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One of the most anticipated films of 2022- comic book movie or otherwise-was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In addition to being another blockbuster from the beloved MCU, and the sequel to a culturally important and popular film, Wakanda Forever is groundbreaking both within the Marvel storyline and in terms of creation. Not only did it make an impressive $330 Million on opening weekend (apparently the biggest November film debut in history), not only did it get great reviews from fans and critics, but it is being described in much more emotionally charged terms than most comic book movies, with viewers commenting about crying repeatedly, and critics using terms like “poignant.”
Any story involving explosions, massive battles, and arch-villains will lead to some characters dying, the Black Panther franchise is sadly unusual in that our main protagonist T’Challa died offscreen, and whatever in-story plot point led to his demise, the reason the character died was because the person who played him died. Actor-Director-Philanthropist Chadwick Boseman, who won numerous awards and an Oscar nomination, passed away in 2020 from Colon Cancer at the age of 43.
Marvel has many heroes, many, if not most, being funny in some ways. Ant-Man was played by a comedian. Steve Rogers made us laugh because of his fish-out-of-water situation. Tony Stark at times was more like “Tony Snark.” Thor and Star Lord are both lovable goofs. Even the Hulk gets some laughs. However, T’Challa as played by Bozeman presented a noble presence. As pop culture writer Kelli Weston said: “Boseman…carries the film with a quiet dignity one might rightfully expect of a man raised to be king.”
Despite the tragic news about both Bozeman and T’Challa, we do know that the role of Black Panther lives on, being played by another, much as the mantle of Black Panther was traditionally passed down over the ages There’s already precedent in the comics of other characters filling the role, including at least one character we already know in the MCU. (We’ll omit further details to avoid spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet.)
In addition to the uniquely African imagery of Wakanda and its people, we also see underwater warriors and Mayan-inspired imagery. The leader of this society is known as Namor. In the comics, Namor is also known as Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner, and…Namor McKenzie. In the comics Namor is the half-human, half-Atlantean superpowered prince of Atlantis…which may sound familiar. However, while contemporary filmgoers might assume that Namor is just Marvel’s version of Aquaman, it’s worth noting that Namor first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, with Aquaman first appearing in 1941. During the Golden Age of comics, the Sub-Mariner was considered one of the top 3 comic heroes, up there with Captain America and the original Human Torch (unrelated to Johnny Storm of the Fantastic 4.) He is considered to be the first anti-hero comic character, with motivations and agendas that could be seen as heroic or villainous depending on one’s viewpoint. In the comics, Namor means “Avenging Son” and we’ll surely learn if that carries over into this- and possibly future- films, but we do already know that the Spanish pronunciation suggests it means, “The boy without love.” What’s also exciting is that Namor is identified as a mutant in the film, which furthers a lot of speculation about the MCU embracing other mutants. Wakanda Forever changes Namor’s kingdom from the mythical Atlantis to Talokan, based on the paradise of ancient Aztec myths. Namor is joined by his full-blood Talokanil counterparts Namora and Attuma in the film.
Riri Willaims was a child prodigy and is a super-genius. She attended MIT on scholarship in her early teens, and- like many young heroes- had family tragedy at an early age. Unlike many young heroes, she built her own suit based on Iron Man’s schematics, thus becoming the teen hero Ironheart. She is played in the film by Dominique Thorne, who is in her mid-20’s but looks young enough to pass for a teen. We’re honoring Riri with her own Ironheart Lapel Pin and necklace set!
To celebrate this epic adventure, we present to you the following exclusive items:
Of course, we also have a selection of Black Panther items from the first film which all still work as tie-ins to the sequel, as well as a wide variety of Marvel/MCU superhero jewelry and other accessories.