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Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T'Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a new adversary, in a conflict with global consequences.

Black Panther
Black Panther film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rachel Morrison
Edited by
  • Michael P. Shawver[1]
  • Claudia Castello[1]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • January 29, 2018 (2018-01-29) (Dolby Theatre)
  • February 16, 2018 (2018-02-16) (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200–210 million[3][4]
Box office $1.344 billion[5]

Wesley Snipes expressed interest in working on a Black Panther film in 1992, but the project did not come to fruition. In September 2005, Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Mark Bailey was hired to write a script in January 2011. Black Panther was announced in October 2014, and Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War (2016). By 2016, Cole and Coogler had joined; additional cast joined in May, making Black Panther the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April 2017, at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in 2D, 3D, IMAX and other premium large formats. The film received praise for its screenplay, direction, performances, action, costume design, production merits, and soundtrack, though the CGI effects received some criticism. Critics considered it one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance. It grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, and became the second-highest-grossing film of 2018, the third-highest-grossing film ever in the United States, the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, and the highest-grossing film by a black director.

Contents

Plot

Centuries ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a "heart-shaped herb" affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first "Black Panther". He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. The Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T'Chaka visits his brother N'Jobu, who is working undercover in Oakland, California. T'Chaka accuses N'Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N'Jobu's partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T'Chaka's suspicions.

In the present day, following T'Chaka's death,[N 1] his son T'Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract Nakia, T'Challa's ex-lover, from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe's leader M'Baku challenges T'Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T'Challa defeats M'Baku and persuades him to yield rather than die.

When Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a London museum, W'Kabi, T'Challa's friend and Okoye's lover, urges him to bring Klaue back dead or alive. T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea, where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T'Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross' custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda's international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is gravely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T'Challa takes Ross to Wakanda, where their technology can save him.

While Shuri heals Ross, T'Challa confronts Zuri about N'Jobu. Zuri explains that N'Jobu planned to share Wakanda's technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T'Chaka arrested N'Jobu, N'Jobu attacked Zuri, forcing T'Chaka to kill him. T'Chaka ordered Zuri to lie that N'Jobu had disappeared and left behind N'Jobu's American son, Erik, in order to maintain the lie. Erik became a U.S. black ops soldier, adopting the name "Killmonger". Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. Killmonger challenges T'Challa to ritual combat, in which he kills Zuri, defeats T'Challa and hurls him over a waterfall, where he is presumed dead. Killmonger ingests the heart-shaped herb and orders the rest incinerated, but Nakia extracts one first. Killmonger, supported by W'Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world.

Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid. They find a comatose T'Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M'Baku's life. Healed by Nakia's herb, T'Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit and commands W'Kabi and his army to attack T'Challa. Shuri, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje join T'Challa, while Ross remotely pilots a jet and shoots down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M'Baku and the Jabari arrive to reinforce T'Challa. Confronted by Okoye, W'Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda's vibranium mine, T'Challa disrupts Killmonger's suit and stabs him. Killmonger refuses to be healed, choosing to die a free man rather than be incarcerated.

T'Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N'Jobu died to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T'Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda's true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri helps Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

