The “Black Panther” franchise has revealed only one thing for sure about its new titular hero.
She’s a woman.
Dropping Monday to much fanfare, Shuri, T’Challa’s brilliant younger sister played by Letitia Wright in the 2018 film, is suspected of being the actor who carries the mantle in the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” trailer, aligning with years of reports and speculation about the actor’s new role. But the new Marvel hero also could very well be Lupita Nyong’o’s War Dog Nakia, Danai Gurira‘s General Okoye or someone else altogether, as the tease is intentionally vague.
“Show them who we are!” says Shuri and T’Challa’s mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) as the fictional African nation processes its grief while a ferocious war is waged on land and under the sea.
The film’s official movie poster features Shuri front and center with the suit behind her, seemingly confirming that she’s the new Black Panther. But if we’ve learned anything from Marvel movies over the last decade, it’s that the studio and its secret-keeping will go to great lengths — and straight-up lie — for the sake of preserving theatrical surprises. (Remember those misleading “Avengers: Endgame” trailers? And we haven’t yet forgotten those “Spider-Man: No Way Home” denials either.)
“I think this film has the fog of loss over it, and anamorphic lenses warp the image a little bit,” director Ryan Coogler told Entertainment Weekly. “Sometimes when you go through profound loss, it can warp how you look at the world.”
Serving as both a tease to the highly anticipated film and as a nod to star Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in August 2020, the trailer leans into the emotional turmoil that struck the blockbuster franchise when he died. The trailer also builds two worlds for the new heroes to save, showcasing the fantastical sets again conceived by Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler. (Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter also returns to the franchise.)
“Only the most broken people can be great leaders,” Namor says during the opening sequences, which introduce Tenoch Huerta as the film’s antihero. He’s a “feather serpent god” who lives in the advanced underwater kingdom of Talokan and whose threat looms large.
“In the film, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death,” reads the official synopsis. “As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.”
The trailer also highlights Dominique Thorne as American inventor Riri Williams, known as Ironheart in the comic books. (The teen hero is getting her own Disney+ series next year.) And it brings back fan favorites, including Okoye’s Dora Milaje warriors, Duke’s tribe leader M’Baku and Freeman as the Black Panther’s ally, Agent Everett K. Ross.
Actors Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli also star in the new film.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hits theaters Nov. 11 and tickets are already on sale. Fans, communities and organizations are already arranging group bookings and theater buyouts at WakandaForeverTickets.com.
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Nardine Saad covers breaking entertainment news, trending culture topics, celebrities and their kin for the Los Angeles Times. She joined The Times in 2010 as a MetPro trainee and has reported from homicide scenes, flooded canyons, red carpet premieres and award shows.
Subscribe for unlimited access