Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a 2022 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Black Panther. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to Black Panther (2018) and the 30th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, the film stars Letitia Wright as Shuri / Black Panther, alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Martin Freeman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Angela Bassett. In the film, the leaders of Wakanda fight to protect their nation in the wake of King T'Challa's death.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther Wakanda Forever poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRyan Coogler
Screenplay by
Story byRyan Coogler
Based onMarvel Comics
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyAutumn Durald Arkapaw
Edited by
Music byLudwig Göransson
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • October 26, 2022 (2022-10-26) (Hollywood)
  • November 11, 2022 (2022-11-11) (United States)
Running time
161 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$250 million[2]
Box office$676 million[3][4]

Ideas for a sequel began after the release of Black Panther in February 2018. Coogler negotiated to return as director in the following months, and Marvel Studios officially confirmed the sequel's development in mid-2019. Plans for the film changed in August 2020 when Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer, with Marvel choosing not to recast his role of T'Challa. Other main cast members from the first film were confirmed to return by that November, and the title was announced in May 2021. Production initially took place from late June to early November 2021, in Atlanta and Brunswick, Georgia, as well as around Massachusetts, before a hiatus to allow Wright to recover from an injury sustained during filming. Production resumed by mid-January 2022 and wrapped in late March in Puerto Rico.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered at the El Capitan Theatre and the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on October 26, 2022, and was released in the United States on November 11, 2022, as the final film in Phase Four of the MCU. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise towards Coogler's direction, the action sequences, production and costume design, the cast's performances (particularly those of Wright, Gurira, Huerta, and Bassett), emotional weight, musical score, and its tributes to Boseman, although the runtime received some criticism. The film has grossed over $676 million worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2022.

Plot

T'Challa, king of Wakanda, is dying from an illness which his sister, Shuri, believes can be cured by the "heart-shaped herb". Shuri attempts to synthetically recreate the herb after it was destroyed by N'Jadaka,[N 1] but fails to do so before T'Challa succumbs.

One year later, Wakanda is under pressure from other nations to share their vibranium, with some parties attempting to steal it by force. Queen Ramonda implores Shuri to continue her research on the heart-shaped herb, hoping to create a new Black Panther that will defend Wakanda, but she refuses due to her belief that the Black Panther is a figure of the past. In the Atlantic Ocean, the CIA and U.S. Navy SEALs utilize a vibranium-detecting machine to locate a potential vibranium deposit underwater. The expedition is attacked and killed by a group of blue-skinned, water-breathing superhumans led by Namor, with the CIA believing Wakanda to be responsible. Namor confronts Ramonda and Shuri, easily bypassing Wakanda's advanced security. Blaming Wakanda for the vibranium race, he gives them an ultimatum: deliver him the scientist responsible for the vibranium-detecting machine, or he will attack Wakanda.

Shuri and Okoye learn from CIA agent Everett K. Ross that the scientist in question is MIT student Riri Williams and arrive at the university to confront her. The group is pursued by the FBI and then by Namor's warriors, who defeat Okoye before taking Shuri and Williams underwater to meet Namor. Angered by Okoye's failure to protect Shuri, Ramonda strips her of her title as general of the Dora Milaje and seeks out Nakia, who has been living in Haiti since Thanos's attack on Wakanda.[N 2] Namor shows Shuri his vibranium-rich underwater kingdom of Talokan, which he has protected for centuries from discovery by the world. Bitter at the surface world for enslaving the Maya, Namor proposes an alliance with Wakanda against the rest of the world but threatens to destroy Wakanda if they refuse. Nakia helps Shuri and Williams escape, and Namor retaliates with an attack against Wakanda, during which Ramonda drowns saving Williams. Namor vows to return with his full army, and the citizens of Wakanda relocate to the Jabari mountains for their safety. Meanwhile, Ross is arrested by his ex-wife, CIA director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, for secretly exchanging classified intelligence with the Wakandans.

After Ramonda's funeral, Shuri uses a remnant of the herb that gave Namor's people their superhuman abilities to reconstruct the heart-shaped herb. She ingests it, gaining superhuman abilities and meeting N'Jadaka in the Ancestral Plane, who urges her to seek revenge. Shuri dons a new Black Panther suit and is accepted by the other Wakandan tribes as the Black Panther. Despite M'Baku's urges for peace, Shuri is determined to exact vengeance on Namor for Ramonda's death and orders an immediate counterattack on Talokan. Preparing for battle, with Ayo assuming the position of general of the Dora Milaje, Shuri bestows the Midnight Angel armor upon Okoye, who in turn recruits Dora Milaje member Aneka to join her. Williams creates an Iron Man-esque powered exoskeleton to aid the Wakandans.

