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Black Panther (film)

superhero film produced by Marvel Studios

Black Panther is a American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and it stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T'Challa is crowned king of Wakanda following his father's death, but he is challenged by Killmonger who plans to abandon the country's isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.

Wesley Snipes expressed interest in working on a Black Panther film in , but the project did not come to fruition. In September , Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Mark Bailey was hired to write a script in January Black Panther was officially announced in October , and Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War (). Cole and Coogler had joined by then, with additional casting in May making Black Panther the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, , and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. The film received critical acclaim from critics, praising its direction, screenplay, acting (particularly that of Boseman, Jordan, and Wright), costume design, production values, and soundtrack, though the CG effects received some criticism. Many critics considered it to be one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance, with organizations including the National Board of Review and American Film Institute naming it one of the top 10 films of The film grossed over $&#;billion worldwide and broke numerous box office records, including the highest-grossing film by a black director. It became the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, the third-highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada, and the second-highest-grossing film of

The film received numerous awards and nominations, with seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards including Best Picture, with wins for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. Black Panther is the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination and the first MCU film to win an Academy Award. It also received three nominations at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, two wins at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three wins at the 24th Critics' Choice Awards from twelve nominations, among others. A sequel, with Coogler returning to write and direct, is scheduled for May

Plot

Thousands of years ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing the metal vibranium. One warrior ingests a "heart-shaped herb" affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first "Black Panther". He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. Over centuries, the Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country. In , Wakanda's King T'Chaka visits his brother N'Jobu, who is working undercover in Oakland, California. T'Chaka accuses N'Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N'Jobu's partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T'Chaka's suspicions.

In the present day, following T'Chaka's death,[N 1] his son T'Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract T'Challa's ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe's leader M'Baku challenges T'Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T'Challa defeats M'Baku and persuades him to yield rather than die.

When Klaue and his accomplice Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a London museum, T'Challa's friend and Okoye's lover W'Kabi urges him to bring Klaue back alive. T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea, where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts, and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T'Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross' custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda's international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is gravely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T'Challa takes Ross to Wakanda, where their technology can save him.

While Shuri heals Ross, T'Challa confronts Zuri about N'Jobu. Zuri explains that N'Jobu planned to share Wakanda's technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T'Chaka arrested N'Jobu, the latter attacked Zuri and forced T'Chaka to kill him. T'Chaka ordered Zuri to lie that N'Jobu had disappeared and left behind N'Jobu's American son to maintain the lie. This boy grew up to be Stevens, a U.S. black ops soldier who adopted the name "Killmonger". Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity to be N'Jadaka and claim to the throne. Killmonger challenges T'Challa to ritual combat, where he kills Zuri, defeats T'Challa, and hurls him over a waterfall to his presumed death. Killmonger ingests the heart-shaped herb and orders the rest incinerated, but Nakia extracts one first. Killmonger, supported by W'Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world.

Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda, and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid. They find a comatose T'Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M'Baku's life. Healed by Nakia's herb, T'Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit. W'Kabi and his army fight Shuri, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje, while Ross remotely pilots a jet and shoots down planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M'Baku and the Jabari arrive to reinforce T'Challa. Confronted by Okoye, W'Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda's vibranium mine, T'Challa disrupts Killmonger's suit and stabs him. Killmonger refuses to be healed, choosing to die a free man rather than be incarcerated.

T'Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N'Jobu died, to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T'Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda's true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri helps Bucky Barnes with his recovery.

