There are only a few days left until Marvel’s Black Panther hits U.S. theaters and the film is now the most tweeted about movie of 2018. The journey to Wakanda has inspired everything from jewelry to a buzzed-about soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, so far. Much of that buzz has taken the form of conversations on Twitter, where the film has been an extremely popular topic of discussion for months now. The masses, particular people of color, have already embraced the story of T’Challa, Eric Killmonger, Okoye, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje, turning Black Panther into a cultural phenomenon that will be a game changer, according to critics and fans alike.
While Marvel has been hinting at Wakanda’s existence since Iron Man 2, the mysterious African nation will be taking center stage in Black Panther. From its unique characters to how it crafts a narrative centering on African culture, Black Panther is doing its part to put T’Challa at the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everyday people are further helping the cause with the #BlackPantherChallenge hashtag, which has raised over 300,000 dollars to help children of color see the film in theaters. Another Black Panther hashtag (#WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, created by Kayla Sutton of Black Girl Nerds) is also trending nationally and spotlights what the film means to black audiences. Suffice it to say, the Twitter conversation around the movie is something to behold.
Variety is now confirming that Black Panther is indeed the most globally tweeted about movie of 2018, surpassing Star Wars: The Last Jedi (which hit theaters in late 2017) at number two and Maze Runner: The Death Cure (which opened last month) at number three. That’s not the only record that the superhero movie stands to break either, having already set multiple new benchmarks for Fandango‘s tickets pre-sales. According to the latest projections, there’s a real chance Black Panther will join the top 5 superhero movie openings ever, when all is said and done.
With the film clawing past so many milestones, a franchise for the series is all but assured. From characters like Letitia Wright’s Shuri (who could eventually take on the Black Panther mantle herself) to the wealth of stories involved with the Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s chief bodyguards, Wakanda is now wide open for storytelling opportunities. The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War illustrates that Wakanda will play a critical role in the MCU going forward, though exactly what the future holds for the country on the big screen remains a mystery for now.
One thing is clear though: the cultural impact of Black Panther can’t be overstated. Not only should the film be used to build a sub-franchise within the MCU, but it should open the door to other stories about marginalized groups that give different audiences an opportunity to see themselves featured in the MCU. Wakanda may be taking center stage for now, but there are a wealth of other characters who could generate just as much interest across social media, on Twitter especially. In the meantime, audiences should get ready to share their feelings and tweet hail to the (Wakandan) king.
RELATED: Black Panther Movie Character Guide
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