'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever': What to know before you go see the Marvel sequel – USA TODAY

We journey back to Wakanda as Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies draws to a close. 
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” directed by Ryan Coogler and in theaters Friday, is the second film to focus on the fictional African nation (after 2018’s “Black Panther”) and follows 29 movies, eight TV series and a handful of specials in the MCU.
A lot has happened and you’re probably wondering: Who are the new characters? What are critics saying? Are there end-credit scenes? You have questions, and we have answers. Here’s what you need to know before you go see “Black Panther 2”:
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” begins with the news that King T’Challa/Black Panther has died (mirroring “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman’s death), which in the MCU timeline would be shortly after the final battle in 2019’s “Avengers Endgame.” The movie then picks up one year after T’Challa’s death, exploring how Wakanda is coping with the loss.
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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has received mostly positive reviews (86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). USA TODAY’s movie critic Brian Truitt calls the movie “a powerful follow-up … that’s funny, clever and heartbreaking, impressive in its world-building, honest in its view of world politics and naturally packed with huge action sequences.” 
‘Black Panther 2’ review: ‘Wakanda Forever’ is a profound, action-packed take on life and legacy
Namor, played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía, is the leader of the underwater kingdom Talokan, a fictional global superpower inspired by Mayan and Mesoamerican culture. Read our interview with Huerta about his role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
‘We are here now’: Namor’s Mayan-inspired kingdom is new foe in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Riri Williams, played by Dominique Thorne, is another new face for the MCU. Riri – also known as Ironheart in the comics – is a genius from Chicago who tinkers with machines and attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She’s a young teenager when she starts working with Tony Stark in the comics but appears to be an older student in “Wakanda Forever.” Riri will return in the upcoming Disney+ series “Ironheart,” expected in late 2023.
Whos the new Black Panther? Here’s what we know (so far) about Marvel’s ‘Wakanda Forever’
Yes! There is one midcredits scene, so don’t leave right away. No spoilers, but after Rihanna’s new song, “Lift Me Up,” there is a brief, emotional scene before the rest of the credits roll.
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In addition to “Lift Me Up,” the movie’s soundtrack includes music from Future, Burna Boy, Tems, Stormzy, Fireboy DML, PinkPantheress and Snow Tha Product among others. They’re not on the track list, but you can also hear a Red Hot Chili Peppers tune in the movie as well as a second Rihanna song, “Born Again,” which plays during the credits.
Rihanna is leading the Super Bowl LVII halftime show: Everything we know
We start Phase 5 of the MCU with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which hits theaters on Feb. 17. The second season of “Marvel’s What If …?” is also slated for release in early 2023 on Disney+.
Who’s playing Kang, Namor and more?Meet 5 new faces who loom large in Marvel’s future


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