Using a seafaring vessel, the Wakandans lure Namor and his warriors to the surface as a battle ensues. Shuri traps Namor in a fighter aircraft, intending to dry him out and weaken him. The pair crashes on a desert beach and fight. Shuri gains the upper hand, but realizes the similarities between their paths and implores Namor to yield, offering him a peaceful alliance. Namor accepts, and the battle ends. Namor's cousin, Namora, is upset at Namor's surrender, but he assures her that the new alliance will allow them to conquer the surface world one day. Williams returns to MIT, leaving her suit behind, while Okoye rescues Ross from captivity. Shuri plants more heart-shaped herbs to ensure the future of the Black Panther mantle. In Shuri's absence, M'Baku steps forward to challenge for the throne. Shuri visits Nakia in Haiti where she burns her funeral ceremonial robe in accordance with Ramonda's wishes, allowing herself to finally grieve T'Challa.

In a mid-credits scene, Shuri learns that Nakia and T'Challa had a son named Toussaint, who Nakia has been raising in secret. Toussaint reveals his Wakandan name is T'Challa.

Cast

  • Letitia Wright as Shuri / Black Panther:
    The princess of Wakanda who designs new technology for the nation.[5] Wright was given a larger role in the film following the death of Chadwick Boseman, who starred in previous MCU media as Shuri's older brother T'Challa / Black Panther.[6] Wright said Shuri turns to her technology as a way to grieve T'Challa.[7]
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia:
    A former War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda, from the River Tribe.[6] Nyong'o said Nakia has "matured" following both the Blip and the death of T'Challa, explaining that her character's "priorities have shifted and sharpened" while adding that Nakia still remains "the one you want to call when you're in trouble".[8]
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye:
    The general of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda's all-female special forces. Okoye later takes on the mantle of the Midnight Angels, along with Aneka. It is revealed in the film that Okoye's husband, W'Kabi, was imprisoned following the events of Black Panther (2018).[9] Gurira said the film would explore "many facets" of Okoye's humanity.[10]
  • Winston Duke as M'Baku:
    A powerful warrior and leader of Wakanda's mountain tribe, the Jabari.[6] Duke indicated that following the Jabari's involvement in the events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), the tribe is no longer isolated from the rest of Wakanda. He also felt M'Baku was trying to figure "out how to move forward" in this new world for Wakanda, much like many in the real world were trying to do in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11]
  • Florence Kasumba as Ayo: A member and the second-in-command who later becomes the general of the Dora Milaje after Okoye is stripped of her duties. She is romantically involved with Aneka.[12]
  • Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams:
    An MIT student and genius inventor from Chicago who creates a suit of armor that rivals the one built by Tony Stark / Iron Man.[13][7] Director Ryan Coogler noted that Williams is a foil to Shuri, adding "there's a thread of similarity" between the two, but are "also very, very different",[14] with Williams and Shuri's relationship representing a similar exploration of the "diversity of the Black experience" as T'Challa and Killmonger's relationship did in Black Panther.[7]
  • Michaela Coel as Aneka:
    A Wakandan warrior and member of the Dora Milaje. Aneka later takes upon the mantle of the Midnight Angels, along with Okoye. Aneka is romantically involved with Ayo.[7] Coel was drawn to the character being queer as in the comics, and Coogler described Aneka as "kind of a rebel".[15]
  • Tenoch Huerta Mejía as Namor:
    The king of Talokan, an ancient civilization of underwater dwelling people,[16][14] who refer to him as the feathered serpent god K'uk'ulkan.[17] Huerta said Namor decides to get involved in the surface world after T'Challa publicly reveals the truth of Wakanda at the end of the first film, which consequently puts Talokan in "jeopardy", leading Namor and his people to "take action to protect themselves". Huerta also confirmed that the character is a mutant as in the comics.[18] Huerta called Namor an anti-hero,[19] explaining that it was important to both him and Coogler to humanize the character by making his motivations understandable despite him having an antagonistic role in the film.[20] Coogler was enthused to include Namor's "really unique features" from the comics, including his ankle wings and pointy ears.[14] He also described the character as "kind of an asshole, kind of romantic, and just incredibly powerful".[7] Huerta learned a Mayan language for the role,[21] as well as how to swim.[22]
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross: An agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who has previous ties to Wakanda.[23]
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine: The new director of the CIA and the former wife of Ross.[24]
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda:
    The Sovereign Queen Mother of Wakanda who is grieving the death of her son T'Challa.[6] Bassett explained that Ramonda would be trying to balance leading her people, being a mother to Shuri, and keeping threats to Wakanda "at bay", all while grieving the death of T'Challa, which is "a lot for her to handle".[7] While Bassett was initially unhappy with Ramonda being killed off in the film, Coogler reassured her that death is not necessarily permanent in the MCU, and she felt that it was possible for her character to return in the future, similar to how people were brought back to life following the Blip in Endgame.[25]

