Christopher Nolan’s version of Gotham City in The Dark Knight partially inspired the depiction of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther. While much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and Marvel Comics, for that matter) exists in real-world locations such as Los Angeles, New York, and London, a significant portion exists in fictional places such as Asgard, Sokovia, and of course, Wakanda. But that doesn’t mean they can’t appear somewhat real.
Even though the MCU continues to increase its number of cosmic stories, parts of the shared universe are still in some ways grounded in reality, thanks to films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Spider-Man: Homecoming. That’s something that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and his creative team wanted to emanate with their 2018 Marvel film – and it looks like they succeeded… but they took some inspiration along the way.
When asked about Wakanda’s real-world commentary on immigration and providing refuge for the impoverished, Coogler told Empire in a recent interview that it was something that they wanted to do because they wanted Wakanda to feel like it existed in the real world, which was partly inspired by Gotham City in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
“…I remember watching The Dark Knight and the film having commentary on privacy, commentary on terrorism. And that was all stuff that felt like it was of the now, so it made Gotham City feel like it was somewhere in the States. So I wanted Wakanda to feel like it was of the world. And with Daniel Kaluuya’s character [W’Kabi] is talking about is, I feel like it’s a conversation Wakandans would have if Wakanda was real. One rule we had was we didn’t want any dummies in this movie. Everybody in this movie had – wherever they stood on in terms of where they thought Wakanda should go, they should be able to articulate their point.”
One of the best thing’s The Dark Knight had going for it was that it felt real, that it could happen in the real world. It was a notion that Nolan specifically wanted to convey with his Batman trilogy. What’s interesting is that, while Wakanda feels real in some regards, especially because of its proper representation of African culture, it also feels alien because of all its technology. Still, producer Nate Moore agreed with Coogler in that they wanted Wakanda to feel real… not like Asgard.
“…I will say, Ryan, as a filmmaker, was very committed to making sure that Wakanda felt like a real place that could be in Africa, because the danger of creating any new world was that, for us – as a comparison, we didn’t want it to feel like Asgard. We didn’t want it to feel like an alien place that obviously couldn’t exist. We wanted it to feel like it could exist.”
Thanks to Black Panther‘s enormous success, Wakanda is a place that won’t be forgotten anytime soon; it also plays an integral role in this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War. And with T’Challa’s story only getting started on the big screen, it’s safe to say that he and Wakanda will be sticking around for a long time to come.
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