Tenoch Huerta, Namur in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: The Movie Was Right

Black Panther fans across the country will be hitting theaters this weekend to see the much-anticipated sequel and a tribute to the late African superhero played by Chadwick Boseman.

But for many Latinos who want to see their superhero epics on the big screen, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a landmark starring Mexican actor Tenoc Huerta, who is now poised to break into mainstream pop culture.

Huerta, of indigenous origin, plays the mutated leader of a kingdom based on Mayan and Aztec influences, which thrived under the ocean for centuries.

Huerta, who audiences may know from his roles in the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico” and the movie “The Forever Purge,” told NBC News that the new film represented a major step for diversity in Latin culture.

“In Latin America, especially in Mexico, we have underrepresentation,” he said. Television in Mexico is “like a Scandinavian country,” he said, adding that “everyone” is white on television or in the ads you see on the street.

When a company like Marvel Studios, and its parent company, Disney, tell a diverse story of superheroes focusing primarily on black characters and indigenous characters from East Africa and Central America, stretching from central Mexico to modern southern Mexico to Costa Rica, it shows that “the rest of the world that representation Important,” Huerta said.

On screen, Huerta plays Namor, One of the oldest Marvel charactersA mutant with pointy ears, winged ankles and superhuman strength can rival that of other larger-than-life Marvel characters such as Thor.

“When they decided to give Namur this context, you know, this new context, Mesoamerican culture, especially Mayan culture, I think they did it right,” Huerta said. “Because it’s the time to do it a certain way, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it’s important to a lot of people, especially kids. It’s a way of saying, ‘Hey, it’s okay with you.'” You should be proud of who you are. And the melanin in your skin… good and beautiful. “

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Some fans may relate to Namor’s weaknesses as an alien trapped between two worlds: the surface world of humans, and Talokan, an underwater world created by his original people. Tallucan was influenced by the Aztec paradise Tlaloc, which is ruled by the Aztec rain god Tlaloc.

In many ways, Talukan is a mirror image of Wakanda on the surface. Both are powerful kingdoms that flourished in secret. They are the planet’s only known sources of the imaginary mineral vibranium, which has an extraordinary ability to absorb, store and release kinetic energy. Both are acutely aware of the racial injustice that has led to the marginalization of other diverse peoples in the outside world. But although Wakanda was never settled, Talukan was established as a haven for the original survivors who fled the horrors Spanish colonialism In Yucatan, Mexico.

The first Black Panther was a groundbreaking movie in 2018 that not only focused heavily on black characters but also showed that mainstream audiences wanted to see more diversity in the films. As Huerta said, “Economically, it works too.”

“Black Panther” It grossed nearly $1.35 billion worldwideWith 52% of the box office (just over $700 million) earned in the United States. That’s nearly half of the box office output of the highest-grossing superhero movie, Avengers: Endgame (Nearly $2.8 billion worldwide). “Black Panther” narrowly beat out classics like “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (Just over $1.33 billion), “frozen” (Nearly $1.31 billion) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Just under $1.15 billion).

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Black Panther: Forever Wakanda pits the two kingdoms, Wakanda and Talukan, against each other as the outside world plots to tap into their exclusive reserves of vibranium.

But Huerta hopes the proud stories of the “brown and black” people will inspire viewers to join in.

“Especially right now, we need to get to know and embrace each other,” he said. “You know, keep it up.”

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Terry Alexander

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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