Finally, the film we were all waiting for, a superhero we could all relate to. Because which African isn’t insanely wealthy and hiding a panther suit and a valuable metal from the world? The Black Panther aka Prince T’challa made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Captain America: Civil War in 2016 when he fought alongside Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, the Winter Soldier and Spider Man to avenge his father’s death. Wakanda was born right before our eyes and it became a real, beautiful picturesque place. The film gave people something else to talk about where Africa is concerned. It is not all poverty and impoverishment, it is beauty, wealth and courage beyond words. So what if Wakanda is a fictional place, at least we aren’t trying on sorting hats. Here are ten things about Black Panther that you need to know. A spoiler alert is in effect.
- An all-black main cast
The main cast of Black Panther is African American, including Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o save for the villain Klaw and the CIA agent Ross who is only there to assist. He is amazed at the technology in Wakanda and has a hard time figuring out how everything works. Lupita Nyong’o has been quoted saying that she loved the energy of the all-black cast, remember MTV Shuga anyone? But let’s assume she meant globally recognized films she has been on. The fact that the film was made up of heroes and warriors rather than slaves and gangsters as blacks are often portrayed is a big plus.
Vibranium was deposited to Wakanda 10,000 years ago via way of a meteorite. It has more value than gold, a gram of it is said to cost $10,000 and is said to be more powerful than Wolverine’s Adamantium. Vibranium is so powerful that it melts other metals. The world knows about vibranium, but not about the massive quantities of it in Wakanda, it is available in small quantities, especially in the black market. Captain America’s famous shield is made up of vibranium. Now before you go digging for Vibranium ore, I’ll have you know that it doesn’t exist.
- Social media following
Black Panther is the most tweeted about Superhero movie ever. There has been over 35 million tweets with Black Panther related hashtags. They include #wakanda #wakandaforever #blackpanther. Millions of people worldwide posted photos of themselves in the movies. People went to watch it in cosplay and African wear. People posted videos of Wakanda dance on youtube, it was all pomp and color especially on the premiere week.
- Wakanda on the map
It is no secret that Wakanda is located in Africa, that’s why we are taking such pride in it right? But where on the map of Africa is this hub of technology and innovation? Marvel Cinematic Universe places Wakanda in East Africa. If it was a real place, it would be in North Western Kenya bordering Lake Turkana, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda. We as Kenyans lay claim to Wakanda and its abundant resources.
- Filming locations
To capture the true feel of Wakanda, Black Panther was filmed in several locations. Although the film is set in Africa, very few shots were filmed there. Most of the filming took place in Atlanta Georgia in Pinewood Atlanta Studios and around Atlanta and South Korea. The waterfall scenes were shot in Iguazu on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Aerial shots to capture the African aspects were shot in South Africa, Zambia and Uganda. The throne room of Wakanda was built in the studio.
- Wakanda Technology
Wakanda technology rivals even Tony Stark’s (Iron Man). It is Futuristic technology that incorporates aspects of the African part of Wakanda. The Kimoyo bids that double as a communication device are inscribed with Nigerian symbols. They have a royal Talon fighter designed to look like a traditional mask on the outside, it is very luxurious and comfy on the outside and is escorted by Talon Fighters. It is said to be Wakanda’s Air Force One. They all run on Vibranium. They have Dragon flyers, levitating chariots and guntlets shaped like panthers.
- Wakanda Costume Inspirations
Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter described how she and her team brought the Wakandans to life. The process required them to spend weeks in Africa in order to capture the essence of African dressing and Wakanda’s futuristic way of life. She described the costumes as Afrofuturistic. She incorporated the red Maasai shukas and the Himba tribe red soil all over the skin as a costume for some of the characters. The neck rings Okoye and the female warriors of Dora Milaje wore were from the South African Ndembele tribe. They were molded from rubber to make them light as the real thing would have been too heavy. Lupita’s character Nakia was inspired by the Suri had her face painted like the Suri tribe. The queen mother’s headdress was 3D printed from the Zulu married woman’s headdress. The Black Panther suit is symbolic of Africa as a whole. Carter called the design the Okavango pattern and put it all over the suit so that not only was T’challa a superhero, he was also an African King.
- Making big Bucks
Black Panther is the highest grossing superhero movie ever. So far, the film has earned over $1.2 billion, which is approximately Ksh. 120 billion. The money train hasn’t stopped for Black Panther since it premiered on 16th February 2018. On opening weekend, it earned $242.1 Million, so basically, Black Panther earned back its entire budget of $210 Million and then some on opening weekend. It is the fifth highest earning film ever and the highest earning film of 2018. Producer Ryan Coogler can afford to never work again if he wanted.
- Feminist Movie
Black Panther’s portrayal of women is what we’ve all been waiting for. I think it does a better job of portraying women than Wonder Woman, which has a female superhero. The women of Wakanda take on all challenges, especially those that have been long designated for men. Okoye is the head of the Wakandan Dora Milaje which is more or less the King’s guard. It is made up of fierce women who protect the throne and are loyal to the Kingdom. Nakia is an expert when it comes to espionage and Okoye is skilled in combat and use of a spear. When they infiltrate the Korean casino, they are dressed to the nines, but that doesn’t prevent them from fighting back when Klaw shows up. The women are able to set emotion aside and do what is best for their country, Okoye threatens to attack her husband W’Kabi when he teams up with Killmonger. Nakia doesn’t have time to mourn when she thinks that her love T’Challa is dead, she has to save Wakanda from Killmonger and will do whatever it takes. Let’s talk about tech genius Shuri who is more than just a princess. She is a scientist who comes up with most of Wakanda’s innovations such as the new Black Panther suit, the remotely driven vehicles and jets and the guntlets. Not to mention her fighting skills, together with Nakia, she takes on the W’kabi’s army while at the same time instructing Ross on how to remotely pilot the fighter jet. Forget about the future being female, in Wakanda, the present is female.
- Wealthiest Superhero
There is a case to be made about Black Panther, King of Wakanda being the wealthiest Superhero ever. Actually, he is the richest fictional character of all time. He controls the most valuable metal (Pure Vibranium costs $10,000 per gram). Wakanda has a vault with tons of it. He is worth over $90 trillion. Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are rich, but they don’t control an economy that is more than the GDP of the entire real world. Crazy right?
Now before you ask to be deported to Wakanda, let’s all remember that it’s all fictional, although we all wish it wasn’t.