By Kevin Slane | Boston.com | July 25, 2022
The upcoming Marvel sequel filmed scenes near the MIT campus last summer.
In the teaser trailer for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the highly anticipated sequel to Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” much of the focus is on the fictional world of Wakanda being under attack.
In the second half of the trailer, however, Boston and Cambridge residents may spot some familiar landmarks.
The trailer, which debuted at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend, begins to tell the story of how Wakanda’s leadership is dealing with the loss of King T’Challa, who was portrayed by Chadwick Boseman until the actor’s death in 2020.
According to a plot synopsis released by Marvel, Wakandans including Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), and Okoye (Danai Gurira) must “fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.”
Around the 90-second mark of the trailer, the scene shifts from Wakanda to the Mass. Ave. bridge between Boston and Cambridge, where a fight appears imminent. Also seen in the trailer are daytime shots from the bridge, a chase scene moving from Albany Street to Mass. Ave., and a row of police cars exploding at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Mass. Ave.
Along with filming in Boston and Cambridge in August 2021, crews visited Worcester to film a chase scene during the same time period last summer.
Amidst all of that action, Wright suffered an injury while filming a stunt, revealed to be a “critical shoulder fracture, and a concussion with severe side effects,” according to a production email obtained by Deadline. Wright’s injury led to a halt in production from mid-November 2021 to January 2022 while she recuperated.
While it hasn’t been revealed why the plot of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” involves the Boston area, all signs point to new character Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) and her connection to MIT.
In the comics, Riri is known as Lady Ironheart, and is a de facto successor to Iron Man. Much like predecessor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Riri is a child genius who attends MIT at a young age. She builds a new Iron Man suit using scraps stolen from around campus, and eventually becomes a teenage superhero. (You can briefly see Thorne working on a metal suit at the 1:33 mark in the trailer.)
The MIT community has embraced its part in Marvel lore in recent years. In 2016, the MIT alumni publication Slice of MIT celebrated Williams’ MIT education, and called Stark the school’s “most famous alumnus, fictional or real-life.”
And in a 2021 email to the MIT community obtained by Boston.com, school officials said that there was “real value” to allowing filming of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (at the time known by its working title “Summer Break”) to take place around campus.
“Although we are not at liberty to share details of the plot at this stage, we believe there is real value in MIT being represented in the film,” the email read. “When the film becomes public, we hope you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourselves!”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hits theaters November 11.