A Quick Thought on MCU at SDCC

By | Monday, July 25, 2022 Leave a Comment
This past weekend, as you most likely know, Comic Con International was held in San Diego. Like most of their shows over the past two decades or so, there was a lot of news about various Marvel-related movies and new trailers were shown for several of them. The one that (as far as I could tell) garnered the most attention was the trailer Wakanda Forever, the sequel to Black Panther. With the loss of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020, there has been a lot of speculation on what would happen with the franchise. Whether they might cast a new actor or write the character's death into the movie narrative or what. There were some early from executive producer Kevin Feige and director Ryan Coogler that there was no intention of replacing Boseman, and the question then focused more specifically on what kind of story can you make about Black Panther without featuring Black Panther.

The solution, as it appears from the trailer, is try to fully embrace the loss. If you haven't seen the trailer, several of the characters are clearly shown openly mourning and a mural tribute is plainly visible. Further, the plot -- from what little of it is suggested in this first trailer -- seems to revolve around trying to resolve some international conflicts in the wake of a prominent world leader passing away. The cast and crew almost seem to be using the movie to work through their grief of losing Boseman who was, by all accounts, absolutely instrumental in pushing the pro-African tenor of the character and the franchise.

Honestly, the Wakanda Forever trailer wasn't the most exciting one to drop this past weekend for me personally. But let me show you how/why my opinion on the matter is irrelevant. Check out this clip that Black Girl Nerds took in the convention hall immediately after the trailer screened...
If you don't know or can't tell, that's basically the entire primary cast plus Coogler all hugging each other. We saw a similar display after the trailer for the first movie trailer screened at Comic Con back in 2017. But look closely at the folks on stage. In particular, check out what's on the video screen in this shot...
On the far left is producer Kevin Feige. He's the only white person up there. And while he looks like he's celebrating with everyone else, watch he video again and look more closely. He's stepping up to the group who are already hugging each other. He's standing behind Danai Gurira and Coogler has his arm around her. Feige doesn't join the group hug, and only goes over to seemingly welcome Alex Livanalli and Tenoch Huerta individually.

Yes, Feige's the executive producer and without him, this movie wouldn't exist, but he's not a part of what this movie is. Everything that made the first movie what it was -- and what will likely make the second movie as compelling and successful -- comes down to it being a movie driven almost entirely by people of color. I said this many, many, many times about the first movie -- this is a celebration of the voices that are often overlooked or frankly excluded from even coming to the table. But with these Black Panther movies, they're very much flipping the script and the white guy on stage is now something of an outsider, unsure of how to act under a subtly different set of social mores.

That's why it doesn't matter whether I thought the Wakadna Forever trailer was the most exciting one that came out this weekend or not. I'm a white guy, just like Feige. (In fact, I only just now happened across his birthday -- we were born less than a year apart from one another.) I should be the awkward outsider in this scenario. I've got a half dozen other comic book shows and movies that were given special attention this weekend that are targeted specifically for people like me; Wakanda Forever isn't -- and shouldn't -- be one of them.

Some of an epilogue/aside... At the time, I talked about how and, more importantly, why the first movie did so much better at the box office than Disney's initial predictions and they absolutely did nothing to change their predictive modeling before Shang-Chi came out, I'm betting we'll see Wakanda Forever going into its opening with low expectations but blowing them out of the water several times over.
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