Black Panther 2 star Lupita Nyong’o explains her personal connection to her Marvel Cinematic Universe character Nakia’s multilingualism.
Warning: This contains minor SPOILERS for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!Lupita Nyong’o opens up about having the opportunity to speak Spanish in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Nyong’o’s character Nakia was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018’s Black Panther as an undercover agent outside Wakanda and T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)’s former lover. Nakia served as a close ally to T’Challa, returning to Wakanda at his behest and helping often during his missions in Black Panther. Nyong’o previously teased that the Black Panther sequel would delve more deeply into her character’s relationships with the other members of the Wakandan royal family, T’Challa’s mother and sister.
The sequel, which debuted in theaters this week, also saw Nakia flex her multilingual skills once again after the former spy spoke Korean during a Black Panther sequence that took place in Busan, South Korea. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Nakia speaks Spanish, which the actor revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she was “very, very happy to do.” Nyong’o expressed her appreciation for the film allowing her to embrace every aspect of her culture as someone of Kenyan descent born in Mexico, adding to the praise that many have aimed at the film’s representation of indigenous communities. See what the actor had to say below:
“I was so excited about it. It was just a straight gift. And I was very, very happy to do it… 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… This film represents different sides of my heritage. Being born in Mexico and having that Mesoamerican culture represented, it’s something that’s very close to me… I always thought that was a very cool thing from the last movie that she spoke Korean, and I always thought that had never been seen before.”
How Black Panther 2 Expands MCU’s Mexican Representation
While the MCU has been making recent strides in terms of improving the franchise’s diversity and introducing more heroes of color, indigenous and Latino communities have remained one of the MCU’s most underrepresented groups. Indigenous communities in particular have a history of being underrepresented on the screen in general, especially in blockbuster franchises like the MCU, so the inclusion of Mexican culture into the kingdom of Talokan and Namor (Tenoch Huerta) was exciting for many. The introduction of multiple important characters played by indigenous Mexican actors is a promising step forward, opening the door for more Mexican representation within the MCU.
Black Panther broke barriers in 2018, allowing for the possibility of the MCU to experiment with more diverse stories. It’s only fitting that the sequel film continue that tradition of inclusion by introducing another vibrant and often underrepresented culture into the spotlight. In addition, the indigenous Mexican representation in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever carries the same nuance that existed when Wakanda was first introduced to audiences. Namor and the Talokanil people are allowed to be complex, three-dimensional, flawed individuals, and their presence in the MCU already sets up exciting possibilities for their futures in the franchise – perhaps the sequel film will do for Namor and Talokan what Black Panther did for Wakanda.
Nakia’s MCU Future Explained
In terms of Nakia’s future in the MCU, the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever post-credits scene revealed that Nakia had moved to Haiti from Wakanda to ensure that her son with T’Challa (also named T’Challa) would grow up away from the royal life. Despite moving away to care for her child, Nakia was a significant part of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with a powerful storyline that certainly left room for her character’s return. Nyong’o’s comments display her appreciation for her role as Nakia, which could mean that she would be game to portray Nakia again in a potential Black Panther 3 or another MCU project. Though Nakia’s next MCU appearance is currently unknown, the character’s royal son, heroic spirit, and important outreach work indicate that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is just another chapter in Nakia’s MCU story, not the final one.