ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Mabel Cadena about playing Namora and joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now streaming on Disney+ and available to own on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD, and digitally.
“In the film, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death,” reads the film’s synopsis. “As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.”
Tyler Treese: Talokan has such an interesting backstory — particularly with the Spanish colonization — and it’s based on an Aztec paradise. While it’s fictional, there are so many details and actual parts of actual Meso-American culture. So what stood out most about getting to embrace that history in this movie?
Mabel Cadena: Oh, I’m very proud about my role in this movie, you know? [It] was amazing … for the first time in a movie like this. We can change the story. We can take little details about Mayan culture and make a new Talokanil culture. To me, as a Mexican, as a Latin-American woman, it’s beautiful to see a world like this in a movie like Black Panther.
Similar to Wakanda, there’s so many stories that could be told in Talokan. What kind of potential do you see, maybe in a spin-off television series or even a movie, down the line?
Well, I can see a lot of potential, but I don’t know what will happen in the future. I don’t know if my scenes in this movie fit with the future. I don’t know if we can have some more in the future. I hope, because I really want to continue playing Namora. I really want to explore more details and more things because I think we need more time to continue this story … to tell our story, you know? Because this is just the introduction for all these characters. But I think if I have the opportunity to see a new story, we can explore more details. And I think that’s beautiful.
Namora is related to Namor and is second in command. What did you like most about their relationship in the movie?
I think Namora is the right hand to Namor, and Namora the most important warrior to Namor. Then there’s Attuma, but I think Namora is more like a daughter while Namor is like a father to her. So to speak to our relation — because as a Mexican, we both try to represent the strength of our people, our culture, our relations — because Mexicans are very warm the Talokanil are very warm. So this is not about Mexican people, this is about Latin-American people in a new world like Talokan, but it was very important to us to represent the people around the world with dignity.
You’ve done so much great work in Mexican television and movies. What was most rewarding about transitioning to Hollywood and joining the MCU in your first English role?
I’m very proud about my career in Mexico because my whole life, I’ve had the discipline to make this career. I never expected to have an opportunity in this world, in this Hollywood world. But right now, to me, it’s just an opportunity to learn about myself, because maybe I gave up some dreams before, but now I am very hungry. I have a lot of expectations about my career out of Mexico — not just there. So I really have the capacity and the tools to represent, with dignity, a lot of women around the world. So I hope I can have another opportunity in the U.S.A. to represent other characters, other stories. I’m very excited about that.
Maybe at the beginning of Black Panther, my skills were not very strong. But right now I’m working on that very, very hard, to have a new opportunity in this platform, because it’s amazing. It’s a new world. It is a new industry. I feel hope for the future generations from around the world — not just in Latin-American, it’s around the world. This means a lot for a lot of people and means a lot for me.