Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Cast On The ‘Powerful’ New Story That Puts Black Women In The Spotlight

Danai Gurira in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a super popular empire, but certain franchises like Black Panther stand out as fan favorites. Ryan Coogler’s sequel Wakanda Forever is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movies, and is nearly upon us. And the movie’s cast recently spoke to the “powerful” new story that puts Black women in the spotlight.

The story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was changed by Ryan Coogler and company following the unexpected death of franchise star Chadwick Boseman. The upcoming movie will honor both the late actor and his character T’Challa, with the cast no doubt channeling their real-life emotions into the performances. This is especially true for the outstanding women of the movie: Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and Lupita Nyong’o. Actor Winston Duke (aka M’Baku) recently spoke to Ebony about the focus on the franchise’s cast of Black women, saying:

In the first movie, two Black male figures were at the forefront. But the women were always the ones trying to pick up the pieces. Black Panther has always been about a mother grieving the loss of her husband, and now has to support her son in ascension. It’s been about the sister who’s trying to keep up and create her space around a brother who has a presence that’s larger than her. The women whose duty to their country has to take center stage over their own personal needs. A woman who has to support her country, do all the dirty spy work, and who can’t just be with the man that she’s in love with. Wakandan culture is deeply, deeply impacted by how the women in their world function and their responsibilities. They’re always ready to take up the crown or the spear.

Is it November 11th yet? The wait for Black Panther 2 has been hard for the generations of fans out there, myself included. And these types of comments tease how emotional and fresh the story of Wakanda Forever will be. And that’s seemingly because supporting characters from the first movie are taking more of the spotlight this time around. After all, Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda has been heavily featured in the movie’s trailers and marketing campaign. 

Much of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s contents are currently a mystery, as Marvel Studios is known for its tight security. But art is seemingly going to imitate life, with moviegoing audiences mourning both T’Challa and Chadwick Boseman himself. Fans have been wondering who would take on the mantle of the Panther and the ruler of the fictional country, although all signs point to one returning character in particular. And smart money says some of those fans will be rewatching the Marvel movies in order.

In the same interview with Ebony, Okoye actress Danai Gurira also spoke to the power of Black Panther 2’s focus on the franchise’s cast of Black women. While Ryan Coogler’s first movie broke new ground in regards to representation, the sequel will follow suit in a different way. As the Walking Dead actress put it,

It’s definitely a different story from the first one, as it must be. There’s a lot of very powerful, rich narratives and the beauty, I think, is that everybody has a very full story to tell in their own singular way. Seeing Black women get this type of storytelling and the idea that they’re continuing and evolving and going through complex things is an ongoing component of representation of Black women. This movie accomplishes that in spades.

Exactly how these stories will play out remains to be seen, but it seems like we’re going to get an even deeper understanding of Wakanda and its inhabitants throughout the course of Black Panther 2’s 161-minute runtime. As a reminder, you can check out one of the most recent trailer below:

Some early screenings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have already occurred, and the reception has been quite positive. And with anticipation being further buoyed thanks to a new song by Rihanna, smart money says it’s going to be another box office smash. Luckily the wait is nearly over.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will hit theaters on November 11th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.