Welcome to Wakanda! Marvel's Black Panther introduces viewers to a whole new fictional country, one that is more advanced than anything we've seen in a Marvel film to date. And yet, the science and technology has been carefully designed to be relatable to viewers. Production designers have created a futuristic country that's essentially taken real-world science ten steps forward, envisioning the weapons and technology of the future.
The secret of Wakanda's advancement is its vibranium. This fictional metal created the country with a meteor hit and helped its people leap forward technologically (as well as leading to the creation of the Heart-Shaped Herb). The rare metal can absorb energy, and has been used to manipulate everything from kinetic energy to ultrasonics. Meanwhile, Letitia Wright's 16-year-old Shuri acts as the country's chief designer. She may only be a teenager, but Shuri is actually smarter than even Tony Stark, and it seems that she's already revolutionized Wakandan science. The character effectively plays the Q to T'Challa's James Bond, outfitting him with all the equipment he could need to act as Wakanda's greatest protector.
So what science and technology do we see in play in Black Panther? Here are some of the most intriguing examples.
This Page: Black Panther's Outfits And Technology
Black Panther Outfits
The film features not one, but three Black Panther costumes. The first was apparently built by T'Challa himself, and is made of vibranium. As fans saw in Captain America: Civil War, it's effectively bulletproof; the kinetic energy of bullets is absorbed into it, rendering T'Challa immune from harm.
In Shuri's view, of course, this armor is nothing more than a relic. She's created a vibranium costume that is constructed of nanotechnology. The nanobots are stored within T'Challa's necklace while dormant; when he triggers them, they weave across his body, forming the distinctive new suit. Meanwhile, Shuri has gone one step further in her handling of vibranium. Where the traditional Black Panther costume could absorb the energy of attacks, Shuri has worked out how to control that energy's release. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; traditionally, vibranium simply absorbs that energy into itself, until the potential energy becomes too great and it is released in a devastating blast. Shuri has learned how to control that blast. It means that any attack on T'Challa effectively builds up his suit's kinetic charge until it reaches maximum - and he releases it in a stunning, radial blast.
The concept is clearly inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, who dreamed up the concept in order to make vibranium work within the confines of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the MCU, though, it's only one of Shuri's coolest concepts. Unfortunately for Wakanda, Killmonger soon dons a duplicate suit, one with more ostentatious gold details.
Forget the suits: Shuri's proudest creation are her so-called "Sneakers." As with T'Challa's armor, these are composed of nanotechnology, and form around the Panther's feet. The vibranium absorbs all sound around them, essentially meaning they're absolutely silent. The "Sneakers" are the ultimate spy gear, a way of moving around without your footsteps making a sound. It's worth noting they'll also be shock absorbent, meaning they cushion the feet and joints. That's perfect for running at speed.
Localized EMP Discs
One of Black Panther's most intriguing weapons is a small localized EMP disc. These are tremendously effective tools, and both shut down vehicles and render communications inoperative. We first see them in the opening fight scene, with T'Challa tossing one onto car engines; the disc appears to adhere to the car's surface magnetically, and likely uses some form of flux compression system. Black Panther uses them to strand his targets, and neutralize them without their being able to call for reinforcements.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these discs is the short range of the EMP. In the real world, although non-nuclear EMPs generally have a smaller range, it's nothing like this kind of scale. Wakanda has effectively micro-engineered a technology that's one step beyond modern science.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019