Marvel has finally dropped the trailer for the highly anticipated “Black Panther” sequel “Wakanda Forever” and it debuted to mixed reviews.
For some, it validated their earnest support for the “Recast T’Challa” movement. For others, it made them anticipate the film’s release even more. Then there is the group that feels leery about whether the franchise can thrive after losing its titular character due to Disney’s decision not to recast Wakanda’s king and protector after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death.
One writer, however, says the new trailer reveals a problem that delves beyond debating whether Disney has robbed an entire generation of Black kids of Marvel’s most iconic Black superhero.
In an article on Medium, Jaron Mays said the “Wakanda Forever” trailer has a glaring omission that is harmful to the Black community because it erases Black men.
Here are 7 things to know that give credence to Mays’ argument that Wakanda Forever is erasing Black men.
1. The trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever showcases mostly Black women.
In the 2 min. trailer for the Black Panther sequel, most of the scenes focus on the Black women in the movie.
The scenes from the trailer primarily show T’Challa’s mother Queen Ramonda (played by Angela Bassett); his sister Shuri (played by Letitia Wright); his lover Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o); Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje; Riri Williams aka Ironheart (played by Dominique Thorne) and more.
The theme of the trailer is also underscored by Bob Marley and the Wailers’ iconic “No Woman, No Cry” song.
2. The trailer also focuses on the new villain, which is portrayed by a Latino actor.
MCU introduced the onscreen debut of villain Namor, who is portrayed by Latino actor Tenoch Huerta. While many are celebrating the ascension of a brown man to the main MCU stage, others have called out the diminished number of Black men in the Black Panther franchise.
“The Black Panther Disney-MCU Franchise perfectly sums up Black Maleness in ADOS culture. They erased the Black Man out of his own superhero franchise. Lol,” Twitter user @chrisharlan26 wrote. “This is how BLM activists erased George Floyd & Black Men from any institutional, civil and systemic demands.”
3. Aside from M’Baku, none of the Black men in the original cast appear in the Wakanda Forever trailer.
None of the Black men from the original cast appear in the trailer for Wakanda Forever except M’Baku. He is also the only Black man mentioned in the movie’s official synopsis on Marvel’s website.
“In Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” 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,” the synopsis states.
“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 summary continues.
4. Mays posits the erasure of Black men in Wakanda Forever is ‘dangerous’ and intentional.
In his article, Mays called out Black men’s noticeable absence from Wakanda Forever as strategic.
“Like everybody else, I was pretty excited to see the trailer for the new film, but I can tell, one thing that was really missing from this trailer, and that was Black men,” Mays wrote. “I didn’t even see the character, Killmonger. I saw him in one of the promotional ads, but I didn’t actually see him in the trailer, and I saw the other dude, M’Baku for a quick second.”
Mays’ last sentence is likely referencing an alleged leak of the film’s plot that says Michael B. Jordan will reprise his role as Killmonger in the ancestral realm, but he was not in the trailer.
He was careful to note his comments were not a slight to Black women nor meant as “disrespect” to Ryan Coogler.
“Now, this is nothing against the strength of Black women, we know that our women are extraordinary, but I can’t help to feel a little bit uncomfortable with the white Hollywood narrative that the Black community is a fatherless and man-less community,” Mays continued.
5. Some still say the decision to not recast T’Challa was a huge mistake.
“I’m excited to see Black Panther 2 but I’m a tad disappointed that they didn’t recast T’Challa. That character and image is so important for young black men,” @PAstorYPJ wrote. “Chadwick is a hard act to follow! He was phenomenal! I wish T’challa’s story would’ve continued. #PositiveBlackMaleImagery”
6. Twitter users also decried the absence of Black men overall from the film.
Many weighed in with their reactions to the upcoming Wakanda Forever film on social media.
“WAKANDA without black men. This movie was created to promote MCU character Namor,” @UrbanTake_001 tweeted. “Recasting black panther was never on the table. Having a black male hero was too much for some on the first go around. BP2 will be on Disney + after the first 3 mouths.”
“Black Panther went from a celebration of Black men and Black women to a celebration of Black women and ‘men of color,’” @DoshQuincy tweeted along with a photo of the cast from 2017 and one of the sequel’s cast from 2022. “Black men have been removed from something we’ve primarily supported for half a century They turned it into a Black (woman) and brown celebration #RecastTchalla.”
“Over the next 3 months, there will be two movies (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Woman King) which portray Black woman as dominant borderline masculine figures who seem to run their societies without men,” @RyanJAcksonLLC wrote. “Pay attention y’all, these diabolical devils who control Hollyweird.”
A user with the handle @MrElegance_ chimed in tweeting, “damn, in my america there were MEN in my black panther movies.”
Another user was less PC. “Black panther 2 is about feminism, f**k that sh*t,” @l_lhoo tweeted.
A Twitter user identified as Abigail attributed what she deemed Ryan Coogler’s complicity in erasing Black men from Wakanda to coming from a generation of men who were raised by single mothers.
“The saddest part about the new black panther movie is that a black man directed it,” @theelegantblkwm tweeted. “Black men have to stop being accomplices for feminist ideology which has and is continuing to tarnish the black community! A generation of single mother raised sons are helping to hurt us!
7. Not everyone thought Wakanda Forever’s trailer was an indictment against Black men.
“All these black men complaining about Black Panther because the trailer was black women centered is tiring. Y’all as bad as the fake racist MCU fans complaining about Sam being Captain America,” @InflewenceofINF tweeted.
PHOTO: Angela Bassett, from left, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira winners of the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture for “Black Panther,” do the ‘Wakanda Forever Salute’ in the press room at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)