Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever‘s powerful first trailer gave MCU fans plenty to talk about, including that final tease of the new Black Panther, even though it contained only one line of dialogue.
That particular line is significant though, not just because it’s delivered by the brilliant Angela Bassett as Ramonda: “I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?”
If you were a bit confused, we wouldn’t blame you as we know that the sequel will take place after T’Challa’s death, but we know Shuri (Letitia Wright) is in the movie. Has Marvel just completely spoiled a major death in the sequel? Of course not.
What they might have done though is bring back a forgotten element of Phase 4 that could have been its most interesting.
The most likely explanation for this line of dialogue is that this scene is actually taking place in the five years after the Snap. Both T’Challa and Shuri were victims of the Snap, meaning Ramonda has likely taken charge of Wakanda.
Who she’s addressing is unclear at this stage and we don’t know how much of the sequel will take place during this period. However, it’s good to see that Wakanda Forever will explore – in some fashion – the effects of the Snap and its impact on the people that were left behind.
After the world-altering events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it felt like the MCU had a thematically rich topic to explore. Yes, people were brought back, but the survivors had five years to live with that before they did. How does that loss (and then reunion) impact a person and the entire world?
If you’re in the MCU, it seems that you just get back on with your life. While pretty much every Phase Four outing has had a reference to the Snap and the Blip, it’s been little more than an Easter egg and not an exploration in any sense.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness perhaps came closest with an early scene between Nicodemus West and Doctor Strange. West recounts all the losses in his life and challenges Strange on whether he made the right call on Titan.
This is about as far as it goes before Strange has to deal with all the multiversal madness going on. It’s an apt description for most of Phase Four as there always seems to be something else of more interest going on.
On the TV side, at least The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made the Blip part of its plot with the main threat, the Flag Smashers, believing that life was better during the five-year period.
Even there though, the main focus was on Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, both of whom were Snapped away. Not that they seem to be too fussed by that as Sam is more concerned about the legacy of the shield and Bucky with dealing with the red in his ledger.
Various Phase Four movies and TV shows have dealt with loss in some way, such as WandaVision and Hawkeye, but it’s generally of a personal nature. (WandaVision did at least have one scene set at the time of the Snap and the Blip.)
There’s been no exploration of how cataclysmic the Snap and the Blip were to whole populations. If anything, they’ve been relegated to a gag, such as in the conversation between Thor and Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder.
It’s possible that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s exploration of these world-altering events will just amount to the scene we’ve seen in the trailer.
And if that’s the case, it’ll be a missed opportunity as it’s probably the last MCU outing that could explore it before we get into Kang the Conqueror and the build-up to Phase Six’s epic Avengers double-bill finale.
The sequel would be ideally placed to delve into the weighty topic of how loss can change a world, given that we know it will already deal with the impact on Wakanda from T’Challa’s death, not to mention the loss of Chadwick Boseman to the entire MCU and its fanbase.
We’re not saying it would make Black Panther: Wakanda Forever an easy watch, but it would give it more depth than the empty spectacle of the majority of Phase Four to date.