Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was different from many Marvel projects for a bunch of different reasons, but simply how it came to be made a different sort of film. In many ways, it feels like a superhero movie bookended by two very moving memorials. The first of those memorials is at the film’s beginning, which is the funeral we saw in many of the trailers. The second was a much more private affair with Shuri on the beach, finally burning the funeral clothes she could not burn at the beginning of the movie. The film starts with the journey of grief for Shuri, which is how it ends as well, with her not quite completing that journey, but taking a step forward in the grieving process. Cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about that scene with Shuri on the beach and the following post-credits scene where we find out that Nakia and T’Challa actually had a child together, thus showing that T’Challa isn’t really gone, a piece of him does remain in this world through her and now her nephew. Durald Arkapaw explained how most of the film was shot in Atlanta, but that scene was shot on a beach in Puerto Rico.
“Ryan and I wanted to [shoot] at the end of the day,” she explained. “That was the best light for the angle we wanted. And we got a little bit lucky; there was a lot of wind that day, and the trees were blowing. There wasn’t a ton of cloud cover. You got that nice, beautiful flare coming in the lens. … Their performance is so sensitive and beautiful. That’s one of the most impactful things I’ve ever shot, as far as everything timing out to be so beautiful and natural. And on a beach in Puerto Rico, where we’re watching the sunset right behind her …”
“It encapsulates what this movie is. It’s about family, and it’s about rebirth,” she continued. “It’s about trying to let go of grief, but it does stay with you, and sometimes you have to carry it with you, and you’re reminded of it. It’s one of the most beautiful endings I think I’ve seen.”
Much of phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was about the process of grief and how you move through it. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came with the added weight of the real-life loss of Chadwick Boseman and knowing how fundamentally everyone in this production felt his loss. You don’t need to look beyond the cast reactions to that first trailer reveal on stage in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con last summer. Those that were touched by Chadwick and worked on the first movie were in tears, while those seeing themselves brought into this universe carried the same joy that we saw on the face of the Black Panther cast when they showed off the exclusive footage for us to see in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Cast, Summary, Release Date
Cast: Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams), Michaela Coel (Aneka), Mabel Cadena (Namora), Alex Livinalli (Attuma), Tenoch Huerta (Namor), Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda).
In Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena, and Alex Livanalli. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige and Nate Moore, opened in U.S. theaters on November 11, 2022.