Cast

  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther:
    The king of the African nation of Wakanda[6][7][8] who gains enhanced strength by ingesting the heart-shaped herb.[9] He ascends to the throne following the death of his father T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War ().[6][10] Boseman called T'Challa an anti-hero who is "very much aware" of his responsibility as the leader of Wakanda.[11][12] Black Panther's suit, which forms around his body, was inspired by a similar design in Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther comic book run.[13] For his Wakandan accent, Boseman worked with the same dialect coach he had for Message from the King (),[11] and worked with Marrese Crump to stay in shape between Civil War and Black Panther.[10] To prepare for the role, Boseman visited South Africa twice; examined Shaka Zulu, Patrice Lumumba, speeches from Nelson Mandela, and Fela Kuti songs; talked to a YorubaBabalawo; trained in Dambe, Capoeira Angola, and Zulu stick fighting; and took a DNA test to better understand his African ancestry.[14] He signed a five-film contract with Marvel.[15] Ashton Tyler plays a young T'Challa.[16]:i
  • Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka / Erik "Killmonger" Stevens:
    A U.S. black-ops soldier who seeks to overthrow his cousin T'Challa,[17][18] with his own opinion on how Wakanda should be ruled.[19] Jordan had wanted to play a villain for "a while",[20] and likened Killmonger and T'Challa's relationship to the X-Men characters Magneto and Professor X.[21] He added that Killmonger is strategic, thoughtful, patient, and "trained to a T".[22] Killmonger's bumpy, ritualistic tribal markings on his chest and torso resemble the scar tattoos of the Mursi and Surma tribes,[23] and consisted of 90 individually sculpted silicone molds that took two-and-a-half hours to apply.[16] Jordan would have to sit in a sauna for two hours at the end of the day to remove the prosthetics.[24] Killmonger's dreadlocks hairstyle was a modern take on the character's long hair in the comics.[21] To prepare for the role, Jordan studied Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and Tupac Shakur.[14] He also cited Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight () as an influence.[25] Corey Calliet, who had previously worked with Jordan on Creed (), served as his trainer.[26] Seth Carr plays a young Stevens.[16]:i
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia:
    T'Challa's former lover and a War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda, from the River Tribe.[10][19][27] Nyong'o called Nakia a "departure" from her comic counterpart.[19] She begins the film fighting for enslaved women in Nigeria. Nyong'o trained in judo, jujitsu, silat, and Filipino martial arts.[10]
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye:
    An "extremely proud" Wakandan traditionalist from the Border Tribe who is the head of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda's all-female special forces and T'Challa's bodyguards.[28][29][30] Director Ryan Coogler cast Gurira based on her performance in Mother of George (), rather than her popular role of Michonne in the television series The Walking Dead, which Coogler had not seen. Gurira said that the fighting skills she learned playing Michonne complemented the skills of Okoye,[31] but noted that the Dora Milaje are a secret service, which covers intel as well as fighting. She explained that though the character is stoic, "she also has an unexpected sense of humor. She has a heart, but for her country and for her people."[30] Gurira's head was re-shaved every day to have her head tattoos applied, which took two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours.[24]
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross:
    A member of the Central Intelligence Agency[32][33] whom Freeman described as having an "uneasy peace" with T'Challa. He added that the character goes on an "enlightening journey to Wakanda" in the film.[32] Freeman and the filmmakers sought to depict Ross as a capable agent rather than just comic relief as he is in the comics.[10][34]
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi: A confidant to T'Challa and his best friend who is the head of security for the Border Tribe, serving as the first line of defense for Wakanda.[19][35]
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri:
    T'Challa's year-old sister who designs new technology for the country.[10][36] Wright described Shuri as innovative of spirit and mind, wanting to take Wakanda to "a new place", and felt she was a good role model for young black girls.[36] Executive producer Nate Moore called Shuri the smartest person in the world, even more so than Tony Stark.[10]
  • Winston Duke as M'Baku:
    A powerful, ruthless warrior who is the leader of Wakanda's mountain tribe, the Jabari, who protest T'Challa being the new king.[37] Duke described the Jabari as people who "strongly believe that to move forward, you have to have a strong adherence and respect for the past. So they have a deep moral conscience."[38] Character elements from Christopher Priest's – Black Panther series were adapted for M'Baku's portrayal in the film.[37] M'Baku is not referred to in the film by his comics alter ego "Man-Ape", since Marvel felt there were "a lot of racial implications that don't sit well" in having a black character dress up as an ape. This aspect of the character was instead reworked to have the Jabari tribe worship the gorilla gods, with M'Baku still wearing elements of fur on his arms and legs and a chest-plate that hints at the gorilla. Moore continued, "Man-Ape is a problematic character for a lot of reasons, but the idea behind Man-Ape we thought was really fascinating It's a line I think we're walking, and hopefully walking successfully."[37] To further differentiate the Jabari, Duke spoke a version of the Nigerian Igbo language rather than the Xhosa language spoken by other Wakandans.[16]
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda:
    T'Challa and Shuri's mother, the Queen Mother of Wakanda.[39] Ramonda serves as an adviser to T'Challa for when he would otherwise have turned to his father.[19] Bassett wore a silver, waist-length wig for the role that was made from pieces of hair hand-rolled into dreadlocks.[16] Calliet also served as Bassett's trainer before and during filming, creating high-intensity interval training circuits and helping to craft her diet.[26]
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri:
    An elder statesman of Wakanda and the keeper of the heart-shaped herb.[19][35] Coogler called Zuri a religious and spiritual figure, referencing the spirituality of Wakanda from the comics, and compared him to Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars series. Zuri is also a "major tie back" to T'Chaka for T'Challa.[40]Denzel Whitaker, who is not related to Forest, plays a young Zuri.[18]
  • Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue:
    A South African black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster,[10][41] who is allied with Killmonger.[13][19] Klaue uses a segment of advanced Wakandan mining equipment as a sonic disruptor arm-cannon that serves to replace his left arm, which was lost in Avengers: Age of Ultron ().[42] Boseman described Klaue as a threat to Wakanda, one of the few outsiders to enter the country, and someone with access to vibranium. He compared the character to Osama bin Laden.[43] Serkis added that in addition to his desire for vibranium, Klaue is motivated by a "personal" vendetta against T'Challa, and "to expose what he thinks is the hypocrisy of Wakanda".[44]

