‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ released earlier this month, and has thus far proved to be both a critical and commercial success. Which is encouraging, since it released without the presences of the franchise’s biggest star, Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer in 2020. After the film’s success, director Ryan Coogler, who also directed the 2018 original, has expressed his gratitude in an emotional letter to the fans who made it such a phenomenon. While nowhere near on the level of the original, the film has nevertheless outperformed expectations in a business affected by COVID-19.
“Gratitude. That is the only word that comes to mind for your support of our work on the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I am filled with it,” began Coogler.
He went on to thank those who stayed in camps to get opening weekend tickets that are generally sold out weeks in advance. Coogler thanked fans for bearing with the subtitles as the film has 6 languages spoken in it. The film, while telling its own story, is also a cinematic, feature film-sized tribute to Boseman.
“Thank you for opening yourself up to the emotional journey of this film. We made something to honor our friend, who was a giant in our industry, and we also made something to be enjoyed in a theatrical setting with friends, family, and strangers,” said Coogler.
A script with Boseman in mind was already written. But after his death, it had to be rewritten and a new Black Panther had to be there, in order to justify the title. Though, the role of T’Challa, the real name of the superhero and the king of Wakanda, was not recast. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett star in the film.
2018’s ‘Black Panther’ was historic in many ways. For the first time, a mainstream commercial superhero film had a predominantly black cast and it told a story from their own perspective, not the white man’s.
Wion’s review of the film read, “For the most part, ‘Wakanda Forever’ is watchable. Mostly, despite its run time that proves punishing in the end, it is okayish fun and carries a decent enough pace that you do not really care about its flaws. Shuri’s arc is easily the best part of the film. Her story is saturated in the central themes of the film — grief and healing. Wright, who has landed herself in controversy over her anti-vaccination views, is more than up to the task. She is, in fact, superlative here, only slightly eclipsed by Basset, who absolutely steals the show in a relatively minor role.”