to grieve their hero, but most importantly reminded them they are divine and powerful.

“The phrase Wakanda Forever means to me … Black culture and family,” Laster said. “It also refers [to] Chadwick Boseman’s passing … saying that he is forever with us.”