The “Wakanda Forever” gesture where Wakandans cross their arms across their chest in solidarity or greeting is being joined by “Líik’ik Talokan.”
Those who have already seen the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever probably noticed that the Talokan, the Mesoamerican, underwater civilization led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta), have their very own way of greeting one another.
The gesture is called the “Líik’ik Talokan,” or “Rise Talokan” in English, and is based on Mesoamerican codices, which are manuscripts that present traits of indigenous traditions and symbolic practices.
Actor Alex Livinalli, who portrays Talokan warrior Attuma in the film, told Cinema Blend that the hand gesture for Líik’ik Talokan was not in the original Wakanda Forever script.
“The [Wakandans] have ‘Wakanda Forever’ and it’s so powerful and means so much,” he said. “We’re very similar to the Wakandans. We need something. So, after a conversation with a language instructor, we came up with ‘Rise Talokan’…which is our mantra.”
Some people loved the origin story so much, they’re thinking about using the greeting themselves. “Ima start saluting my Raza like this from now on,” one Twitter user wrote.
Others were happy that Marvel incorporated Mesoamerican culture into the film. “A film full of so many [symbols] and respect for our ancestors,” someone tweeted. “Thank you [Tenoch Huerta] for bringing our roots to the MCU with such greatness. Liik’ik Talokan!”
On Twitter, of course, there are plenty of cynics who were quick to push back on the origins of Líik’ik Talokan and complained that the gesture had already been used by characters in franchises like Dragonball Z, Street Fighter, and Power Rangers.
Similar, maybe, but the Líik’ik Talokan has history on its side. Plus, Namor looks way cooler doing it than Goku, Ryu, or the Blue Ranger ever could.