“Marvel Studios unveiled an emotional and stunning teaser trailer for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the sequel to the billion-dollar-grossing 2018 film “Black Panther,” during its Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend.
Director Ryan Coogler and the cast of the highly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe movie were there to help show how the franchise is moving forward in the wake of the 2020 death of its titular star, Chadwick Boseman.
The trailer is almost entirely void of dialogue, conveying moments of grief and perseverance alongside a rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” by Nigerian artist Tems, which then transitions into a sliver of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.”
The only words spoken are those of Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), who says: “I am queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?” It’s a moment that reflects the nation of Wakanda dealing with the unfathomable loss of its king, while echoing the real-world loss of one of the MCU’s most impactful superheroes on and off the screen.
Here are five takeaways from the trailer for “Wakanda Forever.”
Wakanda will mourn its king
The trailer begins with what looks to be a Wakandan funeral procession, with Shuri (Letitia Wright) holding the Black Panther’s mask while everyone is dressed in all white. An official synopsis of “Wakanda Forever” that was sent out once the trailer went live says Wakanda will be fighting to protect its nation in the wake of the death of its king, T’Challa (played by Boseman in “Black Panther”). What has not been revealed, and probably won’t be until the movie is in theaters, is how T’Challa dies, a moment that will set the stage for succession on the Wakandan throne.
The nation’s women will face a great challenge
With T’Challa gone, the women of Wakanda are now the primary protectors of the MCU’s most powerful nation. Queen Ramonda and Shuri, T’Challa’s mother and sister; T’Challa’s former love interest Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o); and the Dora Milaje, the elite, all-female bodyguards of the Black Panther who are led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba), are the first line of defense against potential invasion.
Riri Williams is forging her iron destiny
Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), one of Marvel’s brightest minds, makes her MCU debut in “Wakanda Forever,” a milestone moment that could lead to her debuting as the next Iron Man. In the trailer, Riri is seen forging an iron suit, a nod to her comic book debut as the hero Ironheart. Thorne is set to star in an “Ironheart” series on Disney Plus in the fall of 2023, and it’s possible she could suit up in her armor in “Wakanda Forever.” Riri is also a prime candidate to appear in one of the two “Avengers” movies Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced over the weekend that are coming to theaters in 2025. If the Avengers decide they need a new Iron Man, Ironheart could answer the call.
Namor the Sub-Mariner is here
One of Marvel’s most intense rivalries will come to the big screen with the debut of Namor the Sub-Mariner (played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta), who has butted heads with the Black Panther frequently in the comics. The pointy-eared and winged-footed character is the king of Marvel’s seas — think Aquaman but debuting two years earlier back in 1939. Namor, the son of a human father and a water-breathing Atlantean mother, is known as Marvel’s “first mutant.”
The trailer shows Wakanda being flooded, with Namor leading Atlanteans to the surface — which indicates there could be a clash between the sea and the most powerful land in the MCU. Namor could be “Wakanda Forever’s” villain, but his frequent antihero status in the comics makes it possible that he could also become an ally.
A new Black Panther will rise
“Wakanda Forever’s” most difficult task will be replacing a legend. The trailer ends with a back view of a suited-up, black-and-gold Black Panther unsheathing their claws. What isn’t known and what will probably be the film’s biggest secret is, who is the new Black Panther?
Shuri is the likely top candidate. In comics, T’Challa’s younger sister has assumed the mantle of the Black Panther in his absence. But there are an abundance of worthy potential successors in “Wakanda Forever,” including Nyong’o’s Nakia, Gurira’s Okoye and Winston Duke’s scene-stealing M’Baku of the Jabari tribe.”