Amid all the early reviews and critical reactions for Black Panther 2, one word continually resurfaces, again and again: cathartic. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “catharsis” has a two-part definition. Firstly, it refers to “a purification or purgation of emotions […] primarily through art,” while the second part adds that this “purification” tends to bring about a “spiritual renewal or release from tension.”
In this case, there’s no question as to what emotion we’re seeking to purge through watching Black Panther 2: it’s a movie with an air that’s thick with grief after Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular Black Panther in the previous film, unexpectedly died of colon cancer in August 2020.
After keeping his illness private and persevering with cancer treatment throughout his appearances in various Marvel movies, his death shocked the world. And Wakanda Forever, in many ways, tackles that aftershock as it tries to guide the Black Panther cast, Black Panther characters, and us, the fans, through grief. And so it was no surprise that when we sat down with Nate Moore, a producer from Wakanda Forever, he mentioned catharsis too.
“I would like [audiences] to take away [from this movie] that even though we all experienced this incredible loss, there is a path forward: there’s always a path forward through grief,” he said. “And that [grief] doesn’t have to define anyone. Hopefully, there is a catharsis to this film that when people watch it, they feel like if they didn’t have a path forward before they do now.”
Cultural accuracy, Moore added, was integral in bringing Wakanda to life. He explained how the funeral procession shown in the film, which involved people dressing in white, wearing tribal make-up, and performing specific dances, was influenced by real-life traditions.
“We had a couple of cultural consultants from the continent [Africa] because we did want to anchor in true traditions, you know, and to not have them be completely fabricated,” he explained.
“The burning of the funeral garments and all that stuff is based on African culture,” he added. “And I think it helped the movie to feel real and helped us even narratively, to understand some of the processes by which people from this continent and these tribes would be processing grief. So we were excited to show that to audiences and hopefully get people curious about other great rituals from Africa.”
Alongside the rich worlds of Wakanda and Talocan, a portion of the movie also takes place on the MIT campus, as audiences are introduced to Riri Williams: a genius inventor who makes her own Tony Stark-like Iron Man suit and adopts the moniker Ironheart.
“It’s a character Ryan [Coogler, director] actually pitched to put in the movie,” Moore revealed. “And we thought it was a fantastic idea. She’s such a fun character and has such youthful energy. And we really liked the idea of meeting Riri Williams and having her in scenes with Shuri, because here are two incredibly smart, young women who forged this bond in ways maybe you don’t get to see too often in cinema and to see her point of view on Wakanda.”
Another thing Moore noted was “interesting” about Ironheart in Black Panther 2 is how Williams’ “actions” have “repercussions globally.” In Black Panther 2, Ironheart finds herself in conflict with Namor the Sub-Mariner, after her Vibranium-detector machine inadvertently puts the underwater kingdom, Talocan, on the US Government’s radar.
Wanting to protect his kingdom and their Vibranium, Namor and Talocan end up in a conflict with Wakanda, as they decide to protect Williams from Namor and his army’s wrath. This sets the scene for a dramatic fight sequence in the ocean later on in the film, and Moore opened up about what it was like to film the epic stunts.
“It was a challenge,” he said. I mean, we had giant ships on gimbals, we had water tanks, flying rigs… I mean, it really was a kitchen-sink approach. It was sort of everything we learned and doing these films and the new element of the water.”
He added, “Shooting in Atlanta in the midst of summer and then sometimes in the fall, you’re really dealing with elements as well as the element you’re trying to capture, but I think the cast and crew rallied around the idea of it because they believed so much in the movie, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”
With the stakes raised higher than ever in Wakanda Forever, what about a Black Panther 3? Where would we see the new Black Panther go next? Well, according to Moore, this sequel “set up some big ideas for how Wakanda sits within the world stage,” so when it comes to a potential Black Panther 3, he thinks “we’d have to pay off what that means.”
@thedigitalfix1 #wakandaforever producer Nate Moore reflects on the ‘cathartic’ #blackpanther sequel after the loss of #chadwickboseman #marvel #marvelstudios #marveltok #ripchadwickbosman #wakanda #blackpanther2 #blackpantherforever #tchalla #shuri #queenramonda #okoye #lupitanyongo #letitiawright #namor ♬ original sound – TheDigitalFix
“There are some actions that our heroes taking this film that may put them in a little bit of a precarious situation going forward,” he teased. “And it’d be interesting to see how that all plays out.” Black Panther 2 is available to watch in theatres now.