Additionally, Michael B. Jordan reprises his MCU role as N'Jadaka / Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, T'Challa and Shuri's cousin.[26] Returning from Black Panther are Isaach de Bankolé, Dorothy Steel (in her final, posthumous role), and Danny Sapani as the Wakandan River Tribe,[27] Merchant Tribe,[28] and Border Tribe elders, respectively, with Connie Chiume reprising her role as Zawavari, previously the Mining Tribe Elder, but now the Elder Statesman, taking over the role held by Zuri in the first film;[29] comedian Trevor Noah also reprises his role as Shuri's A.I. Griot.[30] Mabel Cadena portrays Namor's cousin Namora, while Alex Livinalli portrays the Talokanil warrior Attuma,[12] and María Mercedes Coroy portrays Princess Fen, Namor's mother.[31] Lake Bell (who previously voiced Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow in Marvel Studios' animated series What If...?) and Robert John Burke appear as Dr. Graham and Smitty, respectively, a pair of CIA officials in charge of the vibranium mining operation.[32][33] Richard Schiff appears as the U.S. Secretary of State,[34] while Kamaru Usman appears as a naval officer.[35][36] Archive footage from previous MCU films of Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther is used in the film's ending,[37] with Divine Love Konadu-Sun appearing as Toussaint, T'Challa and Nakia's son.[38]

Production

Development

With the release of Black Panther in February 2018, producer Kevin Feige said there were "many, many stories" to tell about the character, and he wanted director and co-writer Ryan Coogler to return for any sequel;[39] Marvel Studios wanted to keep the creative team as intact as possible,[40] while Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn, despite feeling it was too early to discuss a sequel, was also positive about the desire to have Coogler return as director.[41] Coogler wanted to see how Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa / Black Panther would grow as a king in future films since his reign only recently began in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in contrast to the comics in which he had been king since childhood.[42] In March 2018, Feige said there was nothing specific to reveal about a sequel, but Marvel had ideas and a "pretty solid direction" on where they wanted to take a second film.[43] That month, Boseman's agent Michael Greene was in negotiations for the actor to return as T'Challa in two planned Black Panther sequels for a reported pay of $10 million and $20 million, respectively.[44] By October, Coogler had closed a deal to write and direct a sequel to Black Panther. Despite both Marvel and Coogler having always intended to work together again after the first film's success, Coogler avoided rushing into a deal. Negotiations with Coogler were completed "under the radar" in the months following the first film's release. He was expected to begin writing the sequel in 2019, ahead of a planned filming start in late 2019 or early 2020.[40]

In November 2018, Letitia Wright was confirmed to be reprising her role of T'Challa's sister Shuri for the sequel.[5] When Angela Bassett, who played Ramonda in Black Panther, was asked if the main cast would return for the sequel, her husband Courtney B. Vance said they would. He said this included Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, who was killed in the first film, and Bassett agreed.[45] Feige dismissed Vance's statement in June 2019 as "pure rumor", saying there were no set plans for the film as Coogler had just begun outlining it and had not yet shared his plans with Feige or co-producer Nate Moore.[46] The next month, John Kani expressed interest in reprising his role as T'Challa's father T'Chaka in the film,[47] and Danai Gurira stated that Coogler had confirmed she would be reprising her role of Okoye in the sequel.[9] Feige confirmed the sequel's development at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con,[48] while Martin Freeman confirmed in August that he would reprise his role as Everett K. Ross in the sequel.[23] A release date of May 6, 2022, was announced at D23 along with the placeholder title Black Panther II.[49] Feige said Coogler had completed a script treatment for the film that included a villain and new title.[50] At the end of 2019, Ruth E. Carter confirmed that she would be returning from the first film as costume designer for the sequel, and said that she was set to begin work on it in "the fall".[51] Feige, Boseman, and Coogler discussed adapting elements of Boseman's more "Gung ho" T'Challa performance in the second episode of What If...? for the film.[52]

Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally. His portrayal of T'Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel's past. And it's for that reason that we will not recast the character.

