in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Jewelry plays a crucial role, and it’s not just the powerful Kimoyo beads.
Jewels ties the sequel, which was released earlier this month, to the first Black Panther movie. Carter, the film’s costume and jewelry designer, said in a video interview, “We see King T’Challa’s ring that Shuri is wearing around her neck,” referring to T’Challa’s sister, Played by Letitia Wright. She wears it during the funeral procession. It is a symbolic passing of the torch.”
(Marvel decided not to recast T’Challa after Chadwick Boseman, who played him in the first movie, He died of colon cancer in 2020.)
Decorating the sequel also gave Ms. Carter and her team the opportunity to expand on the African motifs they excavated in Wakanda, the fictional country cinematically depicted in 2018’s “Black Panther” — and draw inspiration from Mayan culture in the design of the Talocan tribe. It is an underwater civilization attacking Wakanda, the main story line of the second movie.
“The Wakandans are connected to traditional African tribes, and the Taloucans are connected to Mesoamerica and the ocean,” Ms. Carter said. “With the Maya influence, we connected the world above ground to what they would use from the ocean.” She said the Talocans’ designs include materials such as bone, jade, rope, and kelp.
Perhaps the most prominent jewelry-wearing character in the new “Black Panther” story is Namor, leader of the Talocans, played by Mexican actor Tinoc Huerta Mejia.
“Namur was adorned with a large necklace with a two-headed serpent, a large pearl in the mouth and a double string of pearls,” said Mrs. Carter. “This makes a lot of sense. The serpent was often used in stone work and pottery in Mesoamerica.”
Other abundantly decorated new characters include the Talocan warrior Attuma, who wears a helmet depicting a hammerhead shark, while Namor’s cousin Namora has a neck made in the shape of a lionfish’s fins.
Mrs. Carter, The first black designer to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design For her work on Black Panther, she also focused on diversifying the jewelry among the recurring characters.
Mrs. Carter said, referring to the character Angela Bassett, who leads Wakanda after the death of her son, T’Challa.
“The second one is made to look like her armor,” she said. “They are very powerful and heavy visuals, but fitting for the Queen and her rule in Wakanda.”
M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe in Wakanda, played by Winston Duke, has a necklace made of small spears. And a River Tribe senior brings back the turquoise lip palette he wore in the first movie.
Two of the artists who did much of the handcrafting helped Ms. Carter with her “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” jewelry: Dorian Fletcher, a Los Angeles-based jewelry designer who also worked on the first “Black Panther” movie, and Papa G, an Atlanta-based jewelry maker.
Starting with initial preparations for the first movie, the designers built the fictional world that comic book creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced in 1966.
“What Wakanda represents is a reimagined fantasy place where there was no colonization, and we imagine how they could have advanced with technology and vibranium using their advancement in technology,” said Ms. Carter, referring to the fantasy ore that gives power and enriches Wakandans, especially through Kimoyo beads. which is given to each Wakandan at birth. “And I would like to think that we highlight our costumes with embellishments that connect us with history.”
Marion Fasel, Founder and Managing Editor Adventurean online jewelry magazine, said over the phone, “There are certain cultures in the world where jewelry is not an accessory but an integral part of culture and life, and that’s what ‘Black Panther’ is doing with Wakanda.”
“It establishes the jewelry culture,” she added. “Every character in the movie wears something symbolic, and that’s what jewelry has been for historically. In Africa, India, and many cultures even today, jewelry means something.”
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