Cast

 
(L:R) Producer Kevin Feige, director Ryan Coogler, and actors Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Chadwick Boseman promoting Black Panther at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International.
  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther:
    The king of the African nation of Wakanda,[7][8][9] who gains enhanced strength by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb.[10] After the events of Captain America: Civil War, and the death of his father T'Chaka, T'Challa is in mourning while ascending to the throne.[7][11] Boseman, who called T'Challa an anti-hero,[12] said that he is "very much aware of [his] responsibility" as the leader of Wakanda.[13] Black Panther's suit that forms around his body was inspired by a similar design seen in Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther comic book run.[14] Boseman worked with the same dialect coach he had during Message from the King,[12] and worked with Marrese Crump to stay in shape between Civil War and Black Panther.[11] In preparing for the role, Boseman examined Shaka Zulu, Patrice Lumumba, speeches from Nelson Mandela, Fela Kuti songs, and talked to a Yoruba Babalawo, while also making two trips to South Africa. Boseman trained in Dambe, Capoeira Angola and Zulu stick fighting to prepare for the role, along with taking a DNA test to better understand his African ancestry.[15] He signed a five-film contract with Marvel.[16] Ashton Tyler plays a young T'Challa.[17]
  • Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka / Erik "Killmonger" Stevens:
    The son of N'Jobu, and a U.S. black-ops soldier who seeks to overthrow his cousin T'Challa.[18][19] Executive producer Nate Moore said Killmonger "has his own opinion on how Wakanda has been run and should [be] run".[20] Jordan, who had "been wanting to play a villain for a while",[21] likened Killmonger and T'Challa's relationship to the X-Men characters Magneto and Professor X.[22] He added that Killmonger is "very strategic, thoughtful. He's very patient. Very well skilled, trained to a T."[23] Killmonger's bumpy, ritualistic tribal markings on his chest and torso resemble the scar tattoos of the Mursi and Surma tribes,[24] and consisted of 90 individually sculpted silicone molds that took two-and-a-half hours to apply.[17] Jordan would have to sit in a sauna for two hours at the end of the day to remove the prosthetics.[25] Killmonger's dreadlocks hairstyle was a modern take on the character's long hair in the comics.[22] In preparing for the role, Jordan examined Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and Tupac Shakur.[15] Corey Calliet served as Jordan's trainer on the film, after also doing so on Creed.[26] Seth Carr plays a young Killmonger.[17]
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia:
    T'Challa's former lover and a War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda placed in other countries to complete missions.[20][27] She is from the River Tribe.[11] Nyong'o called Nakia a "departure" from her comic counterpart.[20] She begins the film fighting for enslaved women in Nigeria; Nyong'o learned to speak Hausa for certain scenes in the film. She also trained in judo, jujitsu, silat and Filipino martial arts.[11]
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye:
    An "extremely proud" Wakandan and traditionalist from the Border Tribe, who is the head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces of Wakanda, who serve as T'Challa's bodyguards.[28][29][30] When looking to cast Gurira, director Ryan Coogler had not seen The Walking Dead, in which Gurira portrays the popular character Michonne, and instead wanted her for the part because of her performance in Mother of George. Gurira said that the fighting skills she learned playing Michonne complemented the skills of Okoye, but that "there's a lot of ways that they're extremely different ... Okoye is a whole 'nother thing."[31] Gurira described the Dora Milaje as a secret service that is "also very much about intel. It's not just military", with Okoye the head of intel. Regarding Okoye's stoic demeanor, Gurira said, "She can be serious, but she also has an unexpected sense of humor. She has a heart, but for her country and for her people."[30] Gurira's head was re-shaved every day to have her head tattoos applied, which took two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours.[25]
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross:
    A member of the Central Intelligence Agency and former liaison of its Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force.[32][33] Freeman said that Ross "has an uneasy peace with T'Challa", and that he "goes on a strange journey, an enlightening journey to Wakanda".[32] Unlike his comic book counterpart, who mainly served as comic relief, Freeman and the filmmakers sought to turn this version of Ross into a more capable agent in terms of diplomacy and combat.[11][34]
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi: A confidant to T'Challa and his best friend, who is the head of security for the Border Tribe, serving as the first line of defense for Wakanda.[35][20]
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri:
    T'Challa's 16-year-old sister and the princess of Wakanda who designs new technology for the country.[36][11] Wright described her as "an innovative spirit and an innovative mind" who "wants to take Wakanda to a new place... [and] has a great fashion sense". Wright also felt Shuri was a good role model for young black girls.[36] Moore called Shuri the smartest person in the world, even more so than Tony Stark.[11]
  • Winston Duke as M'Baku:
    A powerful, ruthless warrior who is the leader of Wakanda's mountain tribe, the Jabari, who are in protest to T'Challa being the new king.[37] Duke described the Jabari as people who "strongly believe that to move forward, you have to have a strong adherence and respect for the past. So they have a deep moral conscience."[38] Character elements from Christopher Priest's 1998–2003 Black Panther series were adapted for M'Baku's portrayal in the film.[37] M'Baku is not referred to in the film by his comics alter ego "Man-Ape", since Marvel felt there were "a lot of racial implications that don't sit well" in having a black character dress up as an ape. This aspect of the character was instead reworked to have the Jabari tribe that M'Baku is the leader of worship the gorilla gods, with M'Baku still wearing elements of fur on his arms and legs and a chest-plate that hints at the gorilla. Moore continued, "Man-Ape is a problematic character for a lot of reasons, but the idea behind Man-Ape we thought was really fascinating [...] It's a line I think we're walking, and hopefully walking successfully."[37] To further differentiate the Jabari, Duke spoke a version of the Nigerian Igbo language rather than the Xhosa language spoken by other Wakandans.[17]
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda:
    T'Challa and Shuri's mother and Queen Mother of Wakanda.[39] Boseman noted that Ramonda "is one of the advisors that [T'Challa] would look to... for some of the answers of what his father might want or might do. She may not be exactly right all the time, but she definitely has insights."[20] Bassett wore a silver, waist-length wig for the role that was made from 120 pieces of hair hand-rolled into dreadlocks.[17] Calliet also served as Bassett's trainer, working with her before she began filming, and while she was on set, by creating high-intensity interval training circuits and helping to craft her diet.[26]
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri:
    An elder statesman in Wakanda, and the keeper of the heart-shaped herb.[20][35] Coogler called Zuri a religious and spiritual figure, and a way to reference the spirituality within Wakanda from the comics. He also added that Zuri "is a major tie back" to T'Chaka for T'Challa, and is "Black Panther's version of Obi-Wan Kenobi".[40] Denzel Whitaker, who is not related to Forest, plays a young Zuri.[19]
  • Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue:
    A South African black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster,[1][11][41] who is allied with Killmonger.[14][20] He uses a piece of advanced Wakandan mining equipment as a sonic disruptor arm-cannon, replacing his left arm, which he lost in Avengers: Age of Ultron.[42] Boseman described Klaue as a threat to Wakanda, one of the few outsiders to enter the country, and someone with access to vibranium, comparing him to Osama bin Laden.[43] Serkis added that in addition to his desire for vibranium, Klaue is motivated by a "personal" vendetta against T'Challa, and "to expose what he thinks is the hypocrisy of Wakanda".[44]

