In the wake of Chadwick Boseman's death in August 2020, we're all intrigued to see how director Ryan Coogler, plus his cast and crew, develop the Black Panther mythology. This is especially pertinent as Wakanda Forever is set to conclude Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and initiate a new chapter in the franchise.
With the latest trailer now upon us, here are the key reveals from our trailer breakdown.
1. Ramonda is placed centre-stage
"No parent should have to bury their child", said King Theoden (Bernard Hill) during one of the most powerful moments of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
It's a line that comes to mind upon seeing the grief-stricken Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) at the start of the new Black Panther trailer.
That Ramonda is the first major character we see implicitly suggests how the narrative has been shaped around her, and her grief.
From the imperious mother of Wakanda's rightful (or not so rightful) heir in the first Black Panther movie to the role of a parent lamenting the premature loss of their own son. Ramonda's emotional journey is surely the through-line of the Black Panther sequel, set to anchor the spectacle in something raw and real.
Recalling the impact of the first Black Panther movie, Bassett tells Empire Magazine: "Audiences showed up in a way that you never see at movies, dressed as kings and queens... It was like water in a desert."
2. Namor rises
As the Kingdom of Wakanda grieves, a rival society sees an opportunity. At the close of Black Panther, T'Challa pledged to the United Nations that Wakanda would no longer hide from the world, but would instead be a transparent force for good on the global stage.
T'Challa's noble intentions, which he is compelled to take up in the wake of the revelations about Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), do, however, have negative ramifications in the Black Panther sequel.
The leader of the kingdom of Talocan (aka Atlantis), Namor, is threatened by T'Challa's change in policy. He, therefore, looks to wreak revenge on Wakanda, mirroring on screen the conflict that has long raged in the Black Panther comic books.
In the Black Panther sequel, Namor's background is derived from Mesoamerican culture, which should make for an intriguing visual contrast with the Afro-futurism of the Wakandan landscape. Namor actor Tenoch Huerta explains: "They made a new narrative for the character that fits with the times... You can take Atlantis from Greek myth or you can adapt from a real culture."
3. Shuri steps up
Another key character consumed with grief is, of course, T'Challa's sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). We glimpse her in appropriately sombre, funereal form at the outset of the new trailer, but you can never keep a good engineering genius down.
Indeed, it appears that Namor's invasion of Wakanda prompts Shuri to even greater and more inventive heights. She's aided by an important new face, Riri Williams/Ironheart (Dominique Thorne), who only appears briefly in the trailer but possesses savvy technological know-how.
"What's fun about Riri in this film is that she's us," Marvel big cheese Kevin Feige tells Empire. "She's an American coming into this world, and she represents the point of view of an outsider in a very interesting way."
Whether Riri is responsible for building the barely glimpsed flying suit, piloted by Shuri, is anyone's guess at this stage. The latter's joyous expression is a nice counter-weight to the sadness that pervades both the movie and its production process.
"Shuri's journey in this movie is very parallel to what I was feeling, and still am feeling," Wright tells Empire. "That light and joy and that fun spirit [that she had] in Black Panther... it's still there. But it's dented a bit. And we see what grief does to a young woman who has to process that in the midst of still providing the technological advancements for her country."
4. Wakanda is obliterated... will it rise again?
Killmonger led an insurgent strike on reclusive Wakanda in the first movie. However, the vengeful Namor launches an all-out assault, as demonstrated by the chilling shot of the Wakandan throne room ablaze.
Stitching together the various images from the trailer, it would seem that Wakanda is variously burned and flooded by Namor's forces. This appears to force the Wakandan inhabitants into a retreat in the mountains where they are given a speech by Jabari tribe leader M'Baku (Winston Duke).
Without the guiding presence of T'Challa, we wonder how the disparate forces of Wakanda will rally and strike back. Presumably, this is where Shuri and Riri's technological prowess comes into play, not to mention the ever-reliant forces of Wakanda's army, the Dora Milaje (their representative, Danai Gurira's Okoye, is glimpsed in the trailer, although Lupita Nyongo's Nakia is absent).
It appears that the new Black Panther movie is about the destruction of a legacy, in more ways than one. As we, the audience, as forced to adapt to the cinematic landscape in the absence of Chadwick Boseman, so too does the movie physically shatter the notion of what we've come to expect from Wakanda. One can only imagine it rising again like the phoenix from the ashes.
5. Aneka is set to play an important role
There's also the question of another insurgent movement within Wakanda itself. Ayo, played by Florence Kusumba, has already appeared in the first Black Panther movie. However, her role could potentially get a lot more complex and interesting with the introduction of Michaela Coel's Aneka.
In the Marvel comics, the two women, both veterans of the Wakandan Dora Milaje army, formed a vigilante alliance. This occurred when Aneka was put on trial by Queen Ramonda (played by Angela Bassett in the movies), and subsequently sentenced to death. Ayo then saved Aneka using the Midnight Angel armour and the two women later took to roaming the Wakandan landscape, helping the oppressed and persecuted.
This could be another intriguing sub-plot to add to the expanding tapestry of intrigue in the Black Panther sequel, particularly as it implies that the Wakandan forces are pitted against one another.
6. Who's in the suit?
This is our first full-body reveal of the new Black Panther incumbent. So, who could it be? A multiversal Michael B. Jordan (as has been suggested), piloted over from a different dimension to emerge as a force for good? Is it Shuri taking up the mantle of her late brother and continuing the Wakandan lineage?
Questions, questions and no answers. Still, that's the way we like it.
Click here to book your tickets for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The movie is released at Cineworld cinemas on November 11.
In case you missed it, here's our What's On At Cineworld duo, Luke and Dan, to offer their own insight and analysis on the trailer. Agree/disagree? Drop us a comment @Cineworld.