Additionally, John Kani and Florence Kasumba reprise their respective roles of T'Chaka and Ayo from Captain America: Civil War.[35][45] Kani's son Atandwa Kani portrays a young T'Chaka,[18] and Sterling K. Brown plays his brother N'Jobu, who is Killmonger's father.[18][46] Wakandan elders in the film include Isaach de Bankolé for the River Tribe,[16]:i[47] Connie Chiume for the Mining Tribe,[16]:i[48] Dorothy Steel for the Merchant Tribe, and Danny Sapani for the Border Tribe.[16]:iSydelle Noel appears as Xoliswa, a member of the Dora Milaje.[49][50] Marija Abney, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, Maria Hippolyte, Marie Mouroum, Jénel Stevens, Zola Williams, Christine Hollingsworth, and Shaunette Renée Wilson also play Doras.[16]:i Nabiyah Be initially announced that she was playing criminal Tilda Johnson,[51] but her character was simply named Linda in the final film due to Gabrielle Dennis being cast as Johnson in the second season of Luke Cage.[16]:i[52][53] Comedian Trevor Noah voices Griot, a Wakandan ship A.I.,[54] Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee has a cameo as a patron in the South Korean casino,[18][55] and Sebastian Stan makes an uncredited appearance in the post-credits scene reprising his role as Bucky Barnes.[56]

Production

Development

In June , Wesley Snipes announced his intention to make a film about Black Panther,[57] and began work on it by that August.[58] Snipes felt that Africa had been portrayed poorly in Hollywood films previously, and that this film could highlight the majesty of the continent due to the character being noble and "the antithesis of [African] stereotypes".[59] The next July, Snipes planned to begin The Black Panther after starring in Demolition Man (),[60] and a month later he expressed interest in making sequels to the film as well.[61] In January , Snipes entered talks with Columbia Pictures to portray Black Panther,[62] and Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee joined the film by March;[63] it entered early development by May.[64] Snipes had discussions with several different screenwriters and directors about the project, including Mario Van Peebles and John Singleton.[59] When the film had not progressed by January , Lee explained that he had not been pleased with the scripts for the project.[65] Snipes said that one of the issues with the project's development was confusion among those unfamiliar with the comics, who thought the film was about the Black Panther Party.[59]

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 [like] that.

–Actor Wesley Snipes, who worked on early iterations of Black Panther[61]

In July , Black Panther was listed as part of Marvel Comics' film slate,[66] and in March , Marvel reportedly hired Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, who at the time were editors of the Black Panther comics, to work on it;[67][59] Quesada and Palmiotti have both denied this.[59] That August, corporate problems at Marvel put the project on hold.[68] A year later, Snipes was set to produce, and possibly star, in the film,[69] while Artisan Entertainment announced a deal with Marvel in May to co-produce, finance, and distribute the film.[70] In March , Snipes planned to make the film or Blade 3 () over the next year.[71] In July , Blade 3 director David S. Goyer stated that he felt Snipes starring as Black Panther in addition to Marvel's Blade "might be overkill".[72]

In September , Marvel chairman and CEO Avi Arad announced Black Panther as one of ten films being developed by the new Marvel Studios.[73] Marvel Studios received financing to produce the slate of ten films to be distributed by Paramount Pictures.[74] In June , Snipes said he hoped to have a director for the project soon,[75] and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige reiterated in February that Black Panther was in development.[76] By that July, Singleton had been approached to direct the film.[77] In March , Marvel hired writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, including Black Panther;[78] Nate Moore, the head of the writers program, was overseeing the development of Black Panther specifically.[79] Snipes' involvement stalled at this time, as he was convicted of failing to file a tax return, serving his sentence from June to April [80] In January , Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for Black Panther, to be produced by Feige.[81] By October , the metal vibranium, which comes from Black Panther's home nation Wakanda, was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe;[82] Marvel had considered showing Wakanda itself as early as Iron Man 2 (), but were waiting until they had "a full idea" of how to depict it.[10]

