Easily one of our most anticipated upcoming Marvel movies has to be Ryan Coogler’s sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the full trailer that recently dropped did nothing to decrease our hype. Coogler looks like he has weaved together an epic story of grief and loss, but also one that documents the strength that can be found with coming together as a family in the wake of a tragedy. In addition to dealing with the loss of King T’Challa (hastened by the off-screen death of actor Chadwick Boseman), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is going to expand on the existing MCU in significant ways, fully introducing new characters and worlds that could carry Marvel for the next decade.
Several clues to the direction that the MCU might be moving could be found in the above trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and you didn’t need a magnifying glass or a rich knowledge of Marvel history to figure them out. But for casual fans wondering who the hell some of these new faces are, and what they could mean moving forward, we singled out four important reveals that Ryan Coogler included in his full trailer. Here’s what you need to know as you prepare for Black Panther’s arrival in November.
The New Black Panther Will Be Female
Now let the debate begin (or, continue) about who will be wearing the Black Panther suit in the final reveal of the trailer. The easy answer is that Letitia Wright’s Shuri will be the one to assume the mantle of the Black Panther, protector of Wakanda and a successor to her older brother, T’Challa. The actress has addressed the idea that Shuri could become the new Black Panther, as this was a plotline explored in the Marvel Comics, and so bringing it over to live-action makes sense, on a narrative level.
However, there are fans wondering if the decision to pass the baton to Shuri is too obvious, and that Marvel would be making a bigger deal out of Letitia Wright stepping into the role… unless they were trying to keep the reveal a big secret. There already has been speculation online that Lupita Nyong’o could see her character, Nakia, stepping into the Black Panther gig. This might explain why she was going through intense training to get into superhero shape. The truth will be known soon enough.
Namor Will Fly, In Addition To Swim
It’s one of the sillier elements of Namor the Sub-Mariner’s design. The wings on his feet, which will be part of the character when Tenoch Huerta assumes the role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As we see throughout the trailer, Namor’s very comfortable under the sea. Heck, his throne looks to be the jaw of a massive shark, with teeth that could be used as weapons. Clearly the Atlantean king dominates the world beneath the surface, and will trigger so much tension when he brings conflict to Wakanda in hopes of obtaining the nation’s vibranium.
But I also love the above shot of Namor gliding down to the surface, using the wings on his feet as propulsion. The sequence demonstrates how formidable Namor is going to be as an antagonist, both in his natural element, and outside of it. And it shows that the wings on his feet aren’t just a visual gag, but also a tool in his bag of tricks. I’ve been really excited by the ways that Coogler has brought the movement of the Atlanteans to life in his footage so far, and a gliding Namor only adds to that.
Get In Your Suit, Riri Williams
Marvel fans might have assumed that they were out of the Iron business when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sacrificed himself at the end of Avengers: Endgame. You can’t immediately bring someone like Tony back after letting RDJ leave the franchise – which is why those Iron Man rumors for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness made no sense to me. But with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we are ready to see someone else in a Stark-type suit, and it’s Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, played by Dominique Thorne.
Are you unfamiliar with the character? We put this handy Ironheart guide together, but as you can see from the above image, and from the footage in the trailer, Ironheart is going to use a lot of the visual language that accompanied Iron Man for a decade. And now that we know Marvel Studios has plans to shift Don Cheadle’s Armor Wars from a Disney+ series to a movie, they also see the potential in bringing back Stark tech to some degree, and the introduction of Riri Williams to the MCU is a step in that general direction.
War appears to be coming to Wakanda, when the nation is at its most vulnerable. See how it plays out by grabbing advanced tickets to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, available for purchase now.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.