—Producer Kevin Feige in December 2020 on the decision to not recast T'Challa following Boseman's death[53]

On August 28, 2020, Boseman died from colon cancer. Coogler stated that he had been unaware of Boseman's illness, and had spent the last year "preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say [in the film] that we weren't destined to see".[54] Feige and other executives at Marvel Studios were also unaware of Boseman's illness. Boseman, who had become thinner from his illness in the weeks prior to his death, had been prepared to begin gaining the weight back in September 2020 ahead of filming the sequel in March 2021. According to The Hollywood Reporter, industry observers felt Disney could recast the role, but that might generate a "fan outcry" and prompt comparisons between actors. Another suggestion was for Disney to shift their plans and have Shuri take on the mantle of the Black Panther, which occurred in the comic books.[55] By the time of Boseman's death, Coogler was in the middle of writing the script and had already turned in a draft.[56][57] In mid-November, executive producer Victoria Alonso said a digital double of Boseman would not be created for the film, and added that Marvel was taking their time to work out what they were going to do next and how.[58] Later in the month, Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, and Bassett were confirmed to be reprising their roles for the sequel as Nakia, M'Baku, and Ramonda, respectively, while Tenoch Huerta was in talks for an antagonist role.[6] At that time, filming was expected to begin in June or July 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.[6][59]

In December 2020, the film's release date was moved back to July 8, 2022. Feige also confirmed that the role of T'Challa would not be recast, and said the sequel would explore the world and characters of the first film as a way to honor the legacy that Boseman helped build.[53] He would later reaffirm that visual effects would not be used to include Boseman in the film,[60] and also said it "felt like it was much too soon to recast" noting how the world outside and within the MCU was still processing the loss of Boseman.[61] By the end of the month, Boseman's makeup designer Siân Richards was set to return for the sequel, while his personal costumer Craig Anthony said he would not commit to the film due to Boseman's death. Hair designer Deidra Dixon was unsure if she would return following Boseman's death, as well as the death of her sister.[44] Feige said in January 2021 that the primary focus of the sequel was always about further exploring the characters and "different subcultures" of Wakanda.[60] That same month, Jordan said he was willing to reprise his role as Killmonger as he felt returning to the MCU would "always be on the table in some capacity" due to his love for the character and for working with Coogler.[62] In February, Daniel Kaluuya said he was unsure if he would reprise his role of W'Kabi;[63] he ultimately did not due to scheduling conflicts with the film Nope (2022).[64]

Pre-production

In March 2021, Coogler said he was still writing the script, and described working on the film without Boseman as the hardest thing he had ever done in his career. He added that Boseman had held together the first film, and now as the director, he was the one trying to keep it going.[56][65] He was able to reuse many elements of his planned film before Boseman's death while incorporating and applying "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".[14] According to Coogler, the original version of the script would have explored T'Challa dealing with resuming life after the Blip and "grieving the loss of time... after being gone for five years."[66] Freeman said he would soon meet with Coogler to discuss the project.[57] In April, Coogler wrote an op-ed in which he said the film would still shoot in Georgia despite the state passing its controversial Election Integrity Act of 2021 law. Though Coogler did not support the bill, he felt that boycotting film production in the state would have a negative effect on the people who otherwise would have been employed by the film. He instead planned to raise awareness of how to overturn the bill.[67] Nyong'o expressed excitement for Coogler's plans and how everyone involved was dedicated to continuing Boseman's legacy,[68] later saying that Coogler had reshaped his ideas for the film to respect Boseman, which she felt was "spiritually and emotionally correct" to do.[69] Moore described the film as "how you move forward while dealing with a tragic loss. All of the characters, both old and new, are dealing with how loss can affect your actions in ways that are emotional and surprising."[7]

The film continues exploring feminist themes from the first film, with Nyong'o saying the film would tackle the "beliefs, passions, loves and arguments" of the women characters, creating "a robust drama". She also felt that Wakanda was a "world we are striving to get to".[70] The film introduces Namor to the MCU, while changing his homeworld from the comics, Atlantis, to Talokan.[14][16] Talokan is a "lavish", hidden, underwater Mesoamerican civilization that was inspired by ancient Mayan culture. The creatives worked with Mayan historians and experts to portray it.[7] Coogler noted Talokan was similar to Wakanda in that it was also an advanced civilization "hiding in plain sight",[14] with Moore stating the two "often find themselves in conflict because they're not dissimilar. They are these nations that would prefer to be hidden and isolated, with monarchs who are incredibly powerful and have strong points of view about how the world should be." Hannah Beachler returns from the first film as production designer, noting she did a "deep dive" to portray this version of Atlantis in the film; she was visually inspired by the films Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Jack Kirby's comic imagery. Carter included jade and aquatic elements in her costumes for the Talokan people, and referenced sea creatures such as the lionfish and sharks for their feather headdresses. Many of the costumes needed to be tested in water given the amount of underwater filming that occurred.[7] One of the reasons would have been that there were no comparisons with Aquaman from competing company DC Entertainment,[71] the association between the legendary Atlantis and Mesoamerica came from the book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882) by Ignatius L. Donnelly.[72]

