Last night in New York, the cast and crew celebrated at a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is more than just a sequel; It’s a 2 hour and 41 minute long Marvel film, the second longest film to date, a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. Last night, director Ryan Coogler and the cast honored their dear friend along with industry luminaries during the New York Screening hosted by The Cinema Society.

The evening began with a red carpet at an AMC theater that doubled as a makeshift catwalk. Danai Gurira’s dress sparkled in the twinkling lights, while Tenoch Huerta’s floral embroidered jacket drew everyone’s attention. Jon Batiste stunned in his striped suit by young designer Stepehen Mikhail, while playwright Jeremy O. Harris towered elegantly among the guests. But fashion certainly wasn’t just about beauty. It was also about culture; Traditional attire such as the Filipino Barong and Indian facial accessories were also spotted amongst the crowd. It was a visual feast, anticipating what audiences would soon experience in the actual film.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever begins on a heavy note by directly addressing Boseman’s death. Warning, spoilers: The opening scene shows the Black Panther’s funeral service in Wakanda. Princess Shuri finds it difficult to hold back her tears while Queen Ramonda does her best to stay strong not only for her and her daughter, but for the country she leads. The opening credits, which are usually filled with punchy, superhero-pounding music in Marvel films, follow. This time there was 30 seconds of complete silence.

The film finally answers: What does the next chapter of Wakanda look like without their Black Panther? There were laughter from the crowd at the wit of the script, jumps in chairs during the action-packed scenes, and additional tears in the moments of trials and triumphs. For those who want to watch, stay a little longer during the credits for a heartwarming cliffhanger.

To celebrate, people headed to the futuristic Hudson Yards, where they climbed 101 floors to the Peak Restaurant and Bar. There they were greeted with tunes that got the guests dancing, “Panther Potion” and “Wakanda Forever” cocktails and succulent hors d’oeuvres. The film’s cast mingled with others while celebrating the next chapter in the Black Panther series with a cut of honor cake. It was a marriage of an upbeat party in an intimate setting filled with those dear to the cast – perhaps the ideal setting to continue Boseman’s legacy as the first Black Panther.

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