Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s emotional debut trailer managed to sneak in a touching tribute to the franchise’s late star, Chadwick Boseman.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally lifted its impenetrable veil of secrecy by showcasing a powerful trailer at Comic-Con 2022. While we still don’t know exactly how the sequel’s lead role vacancy of the late Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa will be explained, the trailer notably touts a tribute by way of the Wakandan alphabet.
The theme of characters in deep mourning dominates Wakanda Forever’s debut trailer, heavily implying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise protagonist has, akin to his portrayer, somehow passed away.
Indeed, as Angela Bassett’s returning Queen Ramonda emotionally declares in the clip, “I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone.”
Tellingly, this line is followed by the image of a mural showing the face of the queen’s son, T’Challa, flanked by text in the Wakandan alphabet; text that, once translated, conveys a profound message about the image’s gone-but-not-forgotten subject.
“The king lives and the panther… forever in us…” is how the visible part of the text translates, followed by more that is obscured in the quickly flashed message.
This, of course, lends even further credence to the idea that T’Challa is unlikely to return to the franchise — be it recast with a different actor or via Disney’s recent penchant for deepfake technology — and that the story will progress without his presence.
Moreover, the message implies that the spirit of Wakanda that T’Challa embodied as the Black Panther is here to stay, manifesting through those who remain.
The alphabet of the fictional nation of Wakanda was created specifically for 2018’s Black Panther by production designer Hannah Beachler. Since it is fully realized, the Wakandan alphabet table is widely available online, and there are even full-on translator sites.
Consequently, the mysterious text in the Wakanda Forever trailer can be decoded, as Screen Rant has done.
Boseman debuted as T’Challa/Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War to resounding praise, which further facilitated the success of his solo debut in Black Panther.
The film was the catalyst for a wave that permeated the pop culture spectrum and proved there was a place of prominence for characters of color in the ultra-lucrative MCU.
While he would reprise the role in box-office-breaking crossovers in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the actor was secretly battling stage III colon cancer, making his death on August 28, 2020 a tremendous shock to both fans and even some of his co-stars.
Boseman also banked voice roles as T’Challa for four episodes of Disney+ animated series What If…?, which stand as his overall final performances.
Interestingly, much of the focus of Black Panther sequel trailer is on Letitia Wright’s returning Shuri, who, as T’Challa’s younger sister, utilized her advanced technological knowledge for Wakanda’s benefit.
However, the trailer also briefly teases the emergence of a new Black Panther, and the idea of Shuri inheriting the sacred family mantle is mirrored in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Yet, while the clip doesn’t divulge the identity of the new titular hero just yet, it does provide a first glimpse of a debuting MCU hero in Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, a prodigious character, recently created in the comic book lore, who takes her technical genius and idolization of Tony Stark to create an Iron Man-inspired suit of armor.
That character will eventually fight the good fight as Ironheart, serving as the title character for an upcoming Disney+ television series.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is slated to hit theaters on November 11.
Story by CBR.com