In October , Feige announced that Black Panther would be released on November 3, , with Chadwick Boseman cast as T'Challa / Black Panther.[7][8] Boseman did not audition for the role, instead discussing what he wanted to do with the part with Marvel,[83] and earned $2&#;million for appearing in the film.[84] The actor was set to first portray the character in Captain America: Civil War.[8] Snipes gave his support for the project, despite no longer being involved.[59] Feige said that Marvel was considering minority writers and directors for the film, but would prioritize "the best filmmakers, the best writers, the best directors possible. So I'm not going to say for sure that we're going to hire from any one demographic". He added that they had met with former Black Panther comics writer Reginald Hudlin.[85] In January , Boseman said that the film was going through a "brainstorming phase",[86] and the next month Marvel pushed back the release date to July 6, [87] Also in February, Feige stated that casting for the film was underway, and added that he was set to meet with directors about the film following the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron at the end of April.[88]

By May , Marvel had discussions with Ava DuVernay to work on either Black Panther or Captain Marvel () as director.[89] In June, Feige confirmed that he had met with several directors, including DuVernay, and said that he expected a decision to be made by mid- to late [90] By early July, DuVernay had passed on directing the film,[91] explaining that she had been drawn to the cultural importance of depicting a black hero to the whole world, but disagreed with Marvel on the story and did not want to compromise her vision.[91][92] By October , F. Gary Gray and Ryan Coogler had been considered as directors for the film,[93][94] though negotiations with Coogler had cooled,[94] and Gray had chosen to direct The Fate of the Furious () instead.[95]Joe Robert Cole, a member of the Marvel writers program, was in talks to write the screenplay,[96] and Marvel changed the release date once again, moving it to February 16, [97] By December, discussions with Coogler were reignited after the successful opening of his film Creed ().[94]

Pre-production

Coogler was confirmed as director in January ,[98] and said that the film was his "most personal movie to date" in part because he grew up reading comics,[99][] adding, "I feel really fortunate to be able to work on something I'm this passionate about again."[][] After being "wooed" by Feige for months, Coogler agreed to direct the film if he could bring collaborators from his previous films to differentiate the film from other MCU films that are often "shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people". This included Fruitvale Station () cinematographer Rachel Morrison,[] as well as production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson, who both worked with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[][] Coogler felt Black Panther would be unique while still fitting within the MCU's overall narrative.[99]

What's so great about Panther is he's a superhero who [is] a leader in his country. It just so happens that the country is a warrior-based nation where the leaders have to be warriors, as well, so sometimes he has to go fight.

–Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther[]

In April , Feige said that Coogler was working on the script with Cole, and that filming would begin at the beginning of [] He added that the film would be the first Marvel Studios production to feature a "primarily African-American cast":[][]Lupita Nyong'o soon entered negotiations to star as T'Challa's love interest,[27] and Michael B. Jordan joined in an undisclosed role, after previously working with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[17] Nate Moore, serving as a producer on the film by the end of May, stated that filming would occur in Atlanta, Georgia, with Marvel "definitely investigating shooting in Africa" as well.[79]

At San Diego Comic-Con , Nyong'o was confirmed for the film, in the role of Nakia, while Jordan's role was revealed to be Erik Killmonger. Also announced was Danai Gurira as Okoye. Coogler confirmed that filming would begin in January [28][29] Additional casting occurred from September until the start of filming, with Winston Duke cast as M'Baku, a role that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II had also tested for;[]Forest Whitaker as Zuri; Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi;[35]Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother, Ramonda;[39]Sterling K. Brown as N'Jobu;[46] and Letitia Wright in an unspecified role.[]Florence Kasumba was revealed to be reprising her role as Ayo from Captain America: Civil War.[35]Amandla Stenberg, who is bi-racial and light skinned, was considered for a role in the film but was not comfortable taking the place of a dark-skinned actor, and described her decision to pass on the role as "really challenging".[] By January , Marvel received permission from the Oakland, California-based public transit agency AC Transit to use their logo in the film for the opening flashback sequence. The setting was chosen due to Coogler growing up in that area.[]

