The second trailer for Black Panther has arrived, to be attached to Thor: Ragnarok, and it gives us a better look at the world of Wakanda, which looks AMAZING. The combo of traditional African art and fashion with the high-tech comic book wizardry of Wakanda is super f*cking cool, and the costumes, in particular, are incredible. Look at Angela Bassett’s costume—it’s a perfect combination of traditional style and imagined, special high-tech Wakandan textile. (The costumes come from Ruth Carter, who has designed for Marshall, Selma, and the Roots remake, but also Joss Whedon’s sci-fi cult favorite, Serenity. Kathleen previously name-checked Ruth Carter for her contribution to the look of this film.) I love the look of Black Panther, where it appears Wakanda is living in the Star Trek future the rest of us are still waiting for.
But while this trailer doesn’t give away much on plot, it does set the tone of Black Panther, which can be summed up as “F*CKING COOL”. We see a little more of Andy Serkis as bad guy Ulysses Klaue, who is clearly teaming up with Michael B. Jordan’s villain, Killmonger. And MBJ has a knock-off Black Panther suit! Sh*t’s getting real. There’s also a shot of Danai Gurira in action, and a little more of Lupita Nyong’o, and I LOVE the sibling handshake between T’Challa and Shuri.
What really sticks out about the world of Wakanda is how female-centric it is. T’Challa may be king, but he’s surrounded by women, from his mother and sister—Wakanda’s biggest science brain—to his guards and advisors. There’s no way to describe the way black women are portrayed here except as an exultation. They’re strong, they’re smart, they’re powerful, they’re beautiful—Danai Gurira has a beat that stands out as one of the best things I’ve ever heard of in a superhero movie. And it’s not an accident—Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a celebration of blackness, and black femininity in particular. Having a creative team that is predominately black and/or female undoubtedly makes a difference.
Thor: Ragnarok opens in a few weeks. It’s tracking around $100 million, which feels a little soft, but box office has been so crazy this year there’s no telling how things will play out (but Thor will be big and I won’t be surprised if it beats that estimate). Thor will undoubtedly be a popular movie that will do very well—it’s a crowd pleaser—but Black Panther is Something Else Entirely. EVERYONE is waiting on this movie like it’s a train that’s two hours late. It’s going to be HUGE. Thor looks fun as hell. Black Panther looks like A Moment.