With all the buzz around this film, it is clearly not just another superhero flick. With a Nigerian audience in mind, we examine the details around the film to see where some of the concepts came from and how true or plausible they are.
Inspired by Gaddafi?
Like late Muammar Gaddafi, Black Panther’s bodyguards are exclusively female. Was the fallen Libyan leader the inspiration for this? It’s possible because The Adored Ones were only introduced to the Black Panther mythology in 1998. We’re not sure of Black Panther’s reasons but It is said that Ghadafi elected to have an all female team of guards in order to project that women in Libya had equal rights to their male counterparts. The movie Black Panther definitely checks the box for good portrayal of women.
The connection to the other Black Panthers
The character was introduced months before his namesakes, the Black Panther political movement who incidentally enjoyed financial support from Muammar Gaddafi. Later on Marvel tried to change his name to Black Leopard in order to dodge the controversy but that name didn’t stick. It’s interesting that Danai Gurira played a member of the Black Panther movement when she starred as Afeni Shakur in the Tupac Biopic All Eyes On me.
Africa without Colonialism
Wakanda is said to be a reimagining of an African country that was never colonized. So what about the real life examples of African countries that were never colonized? Do they match up to the imagination that is Wakanda? Well, while some scholars consider Liberia and Ethiopia as countries that were never colonized, those two nations are not pure examples. Ethiopia actually had an Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941. Liberia’s ‘purity’ is also debatable.
The last time the world went crazy for an African king it was a lion that somehow had an American accent. Chadwick Boseman says it was important to give his character an African accent instead of an European one. This he says was because they didn’t want to convey the idea that his education comes from Europe. “That would be counter to everything that Wakanda is about”.
For Africa by America
Wakanda may never have been conquered by ‘Colonizers’, but the entire Black Panther mythology was created by… two white guys, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics; before DC’s Green Lantern (the John Stewart version), Tyroc, and even Black Lightning. On the Marvel side, he was debuted well before Luke Cage or Falcon!
His Igbo Name
Okonkwo, that’s the alias that T’Chala took when he was temporarily in charge of Hell’s Kitchen, standing in for Daredevil.
T’Challa aka Black Panther was the one who designed the supersonic jets, the Quinjets which the Avengers ride in. In real life, the first military aircraft to be fully developed in Africa, the AHRLAC debuted in 2014 in South Africa.
Since this movie makes everybody want to be African, it is worth asking where Chadwicck Boseman’s ancestors came from. Boseman traces his ancestors to Sierria Leone. Boseman may have gotten the role, but Black Panther was originally supposed to be Wesley Snipes’ next role after Demolition Man. Snipes held on to the dream up to 2003 but apparently Marvel didn’t want him to play Black Panther in addition to starring as Blade.