Black Panther 2 should be a transcendence movie


Kendal Manns is the editor-in-chief for the 2022-23 The Hornet Tribune staff. He is a 21-year old junior from Baltimore, Maryland whose major is communications. His career ambition is to become a sports journalist for a professional sports team.

Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

The first Black Panther movie was a cultural phenomenon, reeling in $1.344 billion globally at the box office. The movie affected so many in the Black community and transcended the superhero movie genre under the great direction of Ryan Coogler and an amazing cast led by the late Chadwick Boseman. Despite Boseman’s passing, I believe the movie’s sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’’ should continue that legacy.
I think I speak for many when I say that Black Panther 2 was highly anticipated right after the first one wrapped up in theaters. Seeing Boseman don the panther suit and the country of Wakanda again was something I and many others could not wait for. Then news of the tragic passing of Boseman hit the airwaves Aug. 28 2020, after a long and silent battle with cancer.
Boseman had become so synonymous with the character and was beloved by so many people for his acting career but also for his kind nature and overall great personality that it made it hard to imagine someone taking his place. When it was announced by Marvel Studios that Boseman would not be replaced, many fans were in an uproar due to the importance that T’Challa (Boseman’s character) has on the Marvel Universe. This backlash put a lot of negativity around the sequel.
Fast forward to now, where the movie is just days from releasing and I am still holding out hope that the lack of a recast does not overshadow what this movie is. For one, it is a love letter to Boseman and the character of T’Challa as seen in all of the promotional material including the trailers. There will be a funeral for T’Challa early on, which is a beautiful send-off for the character and the man that played him so well.
Secondly, this movie still features an amazing cast of Black actors and actresses and the titular nation of Wakanda. Seeing Wakanda on screen is one of the most heartwarming experiences as a Black person because it is one of the greatest examples of positive representation we have. For so long, Hollywood has depicted us as slaves, simple comic relief, pawns for the main character and other disrespectful characters. This movie franchise gives us a chance to be so much more. It gives us some of the most positive character portrayals possible. The people of Wakanda are intelligent, innovative, cohesive, in tune with their ancestors and fully capable of thriving with no outside help.
Those things made the Black community show up in droves to see the first Black Panther. Those things inspired Black boys and girls to dress up like the Black Panther or his all-female army, the Dora Milaje. That type of representation matters and it is needed in our community now more than ever.
Black Panther 2 should be no different. Despite Boseman’s passing, this movie still has so much to offer the community. Black icons like Angela Bassett will still be present. Black women will dominate the screen and be shown as powerful, intelligent and fully capable of thriving on their own. It will be an emotional roller coaster for the entire audience as we see Letitia Wright step into the role of the main character, Shuri, the princess of Wakanda yet again.
There are many detractors of the movie already, stating that the absence of T’Challa will be too obvious to get over and the movie will suffer greatly from it. To that, I would say two things: first, Boseman’s role in the first movie was honestly irreplaceable to the point I could not see anyone else playing T’Challa, and second, this movie is too important to the community to continue to bring it down because of something out of the director or the actors’ control.
I love Boseman and all of his work, but his death cannot and should be the reason this movie is not as impactful as its predecessor. Like it or not, the Black community needs more movies like this, more characters that young people can look up to and want to aspire to be like in the future.
The first Black Panther introduced many people to different African tribes and traditions, demonstrated the consequences of not lending a hand to your fellow brothers and sisters and showcased just how strong Black people can be if we work together, all while creating a compelling narrative about family, love and tradition.
Regardless of what anyone says Black Panther will forever be a staple in the Black community and families for generations to come. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever should be received the same way. We as the Black community need to support this movie as much as we can because it is by us, for us and about us.