Additionally, John Kani and Florence Kasumba reprise their respective roles of T'Chaka and Ayo from Captain America: Civil War,[35][45] with Kani's son Atandwa portraying a young T'Chaka.[19] Sterling K. Brown plays N'Jobu, T'Chaka's brother and Killmonger's father, who is a War Dog sent to America.[46][19] Wakandan elders in the film include Isaach de Bankolé for the River Tribe,[47][17] Connie Chiume for the Mining Tribe,[48][17] Dorothy Steel for the Merchant Tribe, and Danny Sapani for the Border Tribe.[17] Sydelle Noel appears as Xoliswa, a member of the Dora Milaje,[49][50] with other members played by Marija Abney, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, Maria Hippolyte, Marie Mouroum, Jénel Stevens, Zola Williams, Christine Hollingsworth, and Shaunette Renée Wilson.[17] Nabiyah Be initially announced that she was playing criminal Tilda Johnson,[51] but her character was simply named Linda in the final film due to Gabrielle Dennis being cast as Johnson in the second season of Luke Cage.[52][53][17] Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee has a cameo in the film as a patron in the South Korean casino,[54][19] and Sebastian Stan has an uncredited cameo reprising his role as Bucky Barnes in a post-credits scene.[55]

Production

Development

In June 1992, Wesley Snipes announced his intention to make a film about Black Panther.[56] Snipes wanted to highlight the majesty of Africa, which he felt was poorly portrayed in Hollywood films, saying, "I think Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa."[57] He had begun work on the film by that August.[58] The next July, Snipes planned to begin The Black Panther after starring in Demolition Man,[59] and the next month he expressed interest in making sequels to the film as well.[60] In January 1994, Snipes entered talks with Columbia Pictures to portray Black Panther,[61] and Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee joined the film by March;[62] it had entered early development by May.[63] Snipes had discussions with several different screenwriters and directors about the project, including Mario Van Peebles and John Singleton.[57] When the film had not progressed by January 1996, Lee explained that he had not been pleased with the scripts for the project.[64] Snipes said that there was confusion among those unfamiliar with the comics, who thought that the film was about the Black Panther Party.[57]

We've yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It's a dream come true to originate something [like] that.

–Actor Wesley Snipes, who worked on early iterations of Black Panther[60]

In July 1997, Black Panther was listed as part of Marvel Comics' film slate,[65] and in March 1998, Marvel reportedly hired Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, who at the time were editors of the Black Panther comics under the Marvel Knights brand, to work on it.[66][57] However, Quesada and Palmiotti have denied that this happened.[57] That August, corporate problems at Marvel put the project on hold,[67] while the next August, Snipes was set to produce, and possibly star, in the film.[68] In May 2000, Artisan Entertainment announced a deal with Marvel to co-produce, finance, and distribute a film based on Black Panther.[69] In March 2002, Snipes said he planned to film Blade 3 or Black Panther in 2003,[70] and reiterated his interest five months later.[71] In July 2004, Blade 3 director David S. Goyer said this was unlikely, as Snipes was "already so entrenched as Blade that another Marvel hero might be overkill".[72]

