The king is dead: long live Black Panther.
The latest trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever confirms that Wakanda's ruler, T'Challa (played by the late Chadwick Boseman), has gone to his great reward, despite a fan movement to see the role recast. And it also offers us our best look at the newest version of the Wakandan nation's protector... although the identity of the person behind the mask has yet to TECHNICALLY be disclosed, but we all know. (Watch the trailer below.)
Where the first Wakanda Forever teaser was a mood piece, the updated version offers a better sense of the film's plot, which pits the suddenly leader-less Wakanda against a variety of rival nations, including the underwater civilization, Talocan, ruled by the god-king Namor (Tenoch Huerta). And Namor — a Marvel Comics mainstay who is making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut at last — is certainly given a royal introduction, leading his army in a sustained attack on the surface world.
With T'Challa gone, Wakanda's main line of defense is held by the warrior women in his life, including Dora Milaje leader Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), as well as his mother and sister, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Shuri (Letitia Wright). It's widely suspected that Shuri will be the one showing her claws as the new Black Panther, although director Ryan Coogler made sure not to provide any hints in his new interview with Entertainment Weekly. (For the record, Shuri has donned the costume in the pages of the Black Panther comic.)
"The film deals with a lot of things, but one of them is foils — people who exist in contrast, but there's a thread of similarity," Coogler remarks. "In this film, we get to see Shuri meet someone who has some things in common with her, but is also very, very different."
That "someone" who Coogler refers to is none other than Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a young inventor who becomes Ironheart — the next generation of Iron Man. We see that transformation happen in the trailer, as Williams takes flight in a suit of armor that features Tony Stark's familiar "heads up" display. And this isn't a solo flight: Ironheart is getting her own Disney+ series in 2023 that will continue to build out her world.
In his EW interview, the director confesses that his original conception for a Black Panther sequel had to be completely revamped after Boseman's passing. That process became an exercise in expressing collective grief through art. "I started to come up with a film that had elements of the film that we had just finished writing, but also applied the themes that the people who were hurting just as much as me could actually perform and execute and come out on the other side whole."
Marvel fans on Twitter are already full of emotion — and theories — after watching the latest trailer.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres Nov. 11 in theaters