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The Real Reason Michaela Coel Joined Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Since the teaser trailer for the upcoming "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" dropped in July, fans' excitement has been at a consistent high. However, it feels like everything boiled over to an even more intense state after the official trailer finally arrived earlier this week. With so much breathtaking action, clues of what's been happening in Wakanda since the first film, and a good look at Namor (Tenoch Huerta), it's possible there are plenty of small details you might have missed. The trailer, of course, shows off many returning characters, some of whom are mourning the loss of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa.

Yet "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is also filled with many noteworthy additions to the cast, including Britain-born Ghanaian actor Michaela Coel, best known for "Chewing Gum" and "I May Destroy You." Coel will play a character named Aneka, and although it's her first time in the MCU, it's not for lack of trying. In a feature story for Vogue, Coel noted that she actually auditioned to be in the first "Black Panther" movie. Fortunately, director Ryan Coogler may have cast her in the perfect role for the sequel.

Aneka's background in the comics sold Coel on the character

Aneka has a captivating story in the comics. She is a captain of the Dora Milaje who masterfully trains recruits (via Marvel). However, things change when she falls in love with Ayo (Florence Kasumba), another member of the Dora Milaje. Their forbidden affair forces them to splinter off and ultimately form their own Dora Milaje known as the Midnight Angels. Michaela Coel told Vogue that Aneka's romance with Ayo made her want to portray the character in the film. "That sold me on the role, the fact that my character's queer," the actor said. "I thought: I like that, I want to show that to Ghana."

Coel further explained that taking on the role of Aneka is extremely important for her considering that Ghana is currently pursuing strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws. With that in mind, it makes sense why she would want to portray the fierce Dora Milaje warrior. The role itself could potentially serve as a positive and progressive moment for a country that is arguably struggling to move forward in this area.

Coel's statement about Aneka also reaffirms that "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is faithfully pulling a lot from the comics. Specifically, it looks like it's using parts from the "Black Panther: World of Wakanda" comic series, which focuses on Aneka and Ayo's relationship, but we'll ultimately have to wait to see on November 11, when the film premieres.