Wakanda Forever: Marvel Studios releases dedication film for late Chadwick Boseman

When Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020, speculation began over what Marvel would do in regards to their planned sequel to Black Panther. Would they recast Boseman’s character, T’Challa/Black Panther?

Boseman received two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics’ Choice Movie Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award during his career. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Would they recreate him using CGI, as Lucasfilm did with Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Or would T’Challa be absent from the film entirely, and if so, would the mantle of Black Panther be passed along to another character? With Marvel’s decision not to recast or digitally recreate the character, this seemed to be the most likely possibility.

All of these questions were finally answered when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hit theaters on Nov. 11. The film, which is dedicated to Boseman, opens with T’Challa’s death from an unknown illness and subsequent funeral. It then cuts to a year later, showing the ramifications of T’Challa’s decision to open Wakanda to the outside world in Black Panther.

With T’Challa gone, his younger sister, Shuri, becomes the film’s new lead. In the film, she has struggles to cope with the loss of her brother, and has difficulty moving on from it.

Throughout the film, it is clear that Wakanda is at odds with the international community, which seeks access to Wakanda’s large supply of vibranium. One country even attempts to steal vibranium from a Wakandan outreach center, only to be foiled by the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces.

Wakanda Forever also introduces the character of Namor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the film, Namor is the king of the underwater civilization of Talokan, which, much like Wakanda, sits on top of a huge deposit of vibranium. Also like Wakanda, Talokan has kept itself hidden from the outside world to protect its vibranium from dangerous people.

Another character introduced in this film is Riri Williams/Ironheart, a 19-year-old MIT student with armor similar to that worn by Iron Man. In the film, she is pursued by the Talokanil because she designed a vibranium-detecting machine that the CIA used without her knowledge to look for vibranium in the Atlantic Ocean.

After Wakanda refuses both Namor’s request to aid Talokan in a war against the rest of the world and his demand that they hand Riri over to Talokan, Namor responds with an attack against Wakanda, during which Shuri’s mother, Ramonda, dies saving Riri. Angry and vengeful, Shuri takes on the mantle of Black Panther and plans to kill Namor in revenge. In the end, she spares him, realizing that revenge wouldn’t make her feel any better.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is one of the best films in the MCU, with the right balance of emotion, action, and humor. While many of Marvel’s best films have no shortage of funny lines, this one was somewhat lacking in that department, which gives this film strength. Too much humor would have felt disrespectful and inconsistent with the film’s tone. This movie is definitely one to go see in theaters.

Connor McCoy