All roads lead to November 11th for fans of Marvel and the Black Panther franchise. Originally starring Chadwick Boseman, the series follows a secret African nation sitting on the most powerful metal in the world and ruled by a superhero based on the African Panther god Bas. Chadwick starred as Prince and then King T’Challa before his passing in 2020. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will see actresses Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Dania Guria, and Michaela Coel step into the forefront as Wakanda fights to find a new king amidst a growing war with another hidden kingdom.
The original Black Panther was groundbreaking for its portrayal of African culture and for casting so many black leads in a film. It went on to gross a massive amount at the box office and is ranked as one of the most successful movies of all time. This sequel aims to push diversity further as its casts Marvel’s first superhero based on Mexican heritage and history, rewriting the origin of underwater king Namor to be from the Central American region and casting Tenoch Huerta to play him. Negative feedback to him being cast as the historically pale Aquaman-like hero is similar to how people felt about Ariel being cast as a black actress for The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation.
Pushing the boundaries even further, “Chewing Gum” creator and star Michaela Coel also reveals that her character will be a win for diversity as well since she is playing Anneka, a queer woman of African descent. Michaela has been a fierce voice for representation and diversity since her breakthrough, and admits that finding out her character was queer is what truly sold her on the role. Coel is originally from Ghana and really felt like playing a queer character on screen would be really important for her country.
“That sold me on the role, the fact that my character’s queer. I thought, ‘I like that; I want to show that to Ghana.’ ” Coel told People Magazine. Coel is hoping her work in Black Panther can help further conversations against anti-gay policies in Ghana, where her parents were born.