‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ And Adaptations As Second Chances

by Frank Martin

Fandom gets pretty crazy when it comes to adaptations of their favorite properties — especially comic books. To a lot of fans, comics are a special medium. They are an art and storytelling form that holds weight and meaning, a format with a lot of history for outsiders who couldn’t find acceptance in other circles. So when adaptations deviate from source material held in high regard, it is often met with criticism. However, a lot of adaptations should be looked at as a second chance for many characters to do something new. New can be scary, but for characters who didn’t connect immediately with readers, it can also be a new way to look at them and find resonance.

Speaking from personal experience, this is how I felt in regards to Riri Williams. In her first comic book appearance, Riri essentially took over the Invincible Iron Man book from Tony Stark. He was on his own interesting and engaging plot line. When Riri showed up, it wasn’t natural. It had nothing to do with the main plot and her inclusion felt forced; as if the entire point of the book was merely to introduce this side character that would slowly take over the Iron Man role. This turned me off from the character completely and my opinion of her never recovered.

So obviously, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically with her debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and her own Disney+ show (played in both by actor Dominique Thorne). Nevertheless, Wakanda Forever was an opportunity for the character to be introduced in a new way. She was not forced into the film. Instead, her inclusion was a natural fit for both the storyline and the characters. Also, the changes made in adapting her to the MCU were a second chance for me to connect with the character and form a new opinion of her. So fans should definitely meet adaptations with an open mind in order to not just experience something new but give a second chance to characters they might have been standoffish against.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters.

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