Marvel Studios has unveiled the trailer for November’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to eager fans, who roared their approval in a boisterous session at Comic-Con in San Diego.
The film is the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the heroic crime-fighting king of Wakanda, a fictional African country with incredibly advanced technology.
The trailer opens with a female vocalist singing No Woman, No Cry, but there were some tears on stage as Boseman’s castmates spoke of how much it meant to them to honour his memory through this new project.
Ryan Coogler, returning as director, spoke about how excited the T’Challa actor had been to see the first Black Panther footage five years ago at Comic-Con.
“I can feel his hand on me now,” he said.
Also reprising their roles are British star Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri – the Black Panther’s sister – and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, an undercover spy in service to Wakanda.
Before the cast took the stage, a group of musicians and dancers playing African drums and vocalising gave a spine-tingling performance that had the crowd on their feet.
Wakanda Forever will introduce Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico), as anti-hero Namor McKenzie, known as the Sub-Mariner – confirming a long-standing casting rumour. Namor, who rules the watery kingdom of Atlantis, is the film’s antagonist – with the trailer hinting at a conflict between Wakanda and his people.
Addressing the fans, Huerta shared an emotional perspective on the power of inclusion, saying: “I come from the hood, seriously. And thanks to inclusion, I’m here. A lot of kids are there in their hood, looking at us, dreaming of being here. And they are going to make it!” He went on to add his thanks in Spanish.
Other new additions to the cast include Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You), and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams / Ironheart – a teenaged inventor who becomes a superhero (and will get her own show on Disney+ in 2023.)
The first Black Panther film took over a billion dollars at the box office, becoming the first superhero film nominated for the best picture Oscar – and a cultural milestone for diversity in filmmaking.
Marvel previously confirmed it would not be re-casting the role of T’Challa, a decision that has divided fans – some feeling it should forever belong to Boseman, who died of colon cancer in 2020, and some voices – including Boseman’s brother – saying it should pass to a new actor.
There has been speculation that the panther suit could now go to Shuri, and while that wasn’t confirmed – the very final frame of the trailer features a telltale flash of the Black Panther claws.