In May 2021, Marvel Studios revealed the film's title as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,[73] which Ethan Anderton of /Film believed was a fitting tribute to Boseman since "Wakanda Forever" is the battle cry of the Wakandans.[74] Wakanda Forever was originally intended to be used as the title of a potential third Black Panther film before the creatives decided to use it for the second film, with Moore stating that the title "felt right because it's a story about triumph through adversity. It's a story about legacy, it's a story about persistence, and Wakanda Forever says all of those things."[75] By the end of that month, Freeman said he had read the script and expressed excitement for it.[76] At the end of June, Edgar Luna, the business development manager of Worcester, Massachusetts's Economic Development Office, said the technical department of Wakanda Forever was in the city the week of June 25 to scout and inspect filming locations, including at the Worcester Police Department headquarters.[77][78]

Filming

Production started at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 29, 2021,[79] under the working title Summer Break.[80] Prior to Boseman's death, filming had been set to start in March 2021.[55] At the start of filming, Feige announced that "everyone" from the first film was expected to return.[79] Autumn Durald Arkapaw serves as the cinematographer, after doing so on Marvel Studios' Disney+ series Loki, replacing the first film's cinematographer Rachel Morrison.[81] A long time collaborator of Coogler's, Morrison planned to return for Wakanda Forever but was unable to due to a scheduling conflict with her film Flint Strong caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[82] Discussing the use of anamorphic lenses as opposed to spherical lenses, Coogler explained that anamorphic lenses "warp the image a little bit", which fit with the film having "the fog of loss over it"; a "profound loss... can warp how you look at the world".[14] Wright, Gurira, Nyong'o, and Kasumba bonded together on set while dealing with their grief for Boseman's death, with Wright and Gurira particularly connecting through taking walks together. Gurira described feeling emotional while entering the throne set, as she remembered filming scenes with Boseman during the first film, and said that Coogler helped her process her grief.[70]

Bassett said in July that the screenplay was still undergoing changes due to Boseman's death, and had gone through at least five incarnations. She also indicated that the first film's co-writer Joe Robert Cole was contributing to the sequel,[83] which Feige soon confirmed.[84] Michaela Coel joined the cast in an undisclosed role.[85] In August, Isaach de Bankolé was set to reprise his role as the Wakandan River Tribe elder,[27] and Dominique Thorne began filming scenes for Wakanda Forever as Riri Williams before starring as that character in the Disney+ series Ironheart.[86] Filming that month was expected to take place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and in Worcester,[78][87] with the production preparing to film a car chase in Worcester by August 18.[78][88] A chase scene was filmed in the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel on August 23 and 24.[89] On August 25, Wright was temporarily hospitalized with what were believed to be minor injuries sustained in an accident while filming a stunt in Boston.[90] Wright went to her home in London for recovery in September while filming continued to shoot around her character.[91] Dorothy Steel, who portrayed the Wakandan Merchant Tribe elder in the first film, died on October 15; she was in the middle of reprising her role for the sequel when she died.[28][92]

In late October, the film's release was delayed to November 11, 2022.[93] The production moved to the Mary Ross Waterfront Park in Brunswick, Georgia by October 22,[94][95] where filming occurred from October 28 to November 2.[95] Michael Torras, the manager of the Brunswick Landing Marina, said a 300-foot cruise ship would join the production in the following days, and most of the filming occurred on the water. Matthew Hill, Brunswick's downtown development authority director, said most of the scenes were shot at night.[96] By November 5, filming of the scenes that did not require Wright was completed,[91] before the production went on hiatus on November 19. This was to accommodate Wright's fractured shoulder and a concussion, which were more serious than initially determined, and was not expected to affect the film's release date.[91][97] The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented new rules on November 8 requiring non-U.S. citizens to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination before traveling to the country. The Hollywood Reporter noted that this could present an issue for Wright's return to filming in Atlanta since she is not a U.S. citizen and was reportedly not vaccinated.[98] In mid-December, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that filming would resume in late January 2022 in Atlanta with Wright involved;[99] Feige, Moore, and executive producer Louis D'Esposito confirmed upon the start of the hiatus that Wright was the film's new lead.[97]

