This article contains minor spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere was an intensely emotional experience starting with the tribute to Chadwick Boseman at the beginning and as the audience followed each character’s journey through grief. Despite the heavy nature of the film, there were several moments that spurred excitement and laughter. One such moment was a lighthearted Star Wars reference that broke some of the tension in the middle of the nearly three-hour movie.
When Riri Williams and Shuri are captured by the warriors of Talokan, they anxiously await their fates in an underwater cave prison. A woman enters carrying a change of clothes for Shuri, stating that royalty in Talokan wear special attire. As Shuri reaches out to take the offering, Riri warns her against it. Her chief concern is that presenting clothes to a prisoner is something bad guys in movies do to women all the time.
Along with a few other references, Riri highlights Princess Leia’s iconic outfit from Return of the Jedi…yeah, that one. Luckily, Shuri doesn’t have to wear something quite so uncomfortable as a metal bikini. Leia’s outfit, which has been heavily criticized for objectification, serves as a great connection for the situation that Riri and Shuri find themselves in.
The scene also continues the trend MCU characters of referencing Star Wars. Captain America: Civil War marked one of the most memorable times, when Peter Parker is inspired by a “really old movie” for a battle strategy.
With a tactic from The Empire Strikes Back in mind, he ties Ant-Man’s legs with webs, causing him to fall over like an AT-AT.
The level of crossover between fans of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises is fairly extensive, allowing the MCU to reference and poke fun at memorable moments from the galaxy far, far away.
At some point in the future, maybe a Star Wars film or show will repay the favor.