The first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was revealed at Comic-Con 2022, and we ought to be steeled for a Marvel experience that's equal parts thrilling and heart-wrenching.
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther sequel is set to conclude Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It has an awful lot to live up to, and the trailer has left us with a lot of questions.
Here are just some of the things we spotted that promise a rich and dynamic addition to the ongoing MCU.
1. Namor is introduced
As played by Tenoch Huerta, Namor is the heir to the throne of Atlantis. This opens up all manner of exciting possibilities: as per the Marvel comics, Wakanda and Atlantis have long been at war with one another. This may well point towards the new arena of conflict in the Black Panther sequel.
In fact, Namor was one of the earliest Marvel characters to be established: he was a member of Captain America’s Invaders during World War II and was also one of the first people to encounter the Fantastic Four after they gained their powers. We imagine that Namor's illustrious comic pedigree will be ably mined by the MCU as we move forward, particularly now that Phase Five and Phase Six have been locked in.
Maybe the dimension-shifting possibilities of the multiverse will be able to depict the pre-Black Panther Namor's encounters with both Captain America and the Fantastic Four? That would make for a terrific future MCU epic.
2. Who has donned T'Challa's suit?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has the most emotionally arduous task of any MCU Phase Four movie. Not only must it live up to the original Black Panther, a critical and commercial success that subsequently became adopted as a socially progressive phenomenon. It must also honour the memory of late Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman who tragically passed away in August 2020.
The reveal of a mystery figure clad in T'Challa's signature suit raises a lot of questions. As per the Black Panther comics, we know that T'Challa's sister Shuri (played by Letitia Wright in the movies) adopted his mantle in several recent comic book runs throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Might this be carried into the movie?
It's certainly a possibility and may well fit with the aesthetic of the trailer, which points towards the women of Wakanda collectively adopting T'Challa's mantle. Disney and Marvel have already confirmed that they won't be recasting Boseman in the role, so the way has been paved for someone else to take on the role.
Another possibility: the multiverse has opened and we're about to see a variant on T'Challa. Might this be a way of re-introducing Black Panther scene-stealer Michael B. Jordan as the title character? Jordan was a charismatic force of nature as the complex baddie Killmonger in the first movie, so to exploit that same charisma, only this time for heroic purposes, could prove to be enormously effective.
3. Riri Williams aka Ironheart plays a key role
If Beale Street Could Talk and Judas and the Black Messiah actor Dominique Thorne could become another key player in the future of the MCU. The character of Riri Williams was first introduced to Marvel comics lore in 2016 as a genius engineering student who develops her own equivalent of the Iron Man suit. She's eventually endorsed by Tony Stark to become a superhero, hence Ironheart.
How much of Williams' background will feature in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is unclear at this stage. However, given that in the trailer she's contextualised within Shuri's lab, and we also get to see Williams banging away on a sheet of metal, we imagine that an Ironheart reveal is just around the corner.
4. Will Aneka and Ayo's backstory form part of the movie?
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.
Judging from the trailer, Aneka appears to be wearing the Midnight Armour itself, at the same time that Queen Ramonda certainly seems peeved about something. 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.