While Black Panther may feel like a blockbuster without precedent, producer Nate Moore says the film will take inspiration from James Bond and The Godfather. The MCU has visited other countries and had entire films set on alien worlds, but most of the action on Earth has been situated in the United States. Similarly, the comics generally stick to this area - specifically, New York - except in a few big circumstances. Chief amongst those deviations are Black Panther stories, which dive into the surreal kingdom of Wakanda. But aside from the fictional realm, the comics also explore the otherwise-unvisited Africa.
Black Panther will do for superhero films what the comics have, introducing a striking new world set within a real one most Western audiences are unfamiliar with. But the movie's plot will also see character's like T'Challa and Nakia head to other countries to tackle specific missions. We've heard this will ensure Black Panther has a 007 vibe, but that won't be the only cinematic touchstone for the upcoming Marvel movie.
During our set visit to Black Panther, Screen Rant got to hear from producer Nate Moore about the themes of the film and how the villainous Erik Killmonger would fit into things as an outsider. For Moore, both the James Bond franchise and The Godfather offer examples of how Black Panther will deal with both its politics and setting:
"Yeah, I think for Killmonger it’s… Again, the interesting comparison we’ve been making, and this is going to sound crazy, but we’ve always thought of “Black Panther” as a James Bond kind of movie, right? Sort of this big globetrotting epic. But in talking with Ryan Coogler, the director, one of the ideas he also liked was this sort of Godfather-kind of story. When I say Godfather, it’s the idea that it’s very much a story about family and a story about an organization where new leadership is taking place. And much like the Godfather, you have to fight for things, right? And they’re all vying for power and in this case, it’s power over Wakanda. I think Killmonger sees Wakanda as something that could be used differently than it currently is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that puts him directly at odds with T’Challa."
The Godfather provides an example of how Black Panther will see T'Challa return to his country and attempt to rule after the death of his father. But with the new king lacking experience and the former ruler having opened the reclusive Wakanda to the wider world, multiple factions will be vying for the throne - and the king's head.
As for the 007 comparison, Moore sees that not only the spy missions of Nakia but in the global setting of the film. While Black Panther will spend plenty of time in Wakanda, it will also continue exploring the larger world of the MCU:
"You get to go around the world a little bit. We thought that was important. Again, sort of in our James Bond comparison we wanted it to feel like it did have some scope and wasn’t just a movie that was set in Wakanda. Not that Wakanda isn’t fascinating and not that we couldn’t explore that forever, but it did want to feel like a movie that had ramifications beyond the borders. So you do get to be outside of the country as well as explore the country."
We know Africa and South Korea will both factor into the movie, but there's no telling where the plot will go beyond those locations. Indeed, we recently learned that Black Panther may go to space, so globetrotting might not be enough to describe the movie's scope. As Moore points out, however, Wakanda and Africa will still remain the film's central focus. The minds behind the film even used a real African language for Black Panther along with borrowing from different cultures for the costumes and customs that will be seen on screen. In the end, Black Panther may prove the perfect mix of fantasy and reality, albeit one many audiences will still find otherworldly.
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