Masculinity Discussed As ‘Wakanda Forever’ Trailer Is Released.



( Marvel Studios unveiled the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer at Comic-Con International in San Diego last week amid much anticipation. The inaugural movie entitled Black Panther was a blockbuster hit raking in more than a billion dollars at the box office after its 2018 release.

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the expectations of the trailer, some were left wanting more, especially Black Panther fan aficionados who developed a closeness to the story narrative and leading character, T’Challa, who was played by the late Chadwick Boseman. Soon after the trailer was released, a phalanx of fans responded online while rage tweeting to call for a boycott of the upcoming Black Panther movie demanding that T’Challa be recast as a way to continue his legacy.

“No matter what Chadwick will always have a place in our heart,” one fan tweeted. “He’s our Black Panther, but the show must go on.”

Robert Patterson wrote in “Any real fan would settle for nothing less than recasting T’Challa! Kill off the only prominent black male hero…??? No! Anyone black knows full well the black trauma games played by Hollywood and playing black women against black men.”

Dr. T. Hasan Johnson, an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, described the lack of representation of a leading Black male character in the preview trailer as a strategic move to diminish the role of a Black male hero.

“We don’t get to see the kind of characters that I think demonstrate what young men need to see in media,” said Dr. Johnson. Johnson said that the de-emphasis of T’Challa’s presence in the upcoming film is a demonstration of disrespect. “It looked like on the outside that they took the first opportunity they could to eliminate a strong Black male intelligent leader.”

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The fate of Black Panther was considered to be in limbo after its leading star Chadwick Boseman died in 2020 after being diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige declared the following year that he would not recast T’Challa for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise—leading to disappointment for members of the movie’s devoted comic book fanbase. Many moviegoers have seen multiple versions of Superman. Fans have enjoyed different versions of Spiderman. Others have critiqued the different versions of Batman. So, why not a commitment to one of the greatest male heroes in the MCU such as Black Panther?

The film’s director, Ryan Coogler, stated that Boseman couldn’t be replaced, but that the world of T’Challa’s character would live on. In the preview trailer it seems that Marvel is holding true to its pledge. The only image of Boseman in the preview was seen as a mural atop of a building reminiscent of the George Floyd mural that became popular the same year he was murdered and that Boseman passed away.

The trailer left many wondering who would be next in succession to play the iconic role of Black Panther. There was an ostensible foreshadow of Shuri, T’Challa’s sister played by Letitia Wright, taking on the mantle. The MCU could also build another universe in which a new Black Panther paradigm exists outside of the world where Boseman’s character is essentially killed off. But MCU producers acting on these possibilities is only conjecture for now.

And while Boseman’s death was a major blow for many, fans are left wondering whether the often-downplayed characteristics of strong and intelligent Black male masculinity in a central role will be absent from future Black Panther entertainment.

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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is scheduled to hit theaters on Veteran’s Day, November 11th, this year.

Staff Writer; Dr. Blackademic

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