The long awaited Black Panther sequel arrived in theaters on Friday, and it was worth the wait. 

It’s been four years since the first Black Panther movie was released. The superhero quickly became a fan favorite, featured in several movies in Marvel’s third phase. Following the death of lead actor Chadwick Boseman, many have anticipated the release of Wakanda Forever. 

Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther, passed away at 43 years old due to colon cancer in the fall of 2020. The actor kept his illness a secret, which made his death surprising to the public. It also brought up questions on how Marvel would move forward with the Black Panther series. Would they use CGI to keep his character alive or would they find a way to explain his absence? 

If you haven’t already watched the official trailer for Wakanda forever, I suggest you watch it before going to see the movie. From the beginning, it’s clear that the Black Panther has died. There is also an introduction of a new character who seems to have superhuman powers — whether they are a hero or villain, however, is unclear. Through a few of the small clips, we get a glimpse of a new Black Panther, and the trailer ultimately prepares you for an emotional and action-packed movie. 

While I don’t want to spoil too much from the film, I will say that it wrecked me. I knew that Boseman wouldn’t be in it, but I found myself crying 10 minutes into the movie. From that point on, I cried three more times. I wasn’t alone either — you could hear the sniffs and tears from others in the theater. Marvel really played on their fans’ emotions and made sure that the Black Panther legacy would not be forgotten. 

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not looking for a tear-jerking movie, there’s plenty of action throughout the rest of the film — after all, it’s a Marvel movie. Like most storylines from the franchise, there is conflict with an outside force. The people of Wakanda must find a way to defend themselves without their protector. I won’t say who, but I was thrilled to see them rise to the challenge. 

There are several twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. In the end, there are lessons learned from all sides of the story. The ending also leaves the plot open for more opportunities for the next movie. 

With the new superhuman, we are also introduced to Mesoamerican legends. I wasn’t expecting Marvel to go down this alley, but I wasn’t upset about it either. It brought in more diversity and possibly opened doors for more legends to be included. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from start to finish. Although I was sad to see that Boseman would never be the Black Panther again, the new developments have me just as excited. I wouldn’t suggest watching Wakanda Forever if you haven’t seen the first Black Panther. There is a lot of information that is thrown at you, and if you’re new to Marvel, you simply won’t understand. 

If you aren’t familiar with Marvel movies, it is crucial that you stay for the end-credit scene. I don’t think I’ve cried more watching a Marvel movie, and I’ve seen every single one. The scene reveals a huge aspect of the Black Panther legacy and sets up plots even further in the future. 

Marvel has experimented a lot with their fourth phase. They expanded their platform to include multiple series rather than strictly movies. You can find most of them on Disney+. Wakanda Forever is the final movie of the fourth phase, setting the stage for the future.

So, what can we expect from Marvel in the future? At the Disney D23 Expo in September, the Marvel panel released a full timeline of the phases and movies for the future. The franchise will continue to utilize Disney+ series for phase five. There will be a total of 12 new series and movies to be released through 2023 and 2024. The next movie, “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumnia,” is scheduled to be released Feb. 17, 2023.