In September 2005, Marvel chairman and CEO Avi Arad announced Black Panther as one of the ten Marvel films that would be developed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures.[73] In June 2006, Snipes said he hoped to have a director for the project soon.[74] In February 2007, Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, reiterated that Black Panther was on Marvel's development slate.[75] By July, John Singleton had been approached to direct the film.[76] In March 2009, Marvel hired writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, including Black Panther,[77] with Nate Moore, the head of the writers program, helping to oversee the development of the Black Panther film specifically.[78] In January 2011, Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for Black Panther, to be produced by Feige.[79] In October 2013, Feige said "I don't know when it will be exactly, but we certainly have plans to bring [Black Panther] to life some day", noting that the Marvel Cinematic Universe had already introduced the metal vibranium, which comes from Black Panther's home nation Wakanda.[80] There had been discussions of introducing Wakanda to the MCU as early as 2010's Iron Man 2, but this was put off until Marvel had "a full idea of what exactly that looked like".[11]

In October 2014, Feige announced that Black Panther would be released on November 3, 2017, with Chadwick Boseman cast in the title role.[8][9] Boseman did not audition before he was hired for the role, instead discussing what he wanted to do with the part with Marvel.[81] The actor was set to first portray the character in Captain America: Civil War, before starring in his own film.[9] Feige said that Marvel was considering minority filmmakers for the director and writer, but that they were focused on "looking for the best filmmakers, the best writers, the best directors possible. So I'm not going to say for sure that we're going to hire from any one demographic, but we're meeting a lot of people." He added that they had met with former Black Panther comics writer Reginald Hudlin.[82] In January 2015, Boseman said that the film was going through a "brainstorming phase", and he was looking at the different stories in the comics and how they may be merged for the film.[83] The next month, Marvel pushed back the release date to July 6, 2018.[84] In April 2015, Feige said he would be meeting with directors after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron at the end of the month, and that further casting was underway.[85]

By May 2015, Marvel had discussions with Ava DuVernay to direct this film or Captain Marvel.[86] In June, Feige confirmed that he had met with DuVernay alongside a number of other directors, and said that he expected a decision to be made by mid- to late 2015.[87] By early July, DuVernay had passed on directing the film, explaining that "Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they're fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me... [but] we had different ideas about what the story would be ... we just didn't see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later."[88] Later in the month, DuVernay expanded,

It was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it's really a marriage, and for this it would be three years. It'd be three years of not doing other things that are important to me. So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do? At one point, the answer was yes because I thought there was value in putting that kind of imagery into the culture in a worldwide, huge way ... a black man as a hero—that would be pretty revolutionary. These Marvel films go everywhere from Shanghai to Uganda, and nothing that I probably will make will reach that many people, so I found value in that ... [but] it's important to me that [my work] be true to who I was in this moment. And if there's too much compromise, it really wasn't going to be an Ava DuVernay film.[89]

By October 2015, F. Gary Gray and Ryan Coogler had been considered to direct the film,[90][91] though negotiations with Coogler had cooled,[91] and Gray had chosen to direct Fast & Furious 8 instead.[92] Joe Robert Cole, a member of the Marvel writers program, was in talks to write the screenplay,[93] and Marvel changed the release date once again, moving it to February 16, 2018.[94] By December, discussions with Coogler were reignited after the successful opening of his film Creed.[91] Feige described Black Panther as "a big geopolitical action adventure that focuses on the family and royal struggle of T'Challa in Wakanda, and what it means to be a king", while calling the film "a very important" link to Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.[95][96] He added that the film would be the first Marvel Studios production to feature a "primarily African-American cast".[96][97]

Pre-production

What's so great about Panther is he's a superhero who, if you grab him and ask him if he's a superhero, he'll tell you, 'No.' He sees himself as a politician, as a leader in his country. It just so happens that the country is a warrior-based nation where the leaders have to be warriors, as well, so sometimes he has to go fight.

Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther[98]

In January 2016, Coogler was confirmed as director,[99] and explained that he grew up reading comics, so Black Panther "is just as personal to me as the last couple of films I was able to make. I feel really fortunate to be able to work on something I'm this passionate about again."[100][101] In agreeing to direct the film after being "wooed" by Feige for months, Coogler insisted that he bring collaborators from his previous films to work on Black Panther, to differentiate the film from others in the MCU, that are often "shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people". This included Fruitvale Station cinematographer Rachel Morrison,[102] as well as production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson, who both worked with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[102][103] Discussing working in with the MCU while still creating "a Ryan Coogler movie", the director said,

What Marvel's doing ... is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that's a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. It's going to be my most personal movie to date, which is crazy to say, but it's completely the case. I'm obsessed with this character and this story right now, and I think it's going to be very unique and still fit into the overall narrative that they're establishing. I grew up as a comic book fan, and the same things used to happen in the comic books. You'd have Wolverine's books, and they'd be so much darker and more brutal than the X-Men books, but they'd still fit in when you open the pages of the X-Men book. It's new to movies, but it's not new to storytelling.[104]

 
Coogler promoting Black Panther at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International

