Black Panther is Coming: Africans Are Happy

This Friday, avid moviegoers will be introduced to the world of Wakanda, a fictional native African nation based of Marvel Universe and the home of its superhero Black Panther. The 2018 American Film Black Panther is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and is produced by Marvel Studios. 

Wakanda, a fictional Eastern African nation, is an advanced civilization self-isolated from the rest of the world, full of advanced technology based out of a rare mineral called vibranium, which can only be found in Wakanda. Vibranium came from a massive meteorite that crashed in Wakanda ten thousand years ago.

Wakanda is a world of its own, full of religious cults devoted to deities who left ancient Egypt at the time of the pharaohs. To summarize it in one phrase: Wakanda is the hidden Super Power of the World.

This movie is bound to be Epic and everyone knows it. Produced with a $200 million budget, Black Panther is full of Top celebrities that promise not to deceive. Chadwick Boseman plays T'Challa aka Black Panther, a prince who returns home as King, only to find his sovereignty challenged in a conflict of global proportion. alongside Boseman are stars such as Michael B. JordanLupita Nyong'oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanDaniel KaluuyaLetitia WrightWinston DukeAngela BassettForest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

Marvel Studios Black Panther set to be released on February 16, 2018

SYNOPSIS: After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's mettle as King -- and as Black Panther -- gets tested when he's drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and is set to be released in the United States on February 16, 2018, in IMAX and 3D. The movie received praises for the direction, costume design, action sequences, and performances of the cast, with some critics calling it one of the best films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MUC) and noting its cultural impact.

The cultural impact is what we are about to discuss in this article. This movie is more than just a superhero Marvel movie, it's an artistic piece with multifaceted renditions that shout one voice loud and clear: it's about dang time for Africans (not Blacks) to be the superhero! And MCU delivered the statement that cannot be denied.

The majority of Superhero movies portrays a world that accentuates eastern and western cultures. To be blunt: Superman is a white man in a white world. Even Luke Cage is a Black man IN a white world. So, for once, we're getting a Black Panther from the motherland, out of an unimaginable world full of surprises and wonders; we are very happy. Thanks, Marvel Studios.

"We've yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It's a dream come true to originate something that nobody's ever seen before."

–Actor Wesley Snipes, who worked on early iterations of Black Panther

SO, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? It all started in 1992 when Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes decided that he wanted to make a film about Black Panther. Snipes understood something that all of us Africans in the Diaspora have known all along, Africa is poorly portrayed in the Hollywood films. To the western world, Africa is where indigenous people live, requiring help from the western world. Snipes knew about Africa and the many great kingdoms of Africa that are never talked about in the Hollywood scene; even worse, in the western education system. in the following years, Snipes would lay the ground in planning for this great project, having discussions with several screenwriters and directors in Hollywood.  Fast forward to 2005, Marvel announced Black Panther as one of the ten Marvel films that would be developed in the upcoming years.

The process to this decision was not easy; it took some hard negotiations and discussions with Studios top leaders and many writers to even try to push forward this ideology. This was not just another comic hero coming to life, but a Black Hero coming to life. A black man as a hero—that would be pretty revolutionary.

Ryan Coogler (Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore)

In order to validate the idea and its profitability (trust me, studios are all about the greens at the end), a path was set forward to start pushing the idea incrementally to see how the audience will react to this change. A couple of movies would be released portraying black heroes on a smaller scale. By 2009, Marvel already had hired writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, Black Panther was included in the list. In January 2011, Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for Black Panther to be produced by Feige.

In October 2014, Feige announced that Black Panther would be released on November 3, 2017, with Chadwick Boseman cast in the title role. Boseman did not audition before he was hired for the role, instead, discussing it with Marvel and what he wanted to do with the part. The actor was set to first portray the character in Captain America: Civil War, before starring in his own film.

By 2015, the studio considered getting F Gary and Ryan Coogler to direct the film. The release date was changed to February 16, 2018. Coogler was clearly the target for the studio after the successful opening of his film Creed.

In 2016, Coogler was confirmed as the director of Black Panther. The character of T'Challa aka Black Panther would be introduced in  "Civil War" laying a storyline that would link to Black Panther, where T'Calla would go back to Wakanda to become King. Characters for the film were picked from throughout the comics, based on what worked best for the film's story.

PRESENT TIME - Here we are, less than five days prior to the public release of the second most anticipated film of 2018, behind Avengers: Infinity Wars. Black Panther is set to be a platform for the minority, the unprivileged, both nationally and globally.

Black Panther will generate a wave of interests in African cultures and history. Unfortunately, Wakanda is a mere vision and a dream that we all wish Africa could achieve, given its riches and talented people. But, hope is not lost. We hope films such as this will ignite Africa youth back home and everywhere in the world to think about achieving what their fathers have not been able to do; a continent united, self-sustaining, and leading the world to a better path than its current destination.


Previous post Africans at the 2018 Winter Olympics
Next post Film Highlight – ‘Hold Me Down’