Filming resumed by mid-January 2022, with a recovered Wright returning, and was expected to continue for four weeks.[100][101] Filming was originally scheduled to resume on January 10 but was delayed by a week after cast and crew members, including Nyong'o, tested positive for COVID-19. At that time, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Duke had negotiated a pay raise for his return because of his character's expanded role in the sequel.[101] The following month, Nyong'o revealed that Danny Sapani would be reprising his role as the Wakandan Border Tribe elder in the film.[29] Thorne completed filming her scenes by March 13.[102] Additional photography began on March 18, in Puerto Rico, where filming officially wrapped on March 24.[103][104]

Post-production

In June 2022, Huerta confirmed that he was appearing in the film,[21] and he was officially announced to be playing Namor at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con the next month,[105] when Coel, Mabel Cadena, and Alex Livinalli were also revealed to be respectively playing Aneka, Namora, and Attuma, and Florence Kasumba was confirmed to be reprising her role as Ayo.[12] Reshoots occurred with the cast following their appearance at Comic-Con. Huerta described them as being for "little missing pieces".[106] In late July, it was revealed that Kamaru Usman would appear in the film,[35] while Richard Schiff was revealed to be cast in September.[107] Lake Bell was revealed to be appearing in the film in October; she previously voiced alternate versions of Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow in What If...?.[32] Michael P. Shawver returns as editor from the first film.[108] The film only features one post-credits scene, with Moore explaining that the creatives "felt the ending was so kind of poetic", that including an additional scene after the credits would have "felt a little disingenuous tonally from what we were doing".[109]

Music

In September 2021, it was revealed that Ludwig Göransson was set to return as composer for the sequel.[110] His score was released by Hollywood Records on November 11, 2022.[111]

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Prologue, a soundtrack extended play, was released by Hollywood Records and Marvel Music on July 25, 2022, and includes Tems' cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry", which was used in the film's teaser trailer, "A Body, a Coffin" by Amaarae, and "Soy" by Santa Fe Klan. Göransson produced all three songs, and co-wrote "A Body, a Coffin" with Amaarae, Kyu Steed, KZ, Cracker Mallo, and Maesu.[112] In late October 2022, it was announced that the film's lead single would be "Lift Me Up" by Rihanna, written by Tems, Göransson, Rihanna, and Coogler, as a tribute to Boseman. It marks its first solo musical output from Rihanna since 2016 and was released on October 28, through Westbury Road, Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings, and Hollywood Records. Tems stated she wanted to write a song that "portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life".[113] "Lift Me Up" was featured on the film's soundtrack, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music from and Inspired By, which was released on November 4, 2022, by Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings, and Hollywood Records.[113][111]

Marketing

The first footage from the film was shown in a sizzle reel of Disney's upcoming films during the studio's presentation at CinemaCon in April 2022.[114] Feige, Coogler, and the cast promoted the film at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con alongside a live performance from singer Baaba Maal, tama player Massamba Diop, and other African drummers and dancers and the debut of the teaser trailer on July 23, 2022.[115][116] It featured a cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" that transitions into Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" (2015). Both Leah Simpson and Giovana Gelhoren of People called the footage "powerful",[117] while Sandra Gonzalez of CNN felt the teaser commemorated Boseman's performance and wrote "amid the grief that permeates the preview, there's hope, the birth of new life (literally) and a glimpse at the future, with a clawed sneak peek of a new suited hero".[118] Writing for IndieWire, Christian Zilko also felt the teaser commemorated Boseman's performance while also opining that this presented a "daunting" challenge for Marvel Studios for Black Panther's future, due to Boseman being regarded as "one of the cornerstones of the MCU moving forward" and the studio not recasting his role.[119] Variety's Carson Burton and J. Kim Murphy felt the teaser focused on who would "take on the mantle" of Black Panther, noting the presence of a mysterious figure at the end of the trailer.[120] The teaser trailer received 172 million views in its first 24 hours of release.[121] Funko Pops for the film were also revealed a day after.[122]

The film was included in a sizzle reel shown ahead of screenings during National Cinema Day that highlighted upcoming films from various studios.[123] Coogler, Wright, Duke, Bassett, and Huerta promoted the film at the 2022 D23 Expo with exclusive footage, which Aaron Couch from The Hollywood Reporter described as a "gripping sequence".[124] An official trailer was released on October 3, 2022.[17] EJ Panaligan at Variety and Narayan Liu of Comic Book Resources both called it an "exciting" trailer that provided a better look at the new Black Panther costume,[17][125] with Liu adding it teased "a more intense storyline centered on loss, strength and the heroes" of the MCU.[125] Devan Coggan of Entertainment Weekly said the trailer was "the best look yet at Wakanda's future" which ended with "a stunning look at the new Panther suit".[14] Gizmodo's Linda Codega found everything in the trailer from "the music, the energy, [and] the intensity" to be "incredible" and exclaimed the film appeared to be "balanc[ing] political maneuvering, spycraft, and the kind of goofiness [one would] expect out of a Marvel film".[126]