In April 2016, Feige said that Coogler was working on the script with Cole, and that filming would begin at the "very beginning of next year".[105] Feige noted that Civil War laid "the groundwork" for T'Challa's morality, and established the "geopolitical landscape" that he would have to deal with on returning to Wakanda for Black Panther.[106] Civil War also introduced the Wakandan language, based on the Xhosa language. Boseman was taught Xhosa by John Kani, who portrayed T'Challa's father King T'Chaka in that film.[107] Lupita Nyong'o entered negotiations to star as T'Challa's love interest the next month,[27] and Michael B. Jordan also joined, in an undisclosed role, after previously working with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[18] Later in the month, Nate Moore, now serving as a producer on the film, stated that filming would occur in Atlanta, Georgia, with Marvel "definitely investigating shooting in Africa" as well.[78]

At San Diego Comic-Con International 2016, Nyong'o was confirmed for the film, in the role of Nakia, while Jordan's role was revealed to be Erik Killmonger. Also announced was Danai Gurira as Okoye. Coogler confirmed that filming would begin in January 2017.[28][29] In September 2016, Winston Duke was cast as M'Baku, a role that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II had also tested for.[108] The following month, Forest Whitaker was cast as Zuri and Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, with Florence Kasumba revealed to be reprising her role as Ayo from Captain America: Civil War.[35] Letitia Wright was also cast in an unspecified role.[109] Angela Bassett was cast as T'Challa's mother, Ramonda, in November,[39] and by January 2017, Sterling K. Brown was cast as N'Jobu.[46] At that time, Marvel received permission from the Oakland, California-based public transit agency AC Transit to use their logo in the film for the opening flashback sequence. The setting was chosen due to Coogler's Oakland roots.[110] Amandla Stenberg was also considered for a role in the film, before she ultimately declined to appear. Stenberg, who is bi-racial and light skinned, called the decision "really challenging" as she did not feel comfortable taking a role in the film from a dark-skinned actor saying, "it would have just been off to see me as a bi-racial American with a Nigerian accent [playing a dark-skinned African] just pretending that I'm the same color as everyone else in the movie."[111]

The production team was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Black Panther, who was writing the comic at the time, including Coates' poetic dialogue, the art by Brian Stelfreeze, and "some of the questions that it's asking".[98] Other runs of Black Panther in the comics that inspired the film include those by Jack Kirby, Christopher Priest (which Coogler felt most influenced the film), Jonathan Hickman, and Hudlin. Characters for the film were picked from throughout the comics, based on what worked best for the film's story.[38] Coogler had hoped to include Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter early in the process (before being told the character was unavailable to use in the film) because of a scene in Priest's run that had T'Challa fighting Kraven.[112] Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover made some minor contributions to an early draft of the script, which included developing the relationship between T'Challa and his younger sister Shuri.[113]

Design

The Maasai people of Kenya (top) inspired about 80% of the design of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda's all-female special forces (bottom).[25]

Cole called the film an historic opportunity to depict a black superhero "at a time when African-Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization". He added that it was important to root the themes of the film in the actual cultures of Africa, and that they would be working with experts on the region of Africa that Wakanda is supposed to be located in.[114] Elaborating on this, Cole noted that all the countries in Africa have "different histories, mythologies, and cultures [so] what we tried to do was hone in on some of the history, some of the cultural influences and then extrapolate out in our technology ... we wanted to root it in reality first and then build out from there".[7] Coogler compared the rarity of vibranium existing only in Wakanda to the real-life mineral coltan that can almost only be found in Congo.[115] He wanted Wakanda to feel like a country rather than just one city by featuring multiple tribes, each with their own cultures,[37] and created a project bible that listed each Wakandan tribe and their origins, which guided the design process. Special care was taken in all aspects of the design to create a futuristic look that was not alien,[11] as some of Jack Kirby's comic designs appeared.[116]

