The Wakandan Royal Portrait offers clues to the dangers within the fictional nation
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
one of the best things about lilo & stitch, imo, is how chill both the family and society at large are with stitch’s overall stichiness. i mean, stitch pretends to be a dog throughout most of the movie, and even though no one really buys that, you know. at least he was making an effort to appear normal to human eyes, by hiding his extra pair of arms and not talking. but by the end of it? stitch doesn’t give a shit. lilo and nani and everyone else don’t really give a shit either. stitch dances with lilo and the girls, performs david’s number with him in public, is taken to school by lilo and scribbles his space travel route on the chalkboard, and everyone is like, ‘yep, that’s just lilo’s little…. something…. doing his thing, nothing to see here’
Reasons why this was my favourite film as a child:
Male and female protagonists can be friends without promise of romance.
Arguments among friends which are overcome by working together. Then they don’t rub in that one made a mistake, they just move on from it.
A single parent family becomes a no parent family, then grandparents do a great job of raising the kid.
Accepting loss, and dealing with it in a realistic way. Moving through anger, denial, hope, grief, and acceptance.
Seeing that foolish actions can have serious consequences.
Compassion in some of its gentlest and most subtle forms. The berry, protecting the tree star, sleeping in a group for warmth and reassurance.
‘We never do anything together’ - bridging the gap between species, genders, and ages. Proving that no matter what they look like, kids are kids, and they can be friends.
Actual personalities and flaws. Cera is stubborn and proud, Ducky uses her childish humour and liveliness to hide her pain from losing her siblings, Spike is a baby, but fond enough of his companions to find bravery, Petrie is defensive and self important to compensate for his inability to fly, and his fear. Littlefoot takes the role of the leader because he cherishes the lives of others, and knows the stinging loss they’re all feeling.
Also because it breaks my heart every fricken time.
When new images or info are revealed about the next Star Wars movie, I know it’s only a matter of time until Michael Pasquale / @800lbproductions will have another incredibly kickass piece of artwork! With the fun reveal of Rey’s new hair-style from the toy packaging, plus confirmation that “The Last Jedi” is plural from the Spanish & French translations, it’s the first chance we’ve had to really visualize what she will look like in The Last Jedi!
So, here we are, 299 days until the next movie and let the fun begin!!!
I’m so happy Moonlight won for Best Original Screenplay because the way the script was written in three distinctive parts is really unique and means a lot for screenwriters that they don’t have to conform to a written formula for films. It’s the story that matters.
“Silly to cry, nothing to fear, betcha where they live’s as nice as right here; betcha your life is gonna be swell. Looking at them, it’s easy to tell… The sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun. Just thinking about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow, come what may… Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow; you’re only a day away…”
Day 355: Grace Farrell and Annie Bennett Warbucks (ANNIE)
Literally the only makeover movie that matters is My Big Fat Greek Wedding because at the end of the day it’s not about boys or a popular girl showing her the way, it’s about Toula recognizing that she doesn’t like her life, and taking agency over her appearance and actions, which include changing her wardrobe and getting contacts, but also going back to school and getting a better job. She also isn’t suddenly a bombshell, she curls her hair and feels more confident and it’s realistic and special and lovely in so many ways.