Writing

Coogler promoting Black Panther at the San Diego Comic-Con

The production team was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Black Panther, who was writing the comic at the same time as they were working on the film. Of particular inspiration was Coates' poetic dialogue, Brian Stelfreeze's art, and "some of the questions that it's asking".[] The film was also inspired by the comic runs of Jack Kirby, Christopher Priest (which Coogler felt most influenced the film), Jonathan Hickman, and Hudlin. Characters for the film were picked from throughout the comics based on what worked for the film's story.[38] The ceremonial betrothal aspect of the Dora Milaje was not adapted from the comics for the film.[10] Coogler had hoped to include Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter early in the process because of a scene in Priest's run that had T'Challa fighting Kraven, but the rights to the character were not available.[]Donald Glover and his brother Stephen made some minor contributions to an early draft of the script, developing the relationship between T'Challa and his younger sister Shuri.[] Moore noted that an early script had more scenes outside of Wakanda to explore "what it means to be African and African-American in the world a bit more", and hoped these could be revisited in a later film, particularly a "super cool" sequence that was storyboarded before being cut.[]

Feige described Black Panther as "a big geopolitical action adventure" that focuses on family and T'Challa learning to be king,[] with Civil War laying the groundwork for T'Challa's morality and establishing the geopolitical landscape that he would have to deal with on returning to Wakanda.[] Moore compared the politics and humor of the film to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (), saying that the former would be inherent but not "preachy", and that the latter would avoid the tones of Guardians of the Galaxy () and Ant-Man ().[10] He also said the film would be a cross between The Godfather () and the James Bond films as a "big, operatic family drama centered around a world of international espionage".[19] Coogler was influenced by s films such as the works of Francis Ford Coppola in that decade, as well as crime fiction. He also watched the film A Prophet () for inspiration.[] Feige called the film's story "rich in culturally relevant ideas", with Boseman indicating there were parallels to "pull from" in the film in relation to Donald Trump becoming President of the United States after Barack Obama, though Feige added that "these are conversations we were having two years ago because that is inherently the story within the comics."[43] Moore said the film does not depend on the plots of any other MCU films, but it does affect the wider MCU moving forward,[10] with Feige stating the film was "a very important" link to Avengers: Infinity War () and Avengers: Endgame ().[][]Civil War did introduce the Wakandan language, based on the Xhosa language, which Boseman was taught by John Kani who portrays T'Challa's father King T'Chaka.[] Additional actors portraying Wakandans in Black Panther learned the language,[] with Coogler making the use of the language "a priority as much as possible". Coogler tried to incorporate Xhosa "in natural and authentic situations", such as when multiple Wakandans were speaking in the presence of nonnatives and wanted to say something they would not understand. John Kani's son Atandwa served as a dialect coach on the film along with his father.[]

Design

Cole called the film an historic opportunity to depict a black superhero "at a time when African-Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization". It was important to root the film in the actual cultures of Africa, with the filmmakers consulting with experts on the region of Africa that Wakanda is supposed to be located in,[] rooting the film "in reality first and then build[ing] out from there".[6] Coogler's vision for Wakanda was inspired by the southern African country Lesotho, a country which has historically been "an enclave, able to protect its independence because of its terrain" and was only lightly colonized by the British;[][] the country's traditional blankets are also featured in the film.[] Coogler compared the rarity of vibranium existing only in Wakanda to the real-life mineral coltan that can almost only be found in Congo.[] He wanted Wakanda to feel like a full country with multiple distinct tribes,[37] and created a project bible that detailed each Wakandan tribe to guide the design process. Special care was taken to create a futuristic look that was not alien,[10] as some of Jack Kirby's original comic designs appeared.[]

Sets

Beachler wanted to honor the comic designs, but fill in the gaps with research concentrated on Sub-Saharan Africa, pulling inspiration from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia,[] as well as the designs of Zaha Hadid,[10] and the pre-colonization architecture of the historic Mali Empire and the city of Timbuktu.[] Moore described this approach of taking inspiration from many different sources as a love letter to Africa.[10] Beachler looked at the architecture of existing tribes, and then tried to advance the technology naturally rather than if Wakanda had been colonized.[] Circular motifs, signifying the transmission of energy, were an important theme throughout the film. Older locations depicted in the film, such as Warrior Falls, the City of the Dead, and the Hall of Kings, were juxtaposed with the more modern Afro-punk style of the Golden City, the capital.[10]Rondavels were incorporated into the tops of Wakanda's skyscrapers, inspired by the appearance of mountains at Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.[]