Beachler wanted to honor the comics with her designs, and then fill in the gaps with research concentrated on Sub-Saharan Africa, pulling inspiration from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, and Ethiopia,[117] as well as the designs of Zaha Hadid. Moore described this approach as a love letter to Africa.[11] Beachler looked at the architecture of existing tribes, and then tried to make them technologically advanced in a natural way rather than if Wakanda had been colonized.[117] She said that this combination of old and new was an important theme throughout the film, as well as circular motifs to signify the transmission of energy. Some of the older areas explored in the film include Warrior Falls, the City of the Dead, and the Hall of Kings, which are juxtaposed with the more modern Afro-punk style of the Golden City, the capital.[11] Rondavels were incorporated into the tops of Wakanda's skyscrapers, inspired by the look of mountains at Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.[117] Beachler created different sigils and architecture for each of the Wakandan tribes, with the Border Tribe inspired by Lesotho, the Merchant Tribe having a sigil based on Nigerian writing, and the Golden Tribe using a symbol for the sun found throughout Africa. Gorilla City, home to the Jabari Tribe, was originally set in a rain forest, but Coogler suggested that it be found up a mountain in snow.[11] Beachler based the written form of the Wakandan language seen throughout the film on an old Nigerian language. Beachler also worked on the vibranium technology used throughout the country, consulting with mining and metallurgy experts.[17] This included the vibranium mine where the substance is depicted as glowing blue rocks, before it is refined into the stainless steel look previously seen in the MCU. The film also adapts the kimoyo bead technology from the comics, and features sand-based technology. Beachler wanted all of the futuristic elements of the film to be consistent with projections of what real world technology may be like in 25 or 30 years, including the maglev and hovercraft technology used in vehicles. The Wakandan vehicles depicted in the film include a maglev train for carrying vibranium; the king's Royal Talon Fighter, which looks like a mask from the top and bottom; and the Dragon Flyer, inspired by the Congo peafowl.[11]

The majority of Beachler's sets were constructed on sound stages in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council, Shuri's design space, and the Hall of Kings. The Tribal Council set was built with a glass floor through which an old ruin can be seen. The exterior set for Warrior Falls was built on a backlot north of Atlanta, and was inspired by the Oribi Gorge. The set was 36 feet (11 m), made up of a 6 feet (1.8 m) high pool, and then 30 feet (9.1 m) high cliff faces that were designed to be extended to 100 feet (30 m) with visual effects. A framework for the cliffs was hand-sculpted from industrial styrofoam, with a system of tunnels built-in to the design to allow extras to climb up to different areas of the cliffs. The framework was then covered with 25,000 cubic feet (710 m3) of foam that was sculptured to match rocks found at Oribi Gorge. Six large pumps were used to fill the pool at the base of the set, and create a waterfall over the ledge at the bottom. The base of the pool was made from padding so stunts could safely be carried out on the set, but designed to look like rocks and to have enough grip that the actors would not fall over in the water. The set took four months to complete, and was used for two weeks of filming.[17]

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter referenced the Maasai, Himba, Dogon, Basotho, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka people in her designs for Wakanda.[118][119] She also examined appropriate works by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and American fashion designer Donna Karan.[119] Winnie Mandela provided inspiration to the costumes Carter created for Angela Bassett, while the Dora Milaje costumes primarily used red to reflect different African cultures, and included beaded tabards that feature talismans for "protection, good spirit, and good luck, and a sense of ownership, as if the costume could be handed down from mother to daughter". Carter specifically wanted to avoid the "girls in the bathing suits" look, and instead have the Dora Milaje wear full armor that they would practically need for battle. She also had to take the stunt work that the actors had to do into consideration.[11] Anthony Francisco, the Senior Visual Development Illustrator, noted the Dora Milaje costumes were based 80 percent on the Maasai, five percent on samurai, five percent on ninjas, and five percent on the Ifugao people from the Philippines. The arm band and neck rings were a reference to the Southern Ndebele people, which denotes stature. As such, Okoye has gold bands and rings to denote she is a general, compared to the other Dora Milaje wearing silver.[25] The costumes for T'Challa combined his role as king and as the head of the military, including combining a kente cloth cloak with military boots.[11] Carter also used distinct colors and patterns for each of Wakanda's tribes, such as green with shells for the River Tribe based on the Suri, blue with wood for the Border Tribe, and black with royal purple for the Black Panther and the Royal Palace.[11][25] The Merchant Tribe was clothed in plums and purples for the merchants in reference to the Tuareg, and ochre for the Mining Tribe, inspired by the Himba.[25] Three out of every five people in Wakanda go barefoot, which also influenced the costuming process. When the Wakandan characters are in other countries, their clothing looks "quite normal" but is intended to be consistent with their respective Wakandan designs.[11] Carter created 700 costumes for the film, working with "an army" of illustrators, designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more.[119] Hair department head Camille Friend referenced traditional African art, fabrics, hair, and textures, and the current-day natural hair movement in her designs. Friend strived to keep the hair natural, using "braids, locs and twists... extensions, [and] wigs". As with Carter, each tribe had their own identifiable hair aesthetic, such as the Jabari Tribe having "very straight, clean lines" with war-paint detail, inspired by Senegalese warriors.[25]

