Mabel Cadena Reflects On Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Warning: SPOILERS for Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverThe MCU’s Phase Four closed with a bang in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Director Ryan Coogler and everyone else involved in the film were faced with the Herculean task of honoring the late Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, finding a new way to continue the Black Panther franchise, and expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe all in one fell swoop. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeded on all fronts, and even managed to bring a new favorite faction into the MCU in the process.

A major highlight of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the introduction of Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta, the underwater city of Talokan, and the Talokanil people. In addition to further integrating mutants into the MCU, Namor and his people were presented as deeply sympathetic and rounded, with direct cultural ties to Mesoamerican culture. A standout member of Namor’s entourage in the film was his cousin Namora, who was quickly established to be a strong warrior and cunning opponent. Namora was played to perfection by Mexican actor Mabel Cadena, who took on her biggest project yet in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Mabel Cadena spoke with Screen Rant about the reception to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, her experience making the film, and more.

Mabel Cadena on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Screen Rant: Congratulations on the movie! Has your life gotten crazier since it came out?

Mabel Cadena: A little bit, yeah, but in the good way. It’s amazing [to see] all the fans around the movie, [and] their stories. It’s amazing.

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I saw in interviews that you were excited to have an opportunity to represent Mexican culture and Mesoamerican culture. Have you heard about how people have reacted to the movie?

Mabel Cadena: Yes. That’s the main challenge in the movie, and [a] main point [for] fans attracted to the movie. You find a lot of representation, [and] you can find for the first time the Mayan language in a movie like this. You can find diversity, and maybe it’s not your story, but you can find similarities [with] your own story in the movie.

I had the opportunity to talk with some fans, and it’s amazing when I can see [the appreciation] in their eyes and in their face. Black Panther changed my life, and Black Panther changed lives around the world for a lot of people.

You learned how to hold your breath for a very long time in preparing for this role. Do you remember the longest you had to be underwater for a scene? Did you ever have to go under for five minutes, or anything like that?

Mabel Cadena: No, no. My first immersion was around 30 seconds, and the same day I [was able to do] six minutes and thirty-five seconds. The training was amazing, because in the same day I can have a big difference [from] my first immersion to my second immersion. I’m very competitive, so Chris, my coach, told me, “Kate Winslet has the record, so if you want to be the winner, you need to learn a lot of things.” I really was over Kate Winslet [at one point], but now I don’t have time for a better record.

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Do you have a favorite experience from shooting, or a scene that was your favorite in the film?

Mabel Cadena: I have a lot of moments, but I think my first day underwater [stands out]. The whole day, I filmed a lot of scenes alone. I think it was the battle for the ship, when I broke a machine; I think that was my first scene. That day was amazing because Ryan told me, “Mabel, if you want, I can swim with you.” [I was like], “No, Ryan, I’m super cool here, so no worries.”

The [whole] day I was really excited, because I really feel comfortable underwater; I really feel happy working underwater. It was my element. I asked my assistant to record the screen [so I could] see my face, and my eyes, and my emotions, and work on very specific things underwater. I think that was my favorite part; the first day.

Finally, congratulations on Namora surviving the movie! Did you always know that your character was going to survive? And I know you can’t say anything specific, but have you maybe had any phone calls with anyone at Marvel recently?

Mabel Cadena: I promise you, I don’t know anything about the future. I promise you! I swear. My last call was with Victoria, and I was very nervous about what she would say. Victoria just said, “Hey, have fun, rest, vacation.” She didn’t say anything about the future, so I don’t know what’s happening. I hope [a lot of things] happen, because I really want to continue playing Namora in the future.

About Black Panther: Wakanda Forevertenoch huerta as namor in black panther wakanda forever-1

The legacy continues. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives on Digital February 1 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD February 7. Fans can add the film to their collection and access exclusive bonus content including deleted scenes, a gag reel and audio commentary by esteemed filmmakers Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole and Autumn Durald Arkapaw. Additionally, collectors can find two limited-edition SteelBook ® designs only at Best Buy. Artist Dorothea Taylor designed one SteelBook that highlights the Wakanda warriors and Orlando Arocena recreated the vibrant world of Talokan for the other. Walmart will also offer an exclusive 4K Ultra HD edition with custom artwork and a limited-edition Black Panther enamel pin.

Check out our other Black Panther: Wakanda Forever interviews here:

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is available now on digital platforms, and will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 7.

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