Early in the latest trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which debuted on Monday, we receive a proper introduction to the upcoming film’s villain: Namor. The Sub-Mariner, whose comics history extends back to 1939 (before Timely Comics had even changed its name to Marvel), is much more than your average Big Bad. He is Marvel’s first mutant and first true antihero, a sea-dwelling Atlantean who has fought against humanity and its superheroes over the years despite also teaming up with groups including the Avengers, Invaders, Defenders, and X-Men. Most crucial for the purposes of Wakanda Forever, though, Namor is also a ruler. And he is ready to lead his underwater nation of Talocan to war against Wakanda.
“His people do not call him general or king,” M’Baku explains in the trailer. “They call him K’uk’ulkan, the Feather Serpent God. Killing him will risk eternal war.”
The first teaser for Wakanda Forever gave away little of its plot. Instead it serves as something of a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman by way of his iconic role as King T’Challa—though it also indicated how the film would reckon with the in-universe loss of Wakanda’s ruler. The new trailer more directly sets up the conflict to come, bringing Namor (played by Tenoch Huerta) and Talocan—a reimagined take on Atlantis that’s inspired, like Wakanda Forever’s Namor, by Aztec culture and mythology—to the forefront. With T’Challa gone, and his nation lacking a clear successor to lead and protect it, Namor is taking the opportunity to strike against the surface world.
As they did with Black Panther’s Killmonger, director Ryan Coogler and Co. have selected an antagonist with more nuances and dimensions than we typically see in MCU villains. Wakanda Forever provides the perfect opportunity to welcome a storied character to the big screen as it explores this transition period for Wakanda, which is mourning its king. “The contrast between T’Challa and Namor––their characters, and their nations—just leaps off the page,” Coogler recently told Empire. “He’s a dream antagonist.”
Born with wingtips on his ankles, Namor can not only swim at superhuman speeds, but also fly, which the new trailer gives a glimpse of as he bounds across the sky in battle:
Aside from introducing the movie’s antagonist, the new Wakanda Forever trailer also gives us a closer look at a pair of new heroes who’ll be fighting on behalf of Wakanda. The first one we see is Riri Williams (played by Dominique Thorne), who is set to become Iron Man’s spiritual successor as she transforms into Ironheart ahead of her solo Disney+ series. The previous teaser showed Riri’s work in what appears to be a Wakandan lab (including a moment where she literally hammers out a heart-shaped piece of iron), but here we get to see her wearing her suit for the first time. Along with her armor’s clear similarities to Tony Stark’s famous red-and-gold suit, there’s even a glimpse of her inside of it, reminiscent of the kind of perspective we saw of Iron Man in action over his many appearances throughout the Infinity Saga:
And we also get our first real look at the new Black Panther, who closed out the first teaser with their back turned to the camera. Although we don’t see her actually enter the suit that she likely designed herself, a shot focuses on Shuri in a room engulfed by flames before Wakanda’s new protector reveals herself at the trailer’s climax:
There’s still a chance that Nakia, who appears only briefly in both trailers, is the one behind the mask, but all signs are pointing to T’Challa’s younger sister taking on the mantle—and the preview stops just short of announcing as much. The final words spoken in the trailer are, fittingly, reminiscent of a line that Queen Ramonda says to T’Challa in Black Panther, as he’s on the verge of defeat during ritual combat against M’Baku—a reminder of the character’s roots, and how T’Challa’s story will live on. Just before the new Black Panther falls from a ship and strikes a classic superhero pose, Ramonda commands, “Show them who we are.”
It was always going to be a monumental challenge to try to follow the tremendous success of Black Panther, especially following the loss of Boseman. But Coogler and his team seem up to the task, as they’ve found a way to further explore Wakanda and introduce a number of characters who will likely have a significant impact on the MCU in the years to come, all while honoring T’Challa’s—and Boseman’s—legacy. The film is due in theaters on November 11 and will mark the end of a rocky Phase 4, which has inaugurated the Multiverse Saga. If the two Wakanda Forever trailers are any indication of the quality of the highly anticipated film, though, Marvel Studios has been saving its best for last.