The new film, a sequel to 2018’s blockbuster, had the tough task of continuing the story without its lead star following the death of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020.
Boseman, who had been diagnosed with cancer four years before, kept his illness secret from the world. After his death, director Ryan Coogler reshaped the film to focus on Shuri, the sister of Boseman’s King T’Challa, played by Letitia Wright.
The new film, which is out now, sees Shuri and her fellow Wakandans faced with a threat in the form of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the king of the underwater city of Talokan – a storyline that might not be a surprise if you detected a seemingly disposable line in Avengers: Endgame.
While Huerta deserves acclaim for his performance, it’s the way the film addresses Boseman’s death, as well as a moving mid-credits scene, that will leave a lasting impression on viewers.
*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*
It addresses an earlier mystery presented in the film: the absence of T’Challer’s lover Nakia (Lupits Nyong’o) in the wake of T’Challa’s death.
Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) tracks down Nakia in Haiti, and chides her for not being present at her son’s funeral. But, it’s revealed in the mid-credits scene that T’Challa had sent Nakia away as she was pregnant with their child, and he wanted his heir to be raised away from Wakanda.
The scene shows Shuri sat on a beach, mourning the loss of her brother six years on. It’s here that she’s introduced to T’Challa’s young son named Toussaint, whose Wakandan name is the same as his father’s.
It’s an emotional end to what has been a tumultuous fourth phase for Marvel, which included films Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It also infuses the Black Panther franchise with a form of optimism, leaving viewers hopeful that Boseman’s spirit will live on in the form of his character’s child.
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Naturally, film fans have been left feeling emotional by the movie, with many saying they “cried” and ‘sobbed” while watching it.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in cinemas now. The film also stars Danai Gurira and Martin Freeman – but not Daniel Kaluuya, whose absence has been explained by Coogler.
Find a breakdown of the film’s moving post-credit scene here.