Marvel’s Comic-Con 2022 trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever includes a touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman, written in Wakanda and Screen Rant have the translation. The tribute appears on a wall mural, glimpsed briefly but poignantly in the first teaser for the Black Panther sequel. Interestingly, the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer stops short of explaining T’Challa’s fate, but a lot can be learned from the tribute.
Boseman’s death was an important thing to acknowledge in Wakanda Forever‘s narrative journey. Not only was the actor a hugely important figure for representation in the MCU, his take on the character struck a irresistible chord with fans, propelling Black Panther to a success that couldn’t be only judged in millions of dollars at the box office. Marvel’s Comic-Con 2022 panel also included a tribute to Boseman, but the question of how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would address his death was always going to be a pertinent one. The trailer’s tribute is a perfect one that carries a message of eternal power.
Thanks to the Wakandan alphabet, based on the ancient Nsibidi language system, but updated in design by production designer Hannah Beachler specifically for Black Panther, we now know what the mural tribute to Chadwick Boseman says. Around the painting of King T’Challa, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s Boseman tribute reads:
“The king lives and the panther… forever in us…”
The full message ending is obscured, but from what is visible, the sentiment is clear. Here’s how the Wakandan alphabet is set out:
How Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Honors Chadwick Boseman
Wakanda Forever is not simply a story about who takes over the Wakandan throne or the mantle of Black Panther in the MCU. Those questions will certainly come up, but the sequel is not solely invested in reliving the death of T’Challa or Chadwick Boseman by extension. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is about a war between two secret nations – Wakanda and the newly revealed Atlantis, ruled by Namor – with the implied message being that Wakanda cannot pause, even to mourn the death of its beloved king. That very much matches what producer Nate Moore promised about how Wakanda Forever would honor Chadwick Boseman’s memory, by making a great movie he would have loved:
“I think this movie has a different sort of pressure on it, obviously, with the loss of Chadwick, which was unexpected and unprecedented in a way narratively, to figure out how to deal with. So beyond, ‘Hey, we want to make a big, fun time,’ and people of the first movie, it’s how do we sort of do right by his legacy and tell a story that isn’t exploitative, which we would never, ever do, but builds on the things that he loved about the property and builds on the things that he brought to the property in a way that is enjoyable, feels real, feels earned, feels organic. Because I think we’re going to see the movie in two lenses, pure entertainment, but also cathartic. And we have to be conscious of both of those lenses as we’re making it.”
It would still have been wrong to leave out a tribute entirely, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever consciously avoiding an exploitative story and introducing one that introduces a new Black Panther out of necessity feels right. T’Challa’s legacy was his people and his nation, and he will live on in both. Protecting them with a new Black Panther is exactly as it should be.
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