Filming

Principal photography had begun by January 21, 2017,[120] at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area,[121][122] under the working title Motherland.[123][124] Filming also took place in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood in Atlanta, which doubled as Oakland; the High Museum of Art, which served as the fictional Museum of Great Britain in London; and Atlanta City Hall, which served as a United Nations building.[121][125] Shortly after filming started, Kani's son Atandwa stated that he would appear in the film alongside his father, the latter reprising the role of T'Chaka,[45] while on-set photographs revealed that Martin Freeman would reprise his role as Everett K. Ross.[120] Marvel announced the start of production on January 26, along with confirming the casting of Freeman, Wright, and John Kani, and revealing that Andy Serkis would reprise his role as Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age of Ultron.[1][41] Atandwa portrays a younger version of his father's character, and also served as a cultural consultant during filming, along with dialect coach Beth McGuire who ensured there was continuity between the various actors who had to use "Wakandan accents".[17]

Jordan joined the production later than the rest of the core cast. He felt that this aided his performance, since his character is separate from and in conflict with the other characters. Because of this, Jordan kept to himself while he was on set.[11] It was revealed during a press visit to the film's set that the Dora Milaje would be widely explored in the film, which does not adapt the ceremonial betrothal aspect from the comics. Moore compared the politics and humor of the film to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, saying that the former would be inherent but not "preachy", and that the latter would be avoiding the tones of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. He added that the film does not depend on the plots of any other MCU films—and the character Bucky Barnes would not come out of cryogenic sleep during Black Panther after being frozen by Wakandan scientists at the end of Civil War—but the events of this film do affect the wider MCU moving forward.[11] Since Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War were filming simultaneously in Atlanta, both production teams worked together closely to ensure a unified presentation of Wakanda in the films, as the country also plays a large role in Infinity War.[122]

Additional filming took place in South Korea,[1] with the city of Busan serving as the setting of a car chase scene,[124] involving 150 cars and over 700 people.[126] Filming in Busan began on March 17, 2017,[127] with shooting occurring at the Jagalchi Fish Market,[128] and filming taking place by Gwangalli Beach on March 21.[127] Other filming locations included Marine City in the Haeundae District and at the Gwangandaegyo Bridge.[126] The production crew also hired hundreds of current and former film students from local universities as staff or assistant staff during the South Korea filming.[127] Filming in the country wrapped on March 27.[126] At CinemaCon 2017, Wright was revealed to be portraying Shuri in the film.[129] Location shooting also took place at the Rwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda,[130][131] while Marzano Films provided aerial footage of South Africa, Zambia, Uganda and South Korea.[132][131] Filming concluded on April 19, 2017.[103]

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who was eager to work on Black Panther because of the bond that she formed with Coogler on Fruitvale Station,[133] filmed in 3.4K ArriRaw with Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras and Panavision Primo lenses.[131] Morrison stated that she primarily used a two-camera set-up with a third or fourth camera on occasion. Morrison also said that lighting was her biggest challenge, the magnitude of which "was much bigger than I'd experienced before", and made extensive use of Arri SkyPanel LED light fixtures, which she could preprogram from an iPad. Morrison explained that she surrounded entire sets with SkyPanels and even "built an entire jungle on a sound stage".[133]

Post-production

At the end of June 2017, Sydelle Noel revealed she had been cast in the film as Xoliswa, a member of the Dora Milaje.[49][50] In July 2017, Moore said Black Panther would be a cross between The Godfather and the James Bond films as a "big, operatic family drama centered around a world of international espionage. So hopefully we're getting the best of both worlds."[20] Coogler added that the film was influenced by "the films of the '70s" such as the works of Francis Ford Coppola in that decade, as well as crime fiction. Coogler also watched the film A Prophet for inspiration.[134] Feige called the film's story "rich in culturally relevant ideas. These are conversations we were having two years ago because that is inherently the story within the comics. Now it's going to seem like the most highly fluid thing we could have done." Boseman also indicated there were parallels to "pull from" in the film in relation to Donald Trump becoming President of the United States after Barack Obama.[43] In January 2018, Coogler hinted at the inclusion of post-credit scenes.[134] Two are included, with the second featuring Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Bucky Barnes.[55]

Visual effects

 
Previsualization (top) and completed visual effects shot of Wakanda by Industrial Light & Magic (bottom)

Visual effects for the film were created by: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with help from Virtuos, Stereo D, and Scanline VFX; Double Negative; Luma Pictures; Mammal Studios; Method Studios; Perception; Rise Visual Effects Studios; Torm Studios; Trixter; Cantina Creative; Lola VFX; Capital T; Exceptional Minds; Technicolor VFX; Rodeo FX; Imageloom VFX; Anibrain; Method Pune; Bot VFX; Pixstone Images; Futureworks; Vertigo Visual; FX3X; and Yannix Thailand Co.[135][17] Previsualization was completed by Digital Domain and The Third Floor, while Perception also created the main title sequence for the film.[17]

