Continuing the pre-Comic-Con warm-up is Black Panther, which covers Entertainment Weekly’s special issue. We’ve seen the trailer, and now we have a trove of photos to scan in detail, including T’Challa’s family—his mother, Ramonda, is played by ANGELA BASSET. There’s also Lupita N’yongo as Nakia, a covert agent working on behalf of Wakanda, and Florence Kasumba, aka the “Move, or you will be moved,” guard from Captain America: Civil War. Oh and Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and, of course, Chadwick Boseman. This cast is INSANE.
And they look INSANE. The costumes and production design revealed in the photo spread (gallery here) are gorgeous, combining traditional African inspiration and sci-fi techno elements. This is one of my favorite things about Wakanda: It’s distinctly African and super-advanced. It does not have to leave behind one to attain the other, and given the worldwide popularity of these movies, people are going to spend two hours in an African world that isn’t poverty-stricken and deprived. That’s what I like about the scene right off the top of the trailer. It plays directly into the assumption of Africa as a deprived continent full of third world countries—an assumption perpetuated by European diaspora—only to pull back and reveal the majesty and marvels of Wakanda. It’s going to be tremendous fun to watch the fallout Wakanda has on pop culture.
And the women! All these women! Tall and strong and sporting everything from couture evening wear to inspired African dress to weird sci-fi space-hands. T’Challa is literally surrounded by women, with his all-female guard, the Dora Milaje—can we get an Amazons/Dora Milaje cross-ver?—and his family, with his mother and his sister, Shuri. (T’Challa is a scientist himself, but Shuri is a brilliant engineer, too.) More stuff to love about Wakanda: They love SCIENCE! Everyone does SCIENCE! and they do more and better SCIENCE! than anyone else on Earth, including Tony Stark. (How many people picked up on T’Challa’s jet in Civil War, that Stark couldn’t detect it?)Black Panther doesn’t come out until February. That’s so long. It’s too long. Can we just have it now? Must we really wait? As Kathleen said before, this is the most anticipated Marvel movie. (And I bet it’s the kind of movie that can lure in people who don’t usually like superhero movies.) Black Panther is undoubtedly presenting in Hall H at Comic-Con next weekend. When the nerds in Hall H get really excited about something, you can feel it. The floor is concrete, it doesn’t really shake, but there’s a perceptible vibration. It’s kind of like an excitement earthquake. Black Panther is an earth-shaker for sure.