In October 2022, Marvel partnered with Target for an ad campaign featuring Thorne reprising her role as Riri Williams. The minute-long ad was directed by Malik Vitthal and shows Williams working on her Mark I Ironheart suit concurrent with a group of young Black girls creating with Lego. Williams sees one of the girls at Target, who gives her inspiration for her suit's power source. Shannon Miller at Adweek called the ad "a rare occurrence in mainstream marketing" of two young Black STEM girls interacting. The ad featured a number of MCU-themed Easter eggs and the song "I Got the Juice" by Janelle Monáe featuring Pharrell Williams. It debuted online on October 16, 2022, with an airing during Monday Night Football the following day; 30 and 15-second versions were also created. Marvel and Target's partnership also includes exclusive merchandise and augmented reality experiences within Target stores.[127] Also in October, Sprite Zero Sugar launched a marketing campaign to promote the film from Wieden + Kennedy and Momentum Worldwide.[128] Lexus ran an advertisement promoting its RZ 450e with Dora Milaje and Danai Gurira. Lexus and Adidas teamed up for designing a custom Lexus LC 500 Convertible for JuJu Smith-Schuster during the world premiere. Both it and the Lexus GX feature in the film.[129]

On November 1, McDonald's began selling Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Happy Meals which come with one of ten toys based on characters from the film.[130] A six-episode podcast hosted by Ta-Nehisi Coates, titled Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast, features interviews with the cast and crew discussing the making of the film. The first episode premiered on November 3, 2022, and the subsequent episodes will be released weekly beginning January 2023.[131] Three episodes of the series Marvel Studios: Legends were released on November 4, 2022, exploring T'Challa, Shuri, and the Dora Milaje using footage from their previous MCU appearances,[132] while a 20/20 TV special entitled Black Panther: In Search of Wakanda hosted by Robin Roberts and featuring interviews with the film's cast was aired on ABC.[133] To celebrate the launch of Adidas' "Wakanda Forever Collection", Calty Design Research, Adidas School for Experiential Education in Design and Carbon partnered to design a custom Lexus RX 500h F SPORT inspired by the film.[134] The promotional campaign for Wakanda Forever was worth more than $100 million.[129]

Release

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered at the El Capitan Theatre and the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on October 26, 2022.[135][136] It also premiered in Lagos, Nigeria on November 6, 2022, which Deadline Hollywood described as the first Marvel film to hold a local premiere.[137]

It began releasing internationally on November 9, 2022,[135] and in the United States on November 11.[93] It was previously scheduled for May 6 and then for July 8, 2022.[49][53] The film was released theatrically in France, despite the country's 17-month waiting period for when films can appear on streaming services after its theatrical release. Disney's decision to release Wakanda Forever in theaters was encouraged by the French government's acknowledgment that their media chronology needed to be modernized and their timeline to do so, after previously opting to skip the theatrical release of their film Strange World and release it directly to Disney+. Under the current chronology, Wakanda Forever will first become available on Disney+ in France in early 2024.[138] It is the final film of Phase Four of the MCU.[139]

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is unlikely to be released in China, most likely due to the depiction of a same-sex relationship between Ayo and Aneka, with previous MCU Phase Four films also having not been released in China.[140] The removal of this scene, along with some other edits, were made in order for the film to be released in Kuwait.[141]

Reception

Box office

As of November 27, 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has grossed $367.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $308.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $676 million.[4][3]

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was projected to earn $175 million in North America on its opening weekend.[142] By November 2022, Boxoffice Pro estimated the film's opening weekend in North America to be between $170–205 million, and projected the film would earn $435–543 million for its total domestic gross.[143] The film made $84.3 million on its first day,[144] including $28 million from Thursday night previews.[145] It went on to gross $181.3 million during the opening weekend, attaining the first position at the box office.[146] This was the third-biggest opening weekend for a film during the pandemic era, behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187 million) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($260 million). It was also the biggest opening weekend ever for a film released in November.[147] The film remained in the first position the following weekend with a gross of $66.5 million for a drop of 63%.[148]