Beachler created different sigils and architecture for each of the Wakandan tribes, with the Border Tribe inspired by Lesotho, the Merchant Tribe having a sigil based on Nigerian writing, and the Golden Tribe using a sun symbol found throughout Africa. Gorilla City, home to the Jabari Tribe, was originally set in a rain forest, but Coogler suggested that it be found up a mountain in snow.[10] Beachler based the written form of the Wakandan language on an old Nigerian language. She consulted with mining and metallurgy experts for the vibranium technology,[16] including for the vibranium mine where the substance is depicted as glowing blue rocks before it is refined into the stainless steel look previously seen in the MCU. The film also adapts the kimoyo bead technology from the comics, and features sand-based technology. Beachler wanted futuristic elements of the film to be consistent with projections of what real world technology may be like in 25 or 30 years, such as the maglev and hovercraft technology used in vehicles. The Wakandan vehicles include a maglev train for carrying vibranium; the king's Royal Talon Fighter, which looks like a mask from the top and bottom; and the Dragon Flyer, inspired by the Congo peafowl.[10]

The majority of Beachler's sets were constructed on sound stages in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council, Shuri's design space, and the Hall of Kings. The Tribal Council set was built with a glass floor through which an old ruin can be seen. The exterior set for Warrior Falls was built on a backlot north of Atlanta, and was inspired by the Oribi Gorge. The set was 36 feet (11&#;m), made up of a six-foot-high (&#;m) pool, and then foot-high (&#;m) cliff faces that were designed to be extended to feet (30&#;m) with visual effects. A framework for the cliffs was hand-sculpted from industrial styrofoam, with a system of tunnels built-in to the design to allow extras to climb up to different areas of the cliffs. The framework was then covered with 25, cubic feet (&#;m3) of foam that was sculptured to match rocks found at Oribi Gorge. The pool was filled using six large pumps, so as to create a waterfall above the ledge at the bottom. The base of the pool was made from padding so stunts could safely be carried out on the set, but designed to look like rocks and to have enough grip that the actors would not fall over in the water. The set was completed in four months, and was used for two weeks of filming.[16]

Costumes

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter referenced the Maasai, Himba, Dogon, Basotho, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka people in her designs.[][] She also examined appropriate works by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and American fashion designer Donna Karan.[]Winnie Mandela provided inspiration to Carter for Angela Bassett's costumes.[10]

The Dora Milaje costumes primarily used red to reflect different African cultures, and included beaded tabards that feature talismans that would be passed down from mother to daughter. Carter wanted to avoid the "girls in the bathing suits" look, and instead have the Dora Milaje wear full armor that they would practically need for battle. She also had to take actors' stunt work into consideration.[10] Anthony Francisco, the Senior Visual Development Illustrator, noted the Dora Milaje costumes were based 80 percent on the Maasai, five percent on samurai, five percent on ninjas, and five percent on the Ifugao people from the Philippines. The arm band and neck rings were a reference to the Southern Ndebele people and denote stature. As such, General Okoye has gold bands and rings while the other Dora Milaje wear silver.[24]

The costumes for T'Challa combined his role as king and as the head of the military, including combining a kente cloth cloak with military boots.[10] Carter also used distinct colors and patterns for each of Wakanda's tribes, such as green with shells for the River Tribe based on the Suri; blue with wood for the Border Tribe; black with royal purple for the Black Panther and the Royal Palace;[10][24] plums and purples for the Merchant Tribe in reference to the Tuareg; and ochre for the Mining Tribe inspired by the Himba.[24] Three out of every five people in Wakanda go barefoot. The Wakandans wear "normal" clothes outside of the country, with the colors of their costumes kept consistent.[10] Overall, Carter created costumes for the film, working with "an army" of illustrators, designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more.[]

Hair department head Camille Friend referenced traditional African art, fabrics, hair, and textures, and the current-day natural hair movement in her designs. Friend strived to keep the actors' hair natural, using "braids, locs and twists", and when necessary, extensions and wigs. As with Carter, Friend designed each tribe to have their own identifiable aesthetic, such as the Jabari Tribe having hair styled with "very straight, clean lines" and war-paint detail, inspired by Senegalese warriors.[24]

Filming

Principal photography had begun by January 21, ,[] at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area,[][] under the working title Motherland.[][] Filming also took place in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood in Atlanta, which doubled as Oakland; the High Museum of Art, which served as the fictional Museum of Great Britain in London; and Atlanta City Hall, which served as a United Nations building.[][] Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who was eager to work on Black Panther after working with Coogler on Fruitvale Station,[]

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