Marvel Studios considered introducing the fictional country of Wakanda much earlier than in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. Wakanda is one of the most prominent nations in the Marvel Universe, first appearing in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966 and created by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Although it's regarded as being the location of the world's largest stockpile of vibranium - the element Captain America's shield is comprised of - it's also home to the Black Panther family.
Wakanda is a staple of Marvel Comics, but it's only now making its debut on-screen - a decade after the Marvel Cinematic Universe took its first steps with Jon Favreau's Iron Man. The thing is, Wakanda was technically first introduced in Favreau's Iron Man 2 in 2010. It first appeared on a map that S.H.I.E.L.D. was using to track hotspots around the world. Then, in Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Steve Rogers tells Tony Stark that his father, Howard Stark, was believed to be the last person to leave the country with vibranium. And then, it all came together in Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: Civil War, when Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and John Kani's T'Chaka (King of Wakanda) joined the fold.
Although Wakanda is making its official debut in Coogler's Black Panther in February, producer Nate Moore told Screen Rant (and other attending journalists) during the film's set visit last year that there were discussions to bring the fictional country into the MCU much earlier on.
"We talked about it. And the truth was, there was so much to bite off that we didn’t want to waste it. We could have gone there a couple of times before. There were iterations of other scripts where we did go to Wakanda. But we didn’t want to tease it without a full idea of what it was going to be. We didn’t want to start locking into ideas without having a story or a filmmaker who had a full understanding of what the country was. All of those ideas fell to the wayside until we could spend a full movie on it."
Moore's comment about holding off on introducing Wakanda until they could give the nation the attention it deserves is an ideal choice given just how much history and culture the nation has, particularly its importance and influence in the overarching shared universe.
But now that Wakanda is officially joining the MCU, it will start to play an integral role. In 2016, the film's screenwriter, Joe Robert Cole, mentioned that Wakanda - arguably the most technologically advanced fictional nation in the world - will rise to prominence in the MCU and affect the shared universe going forward.
Audiences can already see that happening in the first trailer for the Russos' Avengers: Infinity War, in which the Wakandans and a handful of Avengers are shown charging into battle (presumably to protect the final Infinity Stone from falling into the hands of Thanos and his loyal Black Order).
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