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Wakanda Forever's Amazing Talokan Reveal Is Tainted By A Morbid Costume Detail

Contains major spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" had insurmountable expectations to overcome. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the "Black Panther" sequel was rewritten following the death of lead star Chadwick Boseman. Repurposed to serve as a tribute to the late actor, "Wakanda Forever" also held the bold and mighty task of introducing Marvel fans to the rich underwater world of Talokan, which acts as a fitting counterpart to the technologically prosperous Wakanda. Beyond that, "Wakanda Forever" was destined to be compared to the cultural expectations set by the first film, way before cameras began to roll. The 2018 film went on to gross over $1.3 billion at the box office (via The Numbers), nabbing seven Oscar nominations, making it a true superhero phenomenon.

While the jury is out on how much "Wakanda Forever" will gross, the sequel has succeeded by all accounts, becoming the first (and only) Marvel film of 2022 to walk away with a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics have praised the film for acting as a fitting tribute to Boseman, its stellar visuals, world building, and villain. At the heart of the conversation is the jaw-dropping empire of Talokan, brimming with life thanks to its colonization-influenced backstory. It remains to be seen how much of the underwater kingdom has a place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward but it's safe to assume that "Wakanda Forever" won't be the last time we see Talokan in all its glory.

"Black Panther" fans will likely go on to rank the reveal of Talokan as one of the best scenes in the film. However, there's something sinister behind the triumphant scene where the mystical world is first introduced.

The CIA diving suits may have been repurposed

While "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is filled with pause-worthy moments, perhaps the most memorable is when Shuri (Letitia Wright) is introduced to the beautiful underwater kingdom of Talokan by Namor (Tenoch Huerta). The reveal of Namor's safe haven is no different than the goosebump-inducing debut of Wakanda in "Black Panther," yet Talokan's reveal is unfortunately tainted. Before audiences and Shuri see the aquatic empire for the first time, Namor reminds the princess of Wakanda that the pressure of the water and lack of oxygen will kill her. Huerta's character then offers Shuri an underwater diving suit, a moment that's played for laughs.

Consider where the suits came from and the reveal of Talokan can be spoiled due to its morbid nature. In the opening hour of the film, following T'Challa's in-universe funeral, the CIA is seen searching for mineral deposits filled with vibranium deep in the ocean. Spearheaded by Lake Bell's Dr. Graham, the CIA operation sees two divers finding the precious resource at the bed of the ocean. The two divers are later attacked by Namor and his army. The Talokans continue their assault, attacking the rest of the CIA rig, presumably killing Dr. Graham.

What audiences don't see is Namor and his army retrieving the suits used by the two divers. However, "Black Panther" fans think that the leader kept the suits in the hopes of showing the jaw-dropping Talokan to an outsider.

Fans can't look past how Namor got the diving suits

Taking to Reddit to discuss the Marvel Studios sequel, fans couldn't help but wonder if the suit Shuri uses to visit Talokan is stolen CIA property. "Did Namor send Shuri down wearing the suit that the researchers on the ship were killed in earlier?" asked u/IronMan_MarkLXXXV on the r/MarvelStudios subreddit. It's unlikely that Namor had such technologically advanced suits prior to his altercation with the CIA as the film makes it clear that the Talokan leader largely ignores the surface world. While the scene may have come across as a way for Namor to share his culture and city with Shuri, some couldn't help but feel as if this morbid detail undermined the scene. "Yeah absolutely a dark moment that undercuts the whole, 'gorgeous underwater world where Shuri learns that her people and the Talokan...ians.... aren't so different after all!' wrote u/GuiltyEidolon.

"Wakanda Forever" is largely interested in pointing out the similarities between Wakanda and Talokan, two kingdoms that prefer to be shielded away from the outside world. Shuri's ancestral land is an unprecedented position after T'Challa revealed the power Wakanda holds at the end of "Black Panther." u/Liammellor suggests that Wakanda would have done the same thing Namor did in a pre-"Black Panther" world, saying, "in all fairness, I think the Wakandans probably would have killed anyone that accidentally discovered them too before T'challa revealed everything to the world." From what we've seen so far in the MCU, Andy Serkis' Ulysses Klaw is the only nefarious individual to see Wakanda before escaping.

While Talokan's reveal is definitely undermined because of the fact that Namor killed the two CIA divers (and countless other personnel), it certainly adds weight to the importance he places on Shuri seeing his homeland.