Wakanda Forever: Legacy of the Black Panther

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Azael A. Gomez

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered Nov. 11, making $181 million in its opening weekend.

Azael A. Gomez, Reporter

Black Panther became a cultural phenomenon after premiering in theaters in 2018 and has a vast history in comic books dating to 1966. 

Black Panther first made his appearance in July 1966 in Fantastic Four No. 2, and was created to bring diversity to Marvel comics. 

“He was one of the very few Black characters in the mainstream during the ‘60s,” senior Julian Gutierrez said.

The character, whose name is T’challa, was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kurby, who ran Marvel Comics. It broke new ground during the civil rights movement. 

“The fact that he is a powerful Black character who leads his own sovereign nation is what makes him mainstream,” Julian Gutierrez said.

After debuting and receiving positive reactions from comic readers, the character eventually received his own comic series in 1973. From there he remained a staple character in Marvel Comics. The character would also get a movie in 2018. Black Panther is the 18th film that is a part of a shared cinematic universe that Marvel Studios started in 2008 with Iron Man.

“Once the movies came out his popularity skyrocketed,” senior William Gutierrez said. “People connected with character and story.”

The film grossed $1.3 billion at the box office and broke numerous records on its opening day. Audience reactions were overwhelmingly positive and a sequel was developed. 

During the writing process of the film the lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who portrays the character died of colon cancer Aug. 19, 2020. After his death, the director/writer of the film Ryan Coogler rewrote the script of the sequel to address the character’s fate and honor Chadwick Boseman.

“The sequel will be heavily reliant on grief as a story technique,” Julian Gutierrez said. “He owned that role and it’s really big shoes to fill.”

Marvel Studios would later announce that the role of T’challa would not be recast and that the Black Panther mantle would be passed on to the character’s sister Shuri, played by Leticia Wright. They also gave the film an official title, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. 

“I expect (Wakanda Forever) to be as or even more successful than the first movie,” Julian Gutierrez said. “People will see this movie as a tribute to Chadwick.”