Wakanda Forever: A Tribute to Boseman


Rylee Smith

The local Isis Theater poster for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever presented before walking into the movie.

Wakanda lives on through the sequel of the Marvel movie Black Panther, astonishing fans across the globe. In light of Chadwick Boseman’s passing, the cast of Black Panther and Marvel Studios created a heartwarming tribute to our beloved hero through the continuation of Marvel’s popular comic. Wakanda was symbolized as more than a place, movie, or fictional city in Eastern Africa. Wakanda becomes a home that connected those looking to support each other while grieving the loss of Boseman.

Black Panther is a Marvel Studios film that takes place in the mystical country of Wakanda. The movie focuses on five African Tribes and their conflict over a meteorite containing a fictional metal called vibranium, known for its ability to absorb store and release large amounts of energy. When one selected warrior from the family throne ingests this heart-shaped herb infected by vibranium, they gain superhuman abilities and are officially named the “Black Panther.” Obtaining this power comes with the responsibility of ruling over Wakanda and uniting its people.

When Marvel released the first Black Panther movie in 2018, it instantly made history. Black Panther was the first Marvel movie with a Black director and a predominantly Black cast. Chadwick Boseman who plays the protagonist, T’Challa, holds the title of the first Black superhero in a Marvel Studios film. Receiving 96% rotten tomatoes and a standing ovation from the Dolby Theater at its premiere, it is safe to say that the original Black Panther is loved and appreciated by many worldwide.

On August 28th, 2020 Boseman devastatingly passed away due to colon cancer. He was first diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016 and in those four short years, it progressed to stage four. During the filming of the first Black Panther movie, Boseman was actively battling this illness. Throughout all of his hardships, he still was able to execute the irreplaceable role of T’Challa.

As the Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler was creating the script for Wakanda Forever, Boseman’s passing prompted adjustments to the script. However, the second movie would not be the same without Boseman. His absence in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was a drastic shift and an ever-changing loss to the world. However, Coogler and all cast members created this sequel to honor Boseman and the compassionate person he lived up to become.

In a recent video published by Marvel Entertainment in remembrance of Boseman, actor of Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. has always appreciated Boseman and the unique person he was. Downey Jr. acknowledges how important and magical Boseman was to the creation of Black Panther, and how he will be incredibly missed by Marvel Studios and all Black Panther fans.

“Chadwick was a really smart, interesting, dynamic guy. I think he was not overwhelmed — but very surprised and somewhat taken aback by the amount of love. It ceased to become just about how well he inhabited the role, it’s become part of our culture just as a symbol,” Downey Jr. said in an interview published on August 30, 2020.

Throughout the movie, members of Wakanda and the world struggle to grasp the reality of existence, absent T’Challa as the Black Panther. The vision of the film follows the perspectives of his loved ones and the sentiments that they carry whilst continuing through the motions of life. Toward the end, T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, adopts the role of the Black Panther in hopes to avenge the loss of her beloved family and protect her country. She ends up finding that the role she took on was less about the aspect of combat than it was about the purpose of the fight. This realization uncovered a primary theme of the film, the significance of community, exemplified through both comics.

From the visual components to the outstanding theatricals, the recognition of this film was both highly anticipated and well deserved. Marvel’s team created a balance between highlighting Boseman’s life and developing an original storyline that constructed the liveliness of this production.

Boseman’s presence carried others through days of hardships and triumphs. The dedication that he put towards his acting career had an impact on the audience and his fellow cast mates who were fortunate enough to grasp even the slightest bit of his virtuous character. This gifted actor touched the hearts of many, and his passing sent a wave of shock throughout our society. Thank you for your contributions and the legacy that you’ve created for the Marvel Universe Chadwick Boseman.