Black Panther has left the nation of Wakanda in a place of transition. For 10,000 years, the secretive and highly advanced African country has kept to itself, intentionally isolated from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, though, King T'Challa has brought about a massive change; he's insisted that Wakanda has a duty to reach out to the rest of the world. That decision looks set to land Wakanda straight in Thanos's line of fire; the entire third act of Avengers: Infinity War will be set in Wakanda.
But some of T'Challa's other decisions will no doubt have caused some difficulty for Wakanda. Take, for example, the fact he's allowed The Winter Soldier - now known as the White Wolf - to stay in the country. Even Steve Rogers recognized that to be a risky call; the Winter Soldier is one of the world's most wanted. Should the world learn he's in Wakanda, T'Challa would be dealing with a full-on invasion. And yet, after Shuri frees Bucky from Hydra's brainwashing, T'Challa seems to have allowed the ex-assassin to live with the Border Tribe.
That causes a real problem for Danai Gurira's Okoye, T'Challa's general and leader of the Dora Milaje. In our visit last June to the set of Avengers: Infinity War, Gurira explained that her character remains deeply wary of outsiders.
"She hasn’t been excited about outsiders. You’ll see more that. You’ll see that in a very clear way in the movie. Outsiders, they threaten what they’ve tried build up, but that’s the big question: Do we isolate or do we open up? It’s an interesting thing that’s highly relevant to what we’re dealing with in various parts of the Western world, but it’s from an African perspective, so it’s really interesting."
According to Gurira, Okoye will have a difficult transition when it comes to embracing T'Challa's way. "There are other characters who are more ready to do it," Gurira explained. "She's not ready."
Naturally, to Okoye the Winter Soldier will be a particularly significant threat. After all, he's one of the world's most skilled assassins; should Shuri's technology have failed, he'd be perfectly positioned to launch an assassination attempt upon T'Challa himself. For all that's the case, though, Gurira teases that Okoye isn't particularly worried. "He's one guy," she notes. "He's one guy, so he's manageable. She's thought it through. She knows how to disarm that arm." It seems Okoye is content that, should the need arise, she'll be able to deal with the Winter Soldier.
Gurira's chain of logic hints that Okoye will be left more than a little out of her depth in Infinity War. The film will see the combined might of the Avengers arrive in Wakanda. Disturbingly, that includes Bruce Banner; Wakanda will remember the havoc he wreaked in Johannesburg back in Avengers: Age of Ultron. As leader of the War Dogs and the Dora Milaje, Okoye will look at Bruce Banner as a particularly dangerous potential threat.
It's certainly exciting to see that some of the concepts and themes from Black Panther will resonate on into Infinity War. Gurira seems to imply that her character is on an arc, one that was subtly launched in Black Panther but will continue on - and reshape the entire nation of Wakanda.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018