The Influence and Anticipation of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


As the lights dimmed down and excitement rose in the theater, fans all around were thrilled to watch one of the most anticipated movies of 2022… Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The first Black Panther film was monumental not only for superhero/comic films but for the industry as a whole. The movie was one of the first People of Color (POC) lead films in the MCU and as of now the only superhero film to win any academy awards.

Apart from being important to the film industry, it was a big win towards having more representation in major motion picture films as we saw the Black community represented in a positive light and Chadwick gave many young black kids a hero to look up to. “The first one finally gave a hero to the Black community as most heroes in the MCU were white,” said Zach Young, a tenth grader here at McMahon.

With the big success that was the first Black Panther film, the second movie had big shoes to fill. Anticipation was high for the films but the expectations were higher, as the main actor of the franchise Chadwick Boseman had passed after a long battle with cancer between films.

From the beginning of the making of the film, Chadwick inspired many people. “The director, Ryan Coogler knew the new movie had to be a tribute and celebration of Chadwick and his wife supported the director wholeheartedly,” says the Hollywood Reporter.

Danai Gurira, the actress that plays the role of Shuri explained that Okoye’s tears were her tears after being asked about her experience filming the movie during the film’s press tour.

Representation of POC communities is a prevalent theme in the second movie as it is in the first. In this new Black Panther movie they expand that representation we had in the first film to the Indigenous/Latino community as the main villain/anti-hero (Namor) is highly inspired by Meso-American culture and the actor himself Tenoch Huerta is Mexican.

“Coogler wanted his film to expand new horizons and he did just that as Coogler once again gave an underrepresented community a new hero to look up to. When asked about indigenous representation in film and in Latin culture Tenoch Huerta said “it’s time to change… and now reconcile who we are and reconcile with our ancestors, with our grandparents, and embrace them.” He does just that as Namor.

Raisa Yousuf, a junior at McMahon who went to see Wakanda Forever on the day of release described the experience. “Going into the movie, me and my friends were super excited and we left the theater speechless and in tears.” The film itself is an emotional rollercoaster as it captures a once strong and powerful nation that’s weak as it loses its king and rises up again with a new leader. It’s action-packed as the Wakandans face their biggest threat yet, a civilization just like theirs with a king willing to take down any threat to his people in order to protect them.

As of today February 21st, 2022 it has been a little over three months since the movie’s release and it’s still just as influential as the day it came out. The anticipation for the film may be over but the influence it continues to have on its viewers is unforgettable, and its lovable characters continue to reflect our diverse world on the big screen.