Marvel Studios has unveiled the official teaser of its much anticipated superhero film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is a heartfelt homage to the late franchise lead Chadwick Boseman.
The makers released the footage on Saturday evening at the San Diego Comic-Con, where the team was led by writer-director Ryan Coogler, who helmed the first Black Panther.
Set to a spiritualistic cover version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" and "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar, the video depicts the fictitious African nation of Wakanda in mourning, an apparent reference to the death of King T'Challa/ Black Panther, originally played by Boseman. The actor died in August 2020 after a private, four-year battle with colon cancer.
According to Variety, Coogler addressed Boseman's demise and said "it's going to be hard to follow that up, but we'll try".
"It's been five years since I was here. I sat there and we premiered the first footage from 'Black Panther 1,' and sitting next to me was our T'Challa, the late great Chadwick Boseman."
The filmmaker said he could feel the late star's presence in the room.
"I promise you, I can feel his hand on me right now," he added.
Letitia Wright, who is said to be taking on the mantle of the Black Panther as Shuri, said she is looking forward to the film.
"It's a blessing. We've all grown so much as a family, and it feels great to see you guys and honour big bro at the same time," she added.
The lines "Good friends we have and good friends we've lost" by Marley is a reiteration that Boseman will not appear on the screen as the superhero after the studio confirmed in 2021 that they will not use computer-generated imagery to include him in the new film.
"I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone," cries Angela Bassett's Ramonda, who is seen sitting on the throne earlier in the teaser.
There is also a sequence of an underwater birth with actors Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba and Winston Duke reprising their roles.
The clip also takes the audience to some never-before-seen places in Wakanda, introduces them to new characters Riri Williams aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) and Namor, the Submariner (Tenoch Huerta), shares a glimpse into an imminent battle, and teases the new Black Panther who has their claws out.
"It's a labour of love, and I have so much gratitude to be a part of it and be able to share it with you," Duke, who plays M'Baku, said of the sequel.
Series newcomers such as Michaela Coel, Thorne, Alex Nivilani, Mabel Cadena and Huerta were also part of the panel.
Huerta said he was excited to be part of the film's cast
"I want to say something really fast about inclusion. I come from the hood and, thanks to inclusion, I'm here. I wouldn't be here without inclusion. A lot of kids in the hood are here looking at us dreaming to be here. And they're going to make it! They're going to make it!" he added.
Coel lauded the musical performance that opened the panel.
"It feels really special seeing the drummers and dancers. It reminded me what an honour it was to support this cast," she said.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is slated to be released in the US on November 11. PTI