The phrase “Wakanda Forever” made a major splash in 2018 and the popular salute is now the title of Black Panther 2. Here’s why it’s a perfect choice.
Black Panther 2 has been in the works for some time now, with Ryan Coogler back as writer-director. There aren’t many details about what the film will be about and the sequel had to be reworked following Chadwick Boseman’s untimely and tragic death last year. However, Marvel Studios confirmed the title of the film, officially called Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and it’s actually quite perfect for various reasons.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a nod to the salute used by citizens of the fictional African country. The Wakanda Forever salute became especially popular following the release of 2018’s Black Panther. With hands curled into fists and arms crossed over one’s chest, the gesture was used as a greeting by Wakandans and it was also a symbol of utmost respect. It was also a phrase and salute employed right before battle, as exemplified by T’Challa right before fighting Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Wakanda Forever signified longevity and meaning well beyond the framework of the first film, while also denoting Black excellence and pride.
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The phrase was all over social media when Black Panther first arrived in theaters and, years later, remains a central symbol of the film, one that has taken on even more meaning than ever before. While the title is a reference to the gesture itself, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also speaks to the lasting impact and power of the first film, which is now firmly embedded in pop culture. Most everyone knows what it means when someone does the Wakanda Forever salute, even when they might not say the words. Black Panther made history — as both a film and as an individual character and the effects of either cannot be overstated. In this vein, Wakanda’s influence lives on forever and the sequel’s title is very much a nod to this idea.
What’s more, Black Panther 2’s production had to move forward without Boseman, who passed away after battling colon cancer for four years. With the role of King T’Challa not being recast and the film having to shift its focus away from his character’s journey, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also touches upon Boseman’s lasting legacy and his time in the role. It’s unclear how Wakanda Forever will explain why T’Challa is no longer at the center of the film, but the title makes it clear that his memory lives on regardless.
All told, Wakanda Forever is a fitting title for the Black Panther sequel, encompassing the importance of the salute, the storied history of the country, and its multifaceted people. It’s possible the film will shift to center new characters from around Wakanda, in addition to Shuri, Nakia, Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje. Either way, Black Panther 2 is expected to further explore the world of Wakanda and the title suggests this as well. Considering how the first film set up the rich world in which T’Challa and his family reside, there are a multitude of stories to tell and characters, new and old, to be discovered. Wakanda will indeed live on.
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