The full trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is here, and just like the Comic-Con trailer, it is tugging heart strings while setting up the next chapter in Wakanda’s story, one that will not include T’Challa. Chadwick Boseman’s death hangs over this movie, but it does look like Ryan Coogler et al are embracing the spirit of remembrance and honoring Boseman’s place in the Black Panther pantheon, and his loss is going to be a huge part of the story.
There is already a grass roots sentiment that we will be showing up in all white to Wakanda Forever, to honor Chadwick Boseman, and by extension T’Challa, as is depicted in the funeral scenes in the trailer. The idea of a few hundred people in a theater, all dressed in white with the Black diaspora wearing unique cultural accents and watching this movie as equal parts memorial and communal experience makes me emotional and I’m just picturing it. If I actually show up to a theater and everyone is in all white, I might use up one of my triannual torrential sobs.
This trailer continues the sentimental spirit of the first, but also gets down to the business of advertisement. We get a better look at Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, operating her Iron Heart suit, and we get a better look at Michaela Coel’s new character, Aneka. We also get a clear look at the new, obviously female Black Panther suited up for action. I assume it’s Shuri, based on the silver dots on the panther mask emulating the paint Shuri is wearing in the funeral scene, but I hope I’m wrong. Narratively, it makes more sense for Nakia or Okoye to don the suit, and yes, I do know Shuri is Black Panther for a time in the comics, but in the movies, so far, Nakia and Okoye are better established to take over that role. But it will probably be Shuri because comics.
We also get a GREAT look at Tenoch Huerta as Namor, the film’s antagonist and a new anti-hero on the scene. Huerta has already confirmed Namor is a mutant, and we get to see him both swimming in his undersea kingdom, Talocan, and flying through the air with his little winged feet. This is one of the weirder details of Namor I was sure they wouldn’t bring to the films because it’s so silly, but I am SO GLAD to see Namor and his goofy winged feet. They’re all in! They’re not watering him down to make him more “real”! They’re letting him be a flying, swimming god among men! SUPER INTO IT.
We also get to see a little bit of Talocan, or, as it’s known in the comics, Atlantis. They have changed the name of Namor’s kingdom undoubtedly to avoid confusion with Aquaman, but beyond that, I like this change in and of itself (though, naturally, many nerds are complaining). They’ve derived Talocan from Tlālōcān, an underwater paradise ruled by Tlāloc, a rain god. Tlālōcān is depicted in a beautiful mural at Teotihuacan, in the Palacio de Tepantitla. If you ever go to Teotihuacan, take the time to go to Tepantitla, it’s usually less crowded than the central area around the pyramids, and the mural of Tlālōcān, specifically, is a stunning example of pre-Colombian, Mesoamerican art. The colors are remarkably well preserved.
So it’s really cool to see Namor working on a mural of his own in Talocan, and to get a feel for how the Talocanians look and dress. M’Baku also calls Namor (presumably) “Kukulkan”, the “war serpent” of the Mayan people (he’s closely affiliated with the Aztecs’ own Quetzalcoatl). Black Panther took enormous care in every detail of the artistic design to honor and represent African history and diaspora, and now it looks like that same care is being taken to bring an interpretation of pan-Mesoamerican culture to the screen. What would the Aztec and Mayan empires look like today, had they survived? Talocan is a window into that possibility, which is the power of speculative fiction. We can imagine not only the future, but a future-past that preserves what centuries of colonialism and imperialism have tried to erase. Anyway, Wakanda Forever looks amazing, get your nicest white outfits ready for opening day.