Black Panther filmmaker Ryan Coogler talks about the emotional process of bringing the movie to life. Marvel Studios will continue building its cinematic universe with the upcoming solo movie, which features one of the newer characters in the franchise, T’Challa. However, unlike previous debut films, this one has a more complicated premise as it also gets a bit political, with the introduction of the hidden country known as Wakanda and the dynamics of the different factions of people living in the fictional African nation.
First introduced in Captain America: Civil War, the MCU has already established some of T’Challa’s heritage and revealed how he took on the mantle of the Black Panther. However, as the character’s solo film dives deeper into Wakandan culture and politics, Coogler aims to make sure that the movie not only serves its purpose in the bigger MCU, but acts as a proper cinematic work of representation, especially for people of color.
Speaking at the Vulture Fest LA alongside A Wrinkle In Time filmmaker Ava DuVernay , Coogler touched on what audiences will be seeing in Black Panther, once it rolls out in February. In the same conversation, the Creed helmer also opened up about the production process of the movie and how emotional it was for him, knowing that he is manning this epic blockbuster that shines a light on diversity. He particularly cited a conversation between Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and his father, John Kani’s T’Chaka, both using the South African language of Xhosa as a specially poignant moment, as it suddenly hit him with just how important the movie will be when it comes to promoting diversity in Hollywood. As he put it (per Deadline):
“In our film, you find him at a time where he lost his father, the most important person in his life. He’s inheriting this incredible responsibility. He’s inheriting it at a time when Wakanda is struggling what its identity might be and the people have different ideas of what they should do. He’s incredibly conflicted but is aware of his responsibility of what to do.
Realizing that we were going to have this film where a father and son talk to each other in this native African language in a superhero movie — it hit me for a moment. It was emotionally moving. That was big one.”
The upcoming Marvel film is a big deal for a lot of people, as it continues Black Panther’s tradition of being one of the pioneering people of color to ever headline his own comic book run, and now his own film. Not only do the Black Panther trailers suggest the film is visually stunning, its cast is full of brilliant actors of color, further ensuring that Wakanda will come off as being a believable South African country, despite being a fictional one. Plus, with Coogler at the helm, it is safe to assume that the film will be a more accurate representation of African culture – something that a lot of movies and TV shows have botched over the years.
As for the reveal that there will be a conversation between T’Challa and his late father, T’Chaka, it will be interesting to see where this particular sequence factors in the movie. It could be a flashback or it could also be in a vision, as Black Panther looks to delve into mysticism, as much as it will tackle science and technology. After all, T’Challa has previously established that in Wakandan culture, “Death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping-off point,” so him connecting with his dead father is definitely not beyond the realms of possibility.
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