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Black Panther Trailer

Everything We Know About Marvels 2018 Black Panther Film

The landaptation of graphic superhero novels to film has been a profitable phenomenon for quite some time. By the time the highly anticipated Black Panther film debuts in 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will be a decade old. Despite this popularity, Marvel films consistently lack the diversity their broad audience reflects. That’s set to change with Black Panther, which is poised to become the first film in the MCU with a Black director and mostly Black cast. And if the details leaked by cast and crew are any indication, that isn’t the only way this film is bucking tradition.

You may recognize Chadwick Boseman, who leads the film as T’Challa, from his roles as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up. T’Challa makes his first MCU appearance in Captain America: Civil War, where he is on a hunt for vengeance after his father is killed in a terrorist attack. According to writer Joe Robert Cole, the Black Panther film will pick up shortly after these events.

T’Challa is the prince of Wakanda, a fictional African country that is supposed to be the most technologically advanced in the world, a refreshing departure from how Africa is normally depicted in films. Black Panther is set to film primarily in Atlanta, Georgia, a thriving U.S. metropolis known for its affluent Black community, and there are rumors that key players are pushing to shoot in Africa.

Producer Nate Moore revealed as much in an interview with Undefeated, saying, “We’re definitely investigating shooting in Africa… both Marvel and Ryan feel that would be really good for the movie. We just haven’t drilled down on it yet.”

This theory was further strengthened in Cole’s interview with Slash Film, where he stressed the importance of authentic African culture and history being represented in the film.

“There are so many countries, each of them with different histories, mythologies, and cultures but what we tried to do was hone in on some of the history, some of the cultural influences and then extrapolate out in our technology, extrapolate out in how we see Wakanda and the different parts of the country and the culture of the country as well. So we wanted to root it in reality first and then build out from there, so we’d feel pretty authentic and grounded.”

If Black Panther proceeds with shooting in Africa, it will add yet another distinction from Hollywood blockbusters, which usually attempt to recreate African landscapes in domestic locations.

Black Panther also stars the enigmatic Lupita N’yongo, who plays Nakia, a member of the Dora Milaje, a group of daughters from Wakanda’s rival tribes who have been selected to serve T’Challa as bodyguards and potential wives in order to keep the peace. In the comics, Nakia is in love with T’Challa, and it will be interesting to see whether the film honors the original storyline and has T’Challa propose to Monica Lynne, who turns out to be X-Men’s Storm (which Marvel doesn’t have the rights to). N’Yongo gave fans a glimpse into Black Panther’s basic storyline at Comic-Con, saying, “The story is that the Black Panther’s leadership is really threatened by two foes who come together, and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milaje to try and defeat the enemy.”

The film also features Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, a villain exiled from Wakanda. This will be Ryan Coogler’s third time directing Jordan, who also played lead in Fruitvale Station and Creed. Walking Dead star Danai Gurira will play Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje and Nakia’s good friend.

Black Panther’s largest hurdle will be its audience, which will be inundated with superhero flicks over the next couple of years. One positive sign is the popularity of the Black Panther comic book reboot, which released its first new issue earlier this year. Authored by American culture critic Ta-Nehisi Coates, it quickly became the best-selling comic of the year. One can only hope that this trend holds strong, and that the film’s storyline, cast, and direction will be enough to hold fans’ interest.

Black Panther is scheduled to hit theaters on February 2018.

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August 31, 2016
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