Mexican-born Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o loved getting to incorporate Mesoamerican culture and deliver lines in Spanish for Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever surprisingly incorporated elements of Mesoamerican culture and Spanish dialogue, which, for co-star Lupita Nyong'o, was more than welcome.
Sitting down with THR, Nyong'o, who reprised her role as Nakia in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel, expressed her joy in seeing aspects of Indigenous American and Mesoamerican culture join the world of Black Panther. For the Academy Award-winning actor, born in Mexico City to Kenyan parents, the film, centered on the fictional African nation of Wakanda, was fortuitous on a personal level. "I love to speak in Spanish," she said. "I don't get enough opportunities to speak in Spanish and it was such a great thing to do, for me."
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Nyong'o also sat down for Entertainment Weekly's Around the Table series, where she similarly discussed how special it was for her to see this part of her upbringing represented in the MCU. Calling the opportunity "a straight gift," Nyong'o told EW: "I've always wanted to work in Spanish and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that opportunity would come in Black Panther." Her character Nakia, a Wakandan spy, is no stranger to speaking foreign languages but the lines she got to speak in Spanish for the Marvel epic were very special to her.
2018's Black Panther was critically acclaimed for its social and cultural commentary as well as its stunning celebration of African and African-American culture. Unsurprisingly, co-writers Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole have carried that intention through into the superhero sequel. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, introduces audiences to the MCU's Namor the Sub-Mariner, leader of the Atlantis-esque Talokan kingdom, who wages war against Wakanda. Played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, Namor functions as the primary antagonist of the movie but differs from his comic book character and culture (which is Atlantean), giving Coogler and Cole an opportunity to showcase Indigenous American representation in the MCU and Hollywood with an exclusively Latinx cast for the Talokans.
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At the EW Around the Table, Coogler confirmed that Namor and the Talokans were a part of the script early and that there was a lot of excitement from the cast to expand and include even more diversity in the second film. Reflecting on a conversation he had with the late Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther director said: "That was something he was fired up about. I remember we were at a restaurant in Los Feliz the first time we talked about possibly having indigenous American representation in the film. He got the biggest smile, like, 'They're never going to see this coming. It's awesome.'"
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is playing in theaters now.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly

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