‘Black Panther’ is based on the character introduced by Marvel in 1966, AND the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Black Panther has made Hollywood history. It will be the first superhero movie featuring a predominately black cast.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Black Panther made his first appearance in comic books in 1966, in FANTASTIC FOUR #52. Invited to visit by King T’Challa himself, it’s here that the First Family of Heroes gets a closer look at Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda.
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” picks up exactly where “Captain America: Civil War” leaves off. The film tackles the story of T’Challa who is a young African prince who takes on the mantle of King and Black Panther, and the legacy that comes with it. However, T’Challa’s mettle as ruler and hero is tested in a way that jeopardizes the fate of Wakanda and the entire world.
Black Panther will stand on its own merit even if you did not watch any movie in the movie franchise. It is projected to be the biggest blockbuster pay day in the Marvel franchise history. Tickets are sold out everywhere, EVEN in the morning, for the first weekend.
Wakanda is a fictional independent African nation that is also the most technologically-developed city in the world. Wakanda has hidden its true form, cloaked by advanced technology, protecting itself and its inhabitants, thus secluding it from the rest of the world.
The country is one of the few places where Vibranium is found. The near-indestructible metal is what makes up Captain America’s shield, and possessing that precious substance supercharged Wakanda’s technological and cultural development.
“Having a city built on Vibranium allows them to have all these advances and have wealth beyond our wildest imaginings”
-Nate Moore, Executive Producer
The government of Wakanda is a benevolent aristocracy with a royal family that lives in Birnin Zana—the Golden City—the capital of Wakanda. King T’Chaka was murdered at the Nations in “Captain America: Civil War” by illegal arms dealer Ulysses Klaue and therefore his son, T’Challa, is now the country’s ruler.
The country is made up of five tribes. The Border Tribe is the outward face of Wakanda. While they appear to be shepherds and farmers they actually serve as the first line of defense. Like most things in Wakanda, things are not always as they seem. The River Tribe is responsible for fishing and agriculture in Wakanda. The Mining Tribe is responsible for mining minerals in Wakanda, including the precious Vibranium while the Merchant Tribe deals with trade and innovation. However, the Jabari Tribe are the outcasts. Choosing to shun the use of Vibranium, they’ve removed themselves from mainstream Wakandan life. Lead by M’Baku, he and his tribe don’t see eye-to- eye with T’Challa and the royal family and seek to return Wakanda to its isolationist ways.
The cast and potential influence on the Black community in American is expected to be paramount. The excitement of a Black movie that has a positive gives hopes in what is yet to come.
“The big thing about Wakanda is its Vibranium, which is one of the strongest metals, not the strongest, but one of the strongest and most expensive metals,”
-Hannah Beachler, Production Designer
Wakanda has hidden and isolated itself for a reason, to protect themselves from those after the country’s precious resource, Vibranium. The substance powers most of Wakanda’s futuristic technology which is what makes it so valuable.
Those aren’t the only innovative technological components in Wakanda, Kimoyo Beads are hyper advanced communication devices. Beads are worn around the hand of a Wakandan, and are built with tech that only works inside the country. Each bead serves a purpose, the prime bead is for medical history/knowledge, the AV bead for an indispensable holographic internet, and the Communication bead, which is used similar to our modern day cell phones.
Ahead of its time in everything, even the transportation in Wakanda is revolutionary. Wakanda’s Air Force One, the Royal Talon Fighter flies alongside Talon Fighters, Wakandan fighter jets. The Dragonflyers are the workhorse of Wakandan aircraft, used for transportation and mining, while Gyro-cruisers are gyroscopically oriented, units that work similar to a large hamster ball. Lastly, every hero needs a personal vehicle. The Panther-cycle, is not your ordinary motorbike, this motorcycle flies.
Want even more insight into the world of Wakanda and Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther”? Pick up MARVEL’S BLACK PANTHER: THE ART OF THE MOVIE out now. Go behind the scenes with exclusive concept artwork and in-depth analysis from the filmmakers in this keepsake volume! Don’t forget to check out “Black Panther” in theaters on February 16!