Outside the United States and Canada, the film grossed $150.3 million from 50 countries in its first week. It had the biggest opening ever for a film in Nigeria, as well as the second-biggest for a film released in 2022 in France and South Africa. It also scored the third-biggest worldwide opening for a film during the pandemic era, behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($450 million) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($601 million).[149] Disney Africa reported that the film set an all time box office record in West Africa and had the biggest box office opening of 2022 in East Africa, as well as the second-highest box office gross ever in Southern Africa.[150][151] The largest running-total markets by November 13 were the UK and Ireland ($15 million), France ($13.7 million), Mexico ($12.8 million), South Korea ($8.9 million) and Brazil ($7.1 million).[149] In its second weekend it grossed $69.8 million for a drop of 49%.[152]

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 84% with an average rating of 7.2/10, based on 381 reviews. The site's critics consensus reads: "A poignant tribute that satisfyingly moves the franchise forward, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks an ambitious and emotionally rewarding triumph for the MCU."[153] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 62 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[154] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported audience members gave the film an overall positive score of 93%, with 85% saying that they would definitely recommend it.[155]

Kambole Campbell at Empire Online gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating that the film "stands out from a somewhat formulaic era of Marvel movies: held together by its compelling sense of place, and by acting as a passionate eulogy for Chadwick Boseman" and feeling that it was "imaginative and... grounded, which makes the tilt to the usual CG-dominated spectacle a little jarring." Campbell lauded the performances of Wright, Duke, Bassett, and Coel, and described Huerta's character as "a highlight, an imaginative adaptation of the veteran comics character, one who here speaks truth with convincing venom."[156] Tom Jorgensen at IGN gave the film 7 out of 10, stating that it was "an effective, emotional farewell to T'Challa—a meditation on forging one's own future out of a painful past—but with a plot that has to introduce an entirely new nation and pave the way for a new wave of Marvel stories, it does struggle under the weight of all that expectation." Jorgensen lauded Bassett and Huerta's performances, but he felt that Talokan had not been "establish[ed]... quite as gracefully" and the film's third act had "push[ed] its luck too far... with a poorly conceived and logically baffling tactical choice".[157]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "The movie doesn't have the classic comic-book pow of Black Panther, and it's easily 20 minutes too long (we could probably have lived without the Talokan backstory). Yet Wakanda Forever has a slow-burn emotional suspense. Once the film starts to gather steam, it doesn't let up."[158] Similarly, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune felt Wakanda Forever "is not special like the first movie was. The quality of the storytelling and especially the action sequences grows less effective as the film proceeds." Nevertheless, he singled out that "every actor on screen here is marvelous, even when the script and effects-driven spectacle settles for the wrong kind of 'more'."[159] Peter Travers of ABC News commended the performances from Bassett, Wright and Thorne, but wrote the film's runtime "feels loooong, with dragged out battle scenes, excessive computer effects and way too much franchise building."[160] The BBC's Nicholas Barber said that the sequel struggled due to the loss of Boseman, but commended the visual effects and Bassett, Wright, and Lupita Nyong'o's acting.[161]

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter felt that "[e]ven if the length feels overextended, Coogler and his editors deserve credit for allowing breathing space between the action scenes for character and relationship development, with Ludwig Göransson’s African-inflected score enhancing both those quieter moments and the big smackdowns. It's impossible for Wakanda Forever to match the breakthrough impact of its predecessor, but in terms of continuing the saga while paving the way for future installments, it's amply satisfying.[162] Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post wrote: "Wakanda Forever winds up feeling hopelessly stalled, covering up an inability to move on by resorting to repetitive, over-familiar action sequences, maudlin emotional beats and an uninvolving, occasionally incoherent story."[163] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film two stars out of four, criticizing the film's runtime and worldbuilding subplots. He further wrote that the sequel is "not so much a bad movie as it is disappointing and frustrating. There are some strong moments both in terms of character development (primarily for Shuri, who has the deepest and most compelling arc) and action (the car chase is perfunctory but some of the battle scenes are well-executed), but not enough of them. There are no rousing moments designed to elicit a mass cheer from the audience".[164]

Accolades

Accolades received by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 16, 2022 Best Original Score in a Sci-Fi Film Ludwig Göransson Nominated [165]
Best Original Song in a Feature Film Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Göransson for "Lift Me Up" Won
Song/Score – Trailer "No Woman, No Cry" and "Alright" Nominated

Future

Possible sequel

In November 2022, Coogler and Feige were revealed to have discussed a potential third Black Panther film.[166]

Ironheart

In November 2022, Moore stated that the Disney+ series Ironheart would serve as a direct sequel to Wakanda Forever, with Thorne returning to reprise her role as Riri Williams. Ironheart is set to premiere in 2023.[167]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in Black Panther (2018)
  2. ^ As depicted in Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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External links