The love and thunder might have turned into heartbreak and blunders for Malaysian Marvel fans as it was announced that the summer flick had been cancelled in the region. Currently, there is no explanation from the distributor or the relevant authorities as to why “Thor 4” was shelved. Nevertheless, we might have to start worrying about the fate of some upcoming Marvel features sooner rather than later.
Here’s what we know. Exactly one year back, it was reported that British actress Michaela Coel, best known for her starring role on the BBC series “I May Destroy You” had joined the cast of “Wakanda Forever”. The details of her involvement had been kept under wraps until recently. Indeed, subsequent to the Marvel Panel at San Diego Comic-Con, The Vulture reported that Coel will be playing a character known as Aneka in the film.
So, who is this Aneka in the comics? Aneka is actually a respected captain for the Dora Milaje, the fierce female warriors of Wakanda. As a skilled combat instructor among the forces, she is tasked with ensuring that new recruits are up to par when it comes to defending the nation from threats. Although she defected later on to form the vigilante subgroup known as the Midnight Angels, she remained loyal to her country.
What exactly is the big deal here? Here goes.
Aneka is in fact, romantically involved with another member of the Dora Milaje, Ayo. Although it is forbidden for the Dora to have romantic affiliations, the two remain in love with each other and are even tasked with protecting the royal family prior to their defection.
There is no doubt that Aneka’s inclusion in “Wakanda Forever” is intentional. Ayo, played by Florence Kasumba, has existed in the MCU since “Captain America: Civil War”. It was only a matter of time before they brought her other half in. As such, we can fully expect to see their romantic arc from the comics to be adapted into this film as well.
As of now, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has a November slate. Nonetheless, that could all change as we get closer to its release. As mentioned earlier, it is still difficult to ascertain why “Thor: Love and Thunder” is off the table. However, if we were to look back at “Lightyear”, it was clear that LGBTQ themes played a major part in that movie getting the boot from the Malaysian slate. As such, the inclusion of the queer Dora Milaje begs the question as to whether the MCU sequel will suffer the same fate.
If this becomes a trend for Disney features, we might have to start getting used to swimming across the Tebrau Strait/moving way past Perlis just to experience our favourite MCU films on the big screen. Of course, we don’t actually wish for this to happen. We really relish the communal experience and the idea of chanting “Yibambe!” together in the cineplex.
Regardless, to quote by MJ from “No Way Home”, “if you expect disappointment, you can never truly be disappointed.” Oh, well…