“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a perfect tribute to the life and legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman


Lead actress Letitia Wright plays Shuri, sister to the late Boseman’s character, T’Challa, 2022. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

After the tragic news of Chadwick Boseman’s death, Marvel Studios in collaboration with director Ryan Coogler scrapped their original idea for the Black Panther sequel to honor Boseman’s legacy with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Directed by Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a tale about how in the wake of King T’Challa’s death, the powerful nation of Wakanda mourns and grieves their tremendous loss while actively fighting to protect themself from the ancient but extremely powerful hidden nation of Talocan. Coogler is best known for directing the first Black Panther movie.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” marked the end of phase four for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The theme of phase four has been grief, pain and loss and how to handle it of which “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is no exception. The movie tackles the death of King T’Challa and how the citizens of Wakanda handle their grief and loss, especially Queen Ramonda and Princess Shuri. The movie also deals with the loss of the nation’s protector, The Black Panther, especially at a time when the protector is needed. Director Coogler uses the death of King T’Challa to pay respect to the death of Boseman whilst giving his fans a sense of closure. 

Dominique Thorne brings Riri Williams to the big screen for the first time in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," 2022. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.
Dominique Thorne brings Riri Williams to the big screen for the first time in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” 2022. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

In addition to thematic choices, Marvel Studios also used storytelling and on-screen character interaction to further pay tribute to Boseman’s life and legacy. In the movie, Marvel Studios tells several stories each in relation to Boseman. First and most obviously, the movie is about the death of the king and properly grieving. The movie is also about the loss of the Black Panther, protector of Wakanda which is synonymous to the loss of a prominent pillar of the black community in Boseman. The movie also follows Shuri and how she handles the death of her brother. The movie also introduces Riri Williams, MIT undergrad and child prodigy who tries to navigate being “young, gifted and black” in America, a phrase taken from Nina Simone’s 1994 single “Young, Gifted and Black” and used by Boseman in his acceptance speech at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Coogler also used character interaction to emphasize the lessons Boseman taught while he was alive. From the interaction between Queen Ramonda and her daughter Shuri, Shuri and Riri Willams and even the protagonists and the antagonist, Namor, ruler of Talocan, every single on-screen interaction reminded us that although Boseman is dead, he isn’t gone because he lives in the lessons that he taught us and the characters he portrayed. 

Actor Tenoch Huerta plays famous Marvel character, Namor, in the recent Black Panther sequel, 2022. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.
Actor Tenoch Huerta plays famous Marvel character, Namor, in the recent Black Panther sequel, 2022. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

As mentioned above, every aspect of the movie is in respect to Boseman’s life, legacy or both including the musical score and soundtrack. Composed by award winning Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, the musical score for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” features the rich African music that was present in the prequel while also introducing a new Mesoamerican and Latin American music to represent the city of Talocan and Namor. Ludwig Göransson in an interview with Apple Music said that he and Coogler wanted to create a “sound world” that was immersive and also paid respect to the past (Boseman) while introducing a brighter future. The soundtrack also features various artists like American singer-songwriter Rihanna, Nigerian singer Temilade Opeyini more commonly known as Tems and many more. Each artist featured on the soundtrack is either of African or Latin roots giving the movie its Afro-Latin feel.

As stated above, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a movie about great loss and grief but that is not what makes it the best movie in Marvel’s phase four. It is a great movie because it is a tribute to Boseman, a pillar of excellence, it illustrates the struggles of being black and talented in America, it celebrates the rich culture of Africa and Latin America and finally it is about how to properly handle the loss of a loved one and how the lessons they teach us stay with us forever.

I, Joey, rate this movie a 5 out of 5.