angela jordan

The Wakandan Royal Portrait offers clues to the dangers within the fictional nation

T’CHALLA

“What makes him different from other superheroes first and foremost is he doesn’t see himself as a superhero,” says director and co-writer Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed). “He sees himself as a politician. That’s the first thing on his mind when he wakes up in the morning. ‘How am I going to fulfill my duties as king of this place?’”

That means not just fighting external foes, but keeping the citizens of his nation happy. He’s a king, but not a tyrant. And Wakandans don’t speak with only one voice. There are many political factions, many clashing points of view. Some are ready for revolution. Some are being pushed.

“He has to keep harmony between the tribes within his country, and that means managing expectations and doing things that are unpopular,” Coogler says. “At the same time, he is the protector of that nation.”

RAMONDA

Angela Bassett costars as Ramonda, once the queen, now the mother of the king.

“She is one of the advisors that he would look to,” Boseman says. “He has to look to her for some of the answers of what his father might want or might do. She may not be exactly right all the time, but she definitely has insights. She is the queen mother. And she’s that for not just him, but for everybody.”

Bozeman laughs. “She’s has her hands in everything — even his love life.”

NAKIA

“The one thing I will say about all the female characters in this movie is that they are very strong,” Boseman says. “It’s a very matriarchal society.”

One of them is Wakanda’s undercover operative Nakia, played by 12 Years a SlaveOscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. She may actually be the closest thing to 007 in this movie, and she’s a former lover of T’Challa’s.

“She is a departure from what she was in the comic book,” Nyong’o says. “Nakia is a war dog. She is basically an undercover spy for Wakanda. Her job is to go out into the world and report back on what’s going on.”

She also boasts some unique weaponry. “We call them her ring blades,” says Moore. “The ones Lupita carries while in the green outfit are based on traditional African weaponry. However, she does get a hi-tech upgrade later in the film, compliments of Shuri.”

SHURI

Letitia Wright plays T’Challa’s kid sister, who is no one you want to face in battle either. “She is also a genius and runs the entire Wakandan design group,” says producer Kevin Feige, whose also president of Marvel Studios and one of the chief architects of its interlocked universe. “She’s responsible for all these amazing technological advances that Vibranium has brought about from Wakanda.”

Here she is pictured with twin, panther-shaped weapons. It’s not clear yet what they do exactly, but it probably hurts.

OKOYE

She’s not technically family, but she’s just as close. This character played by The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira is the head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female special soldiers unit that protects the kingdom (and the king) from harm.

“They are a very powerful force,” she says. “They are not utopic, but what Wakanda has down well is it has allowed people to function within their strengths. These women, their strength is to preserve Wakanda. It’s more like the secret service in a sense that it’s not just military. She is head of intel.”

Okoye has guilt over the death of the previous king, and she’s generally a stoic presence. But she’s not unfeeling. “She can be serious, but she also has an unexpected sense of humor,” Gurira says. “She has a heart, but for her country and for her people. She’s not a person who doesn’t connect to human beings as a result of what she does.”

ERIK KILLMONGER

There is an enemy in this portrait.

In the comics, he was once a Wakandan known as N’Jadaka, but he took on this “death-dealing” nom de guerre when he became a dissident, then an exile, from his homeland.

Michael B. Jordan’s character is one of the antagonists of the film, allied with the mercenary Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, reprising his role from Avengers: Age of Ultron), an arms dealer who has plundered Vibranium before and plans to do it again. He’s addicted.

In The Godfather terms, Killmonger has sided with this outsider against “the family,” his brothers and sisters of Wakanda. “I think Killmonger has his own opinion on how Wakanda has been run and should run, and what I think Michael brings to the table is sort of a charming antagonist, who doesn’t agree with how T’Challa is running things, frankly,” says Moore. “I think that puts T’Challa in a difficult situation. Killmonger is a voice of a different side of Wakanda.”

W’KABI

Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya plays T’Challa’s best friend, who is also a member of one of the most vital groups in the nation. “W’Kabi is the head of security for the Border Tribe,” says Moore. “They live on the borders of Wakanda and serve as the first line of defense for the country.”

