July 26, 2022 4 min read
Marvel used its San Diego Comic-Con panel to make several significant announcements, including its full plans for MCU Phases 5 and 6. But first, there’s a big goodbye for phase 4, which will be wrapped up with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Before we jump into the breakdown, check out the trailer if you haven’t already:
The first and most important piece of news is Namor’s arrival in the MCU. Namor McKenzie (yes, that is his last name in the comics) is the son of a human father and an Atlantean princess, raised to be the king of the undersea people and played by Tenoch Huerta. He was created in 1939 by Bill Everett, long before Marvel existed, so he has a long and storied history in comics even before he was revealed to be the Marvel Universe’s first mutant. During WWII, Namor was a member of Captain America’s Invaders and one of the first people to encounter the Fantastic Four after they gained their powers.
However, the MCU appears to be deviating from the comics. This Atlantis is replete with Mayan imagery and clothing, and Namor does not appear to be more than 100 years old. As his mother gives birth to him under the water, we see his adorable little winged baby feet. He appears several times throughout the trailer, staring up at Wakandan ships firing energy blasts on his beach encampment as M’Baku jumps off a boat to bash him. One thing that shines through this trailer and is definitely present in this portrayal: Namor is a badass.
At the end of the trailer, we see someone dressed in Black Panther armour from behind. Following Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death in 2020, there was some speculation about what would happen to the character in the future — would they recast or simply put a new character under the mask? Shuri spent a lot of time as Black Panther in the late 2000s and early 2010s, so there was plenty of precedent for the latter in the comics to adapt from.
This trailer made it abundantly clear that this film will pay tribute to Boseman and his character. Nobody knew what to expect from our first look at Wakanda Forever, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “everyone crying and watching it over and over again,” This trailer expertly reminded us of what a huge loss Boseman’s death was. I don’t think they’ll recast him in this film.
Namor’s human father met Namor’s mother while on a resource hunting expedition in Antarctica. You may be wondering what resource he was looking for. Vibranium.
Atlantis and Wakanda have spent the majority of their time as Marvel Universe locations which are always at odds with one another. T’Challa had Namor marked as a potential threat before he became Black Panther, and after decades of friction between the two nations, Namor, given a fifth of the power of the Phoenix during Avengers vs. X-Men, used it to devastate Wakanda.
Soon after, the two were forced to collaborate due to the Incursions (the multiversal destruction that led to Secret Wars), but while those were going on, Shuri (Queen of Wakanda and Black Panther) led a retaliatory invasion of Atlantis. Namor retaliated by summoning Thanos to Wakanda, to which T’Challa retaliated with a knife in Namor’s ribs and a kick onto a collapsing Earth 1610, and so on.
Bottom line: Atlantis and Wakanda are at odds for a variety of reasons. However, Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) seems to be one of them. He stands out in his one scene in the trailer. Is the United States launching a proxy war between two literal superpowers?
I’m not sure if any other movie’s trailer could have done the Ironheart moments as well as Wakanda Forever. In this trailer, we meet Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams , created during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Iron Man, She is a brilliant teenage inventor who attends MIT as a 15-year-old and builds her own Iron Man suit out of school scraps.
Thorne appears in two scenes in the trailer: one in which she greets Shuri in Shuri’s lab in the same way that Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa did in the first Black Panther film. In the second, she’s hammering her logo out of a sheet of metal, much like Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark did in the first Iron Man film. I believe the trailer is attempting to convince us that she is a big deal and a major part of MCU’s future as she would also be appearing in her own Disney Plus show.
The trailer also confirms Michaela Coel’s casting as Aneka. Aneka and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) were Dora Milaje trainers — the best of the best — who saw T’Challa and Namor working together without understanding why. This caused a schism in the order, and they abandoned Birnin Zana, Wakanda’s capital. Aneka was captured and imprisoned by her old sisters after killing a man who had been abusing women in his care. But, before she was executed, Ayo set her free. The pair stole the Midnight Angel armour and set out to help people who had been overlooked by the Wakandan system.
Their vigilantism caused fairly significant political upheaval in Wakanda and led to its semi-democratization at the end of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run. Coel is definitely in Midnight Angel armor in the trailer, and Queen Ramonda is very angry about something. Don’t be surprised if Aneka and Ayo play a role in that.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres later this year on Nov. 11. And we will bring you the latest development from the film and cool action figures, statues, collectibles and Merch!
Until next time,