Marvel originally wanted Wakandans to have British accents in Black Panther. The introduction of T'Challa, aka Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was something Marvel Comics readers waited a long time to see. When Kevin Feige confirmed their intention to make a solo movie, he didn't waste time announcing who was playing the part either. The studio cast Chadwick Boseman in the role and had him debut in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, where he instantly became a fan-favorite character.
T'Challa's amazing fighting style was a highlight, but so too were the different levels to Boseman's performance. He was able to command the screen with little dialogue thanks to his regalness, but also showed emotional depth during the death of his father. When Boseman did speak, it was with a very distinct accent that has been replicated by all Wakandans ever since, but it turns they all almost sounded quite different.
Boseman was a guest on THR's Awards Chatter Podcast, and discussed his role as Black Panther over the course of the interview. One thing he revealed was Marvel's original idea for how Wakandans should speak. He says the studio initially wanted them to have British accents, but Boseman fought that decision until Marvel sided with him.
They felt that it was maybe too much for an audience to take. I felt the exact opposite — like, if I speak with a British accent, what's gonna happen when I go home? It felt to me like a deal-breaker. I was like, 'No, this is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?'
Wakanda may be a fictional country, but it's still in the heart of Africa nonetheless, so giving its inhabitants African accents (mostly inspired by Xhosa) was absolutely the right move. Thankfully Boseman was there to push back on Marvel's idea, and convince them to go with an accurate sound. Its also very easy to see the slippery slope Boseman refers to that Marvel could've gone down if they didn't listen to him. If they made the accents British, would they then consider moving Wakanda out of Africa? Hopefully not.
Even if this was at one point an option, thankfully Marvel decided to let Wakanda be as accurate as it can be. It may have been Boseman fighting early on to keep the accents, but there's been no signs of director Ryan Coogler having to fight to see his version of Wakanda be brought to life in Black Panther. And, when one considers just how successful the movie was and how eager everyone is for a sequel, fans will likely get to see this perfect portrayal of Wakanda plenty of times in the years to come - maybe even in a larger role within Avengers 4.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019