Earlier this week, Marvel released an exciting video teasing its upcoming theatrical releases. Among its reveals were a few seconds of Eternals footage, some big release date announcements, and, most excitingly, the title for Black Panther 2. Director Ryan Coogler’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2018’s astounding Black Panther is officially titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Now, just a few days after that reveal, we have an official synopsis for the film. It does not tell us much at all, but it does reveal that the focus will be on Wakanda as a united people rather than on the Black Panther alone.
“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda, and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film. Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, who was behind Black Panther, the film will be released on July 8, 2022.”
Again, this Black Panther 2 synopsis does not give us much in the way of specific plot details, but a synopsis is not built for that. At best, a good synopsis is meant to give prospective audiences a broad idea of a story’s focus without getting into the nitty-gritty of how it will tackle that focus. This little tidbit does exactly that, thus serving its purpose.
Following Chadwick Boseman’s death last August, Marvel was faced with a difficult reality: one of its biggest stars and most beloved additions to the franchise was gone. Boseman’s death sent his fans and co-stars reeling. When the initial shock had mostly passed, a sobering new question needed answering: How was Marvel going to handle Boseman’s passing both narratively and emotionally in Black Panther 2? It was a big problem, one that no one really seemed to know how to solve at the time.
Thankfully, it seems that Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, and the Marvel Studios creative team have arrived at an answer for Black Panther 2: don’t focus on T’Challa, or even the Black Panther mantle, extensively. Instead, put an emphasis on togetherness, on being one in a horribly divided world. That may seem corny and cliche, but given everything that has happened over the last year, we could all absolutely use a reminder to support each other.
It is not clear how this will be done, or if the Marvel Cinematic Universe will explicitly address Boseman’s absence at all. Chances are good that Ryan Coogler and Kevin Feige have come up with a narrative explanation, but heck, maybe they won’t even need it for this new film. I think they will address his absence by celebrating him extra hard and honoring all of the good for which he stood. One thing is clear, though: Black Panther 2 is going to be a tough watch. An incredibly tough one, honestly. Not because of anything negative or poor quality-wise, but because the circumstances surrounding it are absolutely devastating. People probably won’t realize the scope of their grief until the movie comes out.
Regardless of where Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige, and the other creative folks at Marvel Studios are taking Black Panther 2, you can bet that it will be an emotional experience for just about everyone.
Black Panther 2 a.k.a. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled to hit theaters on July 8, 2022.