In other words, he helps maintain the disguise that Wakanda is just mines, farms, and woods.

“To outsiders they appear to be what people would ‘expect’ of a small provincial African nation – but the truth is they are some of the fiercest warriors in Wakanda, intent on protecting the secrets of their advanced nation at all costs,” Moore says.

Now that T’Challa is king, he asks W’Kabi to join him as a palace advisor.

ZURI

Another vital voice of reason for the young king is Forest Whitaker’s shaman, a longtime advisor to T’Challa’s father and the keeper of the Heart-Shaped Herb, a plant that grows only in Wakanda and absorbs the Vibranium-rich minerals. When consumed, it gives the new leader superhuman strength. (But in the comics, it only works on members of the royal bloodline.)

“He’s somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure,” Coogler says of Zuri. “Spirituality is something that exists in Wakanda in the comics, and it’s something we wanted to have elements of in the film. Forest’s character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance.”

As wondrous as Wakanda seems, it can also be treacherous. For all the talk of honor in The Godfather, the families were compulsively driven to destroy each other. 007 may venture to the most beautiful places (and people) on Earth, but there’s always a villain determined to wipe those places off the map. If Black Panther owes thematic inspiration to those predecessors, the danger comes hand in hand with the beauty.

But that’s where the similarities will end. When the Marvel Studios movie debuts Feb. 16, the story will remain on Earth, but its creators pledge to take fans to a world they’ve never seen before nonetheless.

“I don’t think people are prepared for what this movie is going to be,” says Feige. “Not just Black Panther, but the Dora Milaje, and Killmonger, and the entire design of Wakanda – both its traditional African-inspired elements, but also the Vibranium inspired techno-elements. I can’t think of a blend that has happened like that before in movies.”

There’s only one Black Panther, after all.

No matter who wants to lay claim to his throne.

Every time they mention how Black Panther lack diversity.

Tell them:

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Basset, Forest Whitker is African American.

Danai is a Zimbabwean-American

Lupita Nyongo is a Kenyan-Mexican

Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya and Andy Serkis are English.

Florence Kasumba is Ugandan-German.

Letitia Wright is Guyanese.

Black Panther is an extremely diverse movie with people from all over the world. Die mad about it. 

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You know how I know this finna be extra on point?  Because ain’t but ::datmany:: roles for Black folks in big budget Hollywood movies in the first place.  You KNOW every Black actor with a reel and a headshot went out for this, so they literally had their pick of talent.

If y'all don’t turn out to see this Black ass movie when it comes out, I’m personally revoking Potato Salad Rights at all y'all’s cookouts until 2025.

(Also: let’s all send up a quick prayer to whatever ancestors or deities you believe in that everyone can get their accents on point because you know when Hollywood tries to do Africa………)

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Training #blackpanther

You: Tony Stark is probably the richest character in the entire MCU. He is a billionaire.

Me, an intellectual: Mhm k. T’Challa is the King of an entire nation called Wakanda that is technologically advanced and has nearly all the world’s reserves of vibranium (which was used for caps shield). It’s the strongest metal in the MCU so it ain’t cheap. In fact, according to the comics, the vibranium costs $10,000 per gram. Imagine if you had literally tons of it lying around. Oh, and fun fact, Black Panther’s net worth is 90.7 trillion dollars. Making him possibly the wealthiest superhero of all time. So uh yeah.

Any time someone mentions how Black Panther lacks diversity, tell them:

  • Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and director Ryan Coogler are African-American. 
  • Danai Guria is a Zimbabwean-American.
  • Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican.
  • Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, and Andy Serkis are English.
  • Florence Kasumba is German-Ugandan.
  • Letitia Wright is Guyanese.

Black Panther is an extremely diverse film with people from all over the world. Die mad about it. 

Adapted from a post by Squeezemetillipop.

Let’s make sure the Black Panther movie has a debut like no other movie ever.

Let’s make sure that in all of 2018 no other movie can surpass the kind of debut Black Panther will have.

Let’s break the box office!