Ryan Coogler introduced a whole new realm and that one also underwater, to boot, in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which is called Talokan, with Tenoch Huerta’s character, Namor the submarine at the helm. And just the way Black Panther has its own Wakanda Forever symbolism, the undersea kingdom of Talokan also bears its own hand gesture as well as a battle cry.
But what does the single symbol of the hand represent? Not only does Talokan’s gesture represent cultural significance limited to the universe within the film, but it also happens to have a striking historical origin. And the reference is very intriguing with painstaking detail of such aspects woven intricately into a collective depiction of Talokan culture. This further proves how serious Ryan Coogler and the film’s star actors were about their jobs.
Related: ‘The end credits scene brought the whole theater to tears’: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s end credits scene is one of the best in MCU history
The “Rise, Talokan! was not part of wakanda foreverthe original script of
Talokan’s signature battle cry “¡Liik’ik Talokan!” resulting in “Rise, Talokan! in English, is accompanied by a simple but bold hand symbol, and while the gesture has historical relevance, initially the former was surprisingly not part of the original script.
Asked about the “Rise, Talokan! movie scene in an interview about a week ago, the cast of Wakanda Foreverr including Alex Livinalli and Mabel Cadena explained how it wasn’t in the film’s original script, and it was instead the Latino cast’s idea to introduce it into the sequel with the belief that the Talokans should have a symbolism unique to themselves.
Related: Tenoch Huerta, who plays Namor, had an emotional request for director Ryan Coogler while filming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“It was not part of the original script. It was a consensus, that we were like… Black Panther, you know they have Wakanda Forever, and it’s so powerful. And we’re like, we’re very similar to the Wakandans, you know. We need something. So, after a conversation with a language teacher, we found “Talokan, Rises!”
Additionally, in addition to the cast wanting a distinctive symbol embodying the Talokan culture, the hand symbol followed by the Talokan battle cry also has a very specific historical origin.
The Historical Meaning Behind the Talokan Hand Symbol
The Talokan hand symbol is depicted holding both palms up, with the left palm facing upwards and the right held flat below, thus mimicking a snake’s mouth. But did you know that this simple gesture has quite a strong historical significance?
As Twitter user Aztec Empire pointed out, this hand gesture seen in the Black Panther The sequel is actually based on that seen in various Mesoamerican codices.
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The feathered serpent god is the one that is commonly considered to be worshiped in various Mesoamerican cultures and the same deity is also considered a divine presence in the Talokan kingdom in wakanda forever. Thus, the underwater kingdom ruled by Namor of Tenoch Huerta in the film represents various factions of Mesoamerican societies, with the city itself drawing considerable inspiration from the mythical Aztec society of Tlālōcān.
The film really focused on the smallest of these details and created something extremely unique, diverse and culturally prolific, thus making wakanda forever all the more interesting.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now!