Behind the Themes of ‘Wakanda Forever’
One week into it’s worldwide release, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has spawned a multiverse of conversations surrounding grief, fate, honor and duty — all themes that add new texture to viewers’ understanding of both the singular hero’s journey and the multiplied power of community. Having grossed more than $400 million worldwide to date, the film is at once deeply present, and Afrofuturist while dwelling in the past; the immediate invocation of the ancestors and portrayal of inherited traditions guide the sequel’s cast of characters in the absence of the late Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa) in order to carry the next generation forward.
Lupita Nyongo, a Hollywood Reporter , reflected on her preparations for Nakia. She said that she had to face the role because it was a task given to her by a woman who was in a different stage of accepting loss than I was.
“It was very difficult to lose Chadwick, but he was not to Nakia what he was for me.” I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to continue my life after losing the love and companion of your life .”
Simone Ledward Boseman, Simone’s widow, was her inspiration.
“I will always remember Simone and her strength. I was there at his funeral service. I can remember being so shocked, because I was broken. Nyong’o describes her as “so grounded, she was almost like an oak.” “When I was getting ready to Nakia, I thought a lot about her.” Because she knew more than we did, Nakia is also a lot wiser and more experienced with grief and death .”
Danai Gurira, who reprises her role as Okoye, says that stepping back into the Black Panther universe for the sequel, especially without Boseman, was marked by a feeling of disorientation and displacement for her. Director Ryan Coogler personally walked each actor through their character arcs (given real world changes that surround the film), before they returned to set. “So I had an understanding of the type of journey I was about take for Okoye,” Gurira informs THR.
Continues Gurira. “If you do a sequel, let the characters go through some shifts to end up somewhere they wouldn’t expect. To be stretched and to expand their humanity.” I think that’s the best thing about this world. We get to meet these characters in [the first film], but they get stretched and expanded, stressed and taxed in this sequel, which allows complex characters to take hold.
Nyong’o “wept uncontrollably” when Nyong’o was presented to the revised script. She says she was relieved to learn that Chadwick would be honored, and that Nakia received this continued story that allowed for her to grow and be at a different stage of her life .”
The second chapter of the Black Panther storyline introduces new characters and a wider representation of communities of color onscreen. The setting where Namor (Tenoch Uerta), and his fellow water-breathing citizens, meet is Talokan, an underwater kingdom rich in vibranium, just like Wakanda.
Gurira states that they are both dealing with an aspect that is Indigenous. He says that they are trying to preserve it in a world that destroys it. “You saw it happen in Africa and South America. So to see these two peoples who have managed to preserve their strength and become extremely powerful by preserving their individuality, I think it is an amazing resonance that will hopefully be strong for all of us who wish to keep who we are in a world that tells to be something else .
The cultural speciality of Talokan was a source of pride for the actors portraying its citizens.
“Its such a proud moment to be able to be part of Black Panther…and to be able to represent for our community and the Mayan community with their language,” Alex Livinalli, who plays Attuma, says. “We were speaking 100 percent Maya, Mabel, myself, and Tenoch learned it from scratch.”
“Because for the first time in a movie like this we have the opportunity to represent the Indigenous language, so this is huge.” “Because this movie is the first time we have the chance to represent the Indigenous language, this is huge .”
Boseman’s performance as T’Challa was not possible. The film, cast and crew’s “North Star” were unable to capture the true essence of Wakanda. This caused a shift in the world that eventually led to a kaleidoscopic reinvention.
Nyong’o muses, “With losing him it took picking up pieces, trying to figure out how to move forward, and that is what our story is about.” “Its about confronting and interrogating what we do when we have lost something dear to us, when we have experienced tragedy.”