ILM was primarily responsible for creating the digital urban environments of Wakanda. VFX supervisor Craig Hammack said, "African culture has symbology, color and richness and a certain amount of earthy material qualities that make things difficult to design as a futuristic city," which typically use lots of steel and glass. ILM looked to real life examples that blend modern architecture with natural environments like One Central Park in Sydney and modern African architecture like The Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala as influences. ILM also worked on some interior shots, extending Beachler's set, and the initial rhinoceros. For T'Challa's ancestral plane scenes, ILM worked on the nighttime scene first, having the sky reflect the Northern Lights, and worked hard to keep the sky visible in the daytime scene. ILM also added additional vibranium sand for the burial sequences to aid in the breathing of Boseman when filming, and added the flames when Killmonger burns the heart-shaped herb. Perception, which also did the main on-end title sequence that referenced the vibranium sand effect that ILM and other companies contributed through the film, also helped create Shuri's laboratory and the interface designs for the displays.[131]

Method Studios created much of the digital natural environments of Wakanda. Method built a 3,600 square kilometers (1,400 sq mi) landscape that is visible in various aerial shots in the film. VFX Supervisor Andy Brown said, "Looking out from the top of Mount Bashenga, you can see the rich diversity of African landscapes – it looks lush and jungle-like in one direction, and more like the plains and savannah in the other, so we had multiple ecosystems to tackle, but it really drives home the vastness of these shots." Method was also responsible for creating Black Panther's and Killmonger's digital suits, and many of the film's digital characters, vehicles, and weapons. They also worked on the final battle sequence, including crowd simulation. Method worked with the stunt coordinators in their motion capture sessions to give each Dora Milaje or Jabari fighter their unique fighting style. Brown noted that "In addition to randomizing the height, weight, and other characteristics of each fighter to add variance to the crowd, we had to incorporate more specific elements such as unique face tattoos for each Dora Milaje fighter and the signature hairstyles of the Jabari warriors." Method also worked on the vibranium mine, animating the gadgets in Shuri's laboratory.[131]

Luma Pictures worked on the Busan car chase sequence, digitally creating the Lexus cars featured in the sequence. Multiple digital versions of the same car were created, so the production could have the actual cars crash and do various stunts with them, with Luma then inserting the digital versions to augment them. Luma also created the sonic forces from Klaue's cannon, while Scanline VFX worked on digitally removing Serkis' left arm for the sonic cannon and the London museum heist sequence.[136]

Music

Ludwig Göransson was hired to compose the film's score by April 2017.[103] Göransson traveled to Senegal and South Africa to record local musicians to form the "base" of his soundtrack.[137] Kendrick Lamar produced the film's curated soundtrack, Black Panther: The Album, along with Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith. Coogler chose Lamar for the project because his "artistic themes align with those we explore in the film".[138] Three singles from the album were released throughout January and February 2018: "All the Stars",[138] "King's Dead",[139] and "Pray for Me".[140] Black Panther: The Album was released on February 9, 2018,[141] while a soundtrack of Göransson's score was released on February 16, 2018.[142]

Release

Black Panther had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018.[143] The premiere featured a purple carpet that was flanked by women dressed as the Dora Milaje, and was lit by futuristic lamps.[144] Coogler, the cast members, and other guests wore African clothing, to honor the African roots of the film, at the request of Marvel for attendees to wear "royal attire".[144][3] Ahead of the screening at the premiere, Coogler received an extended standing ovation before he announced the cast of the film.[144] Black Panther was released in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on February 13, 2018,[145] in South Korea on February 14, 2018,[146] and the United States on February 16, 2018.[94] In the United States, the film opened in 4,020 theaters,[147] with over 3,200 of those in 3D,[148] 404 in IMAX,[147] over 660 in premium large format, and over 200 D-Box locations. In addition, Black Panther was the first MCU film to be converted to ScreenX, a 270-degree wraparound format, that played in over 101 locations in eight countries.[148] The film opened in most of its markets in its first weekend of release and had a "cross-nation release" in Africa, a first for a Disney film.[145][115][130] It was originally scheduled to be released on November 3, 2017,[8] before moving in February 2015 to July 6, 2018 to accommodate Spider-Man: Homecoming.[84] In October 2015, it moved again to accommodate Ant-Man and the Wasp.[94]

Black Panther premiered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 18, 2018. The occasion marks the first public film screening since movie theaters were banned in the kingdom in the early 1980's, after ultraconservative religious standards were introduced in 1979. The ban was lifted in December 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of an effort to revamp Saudi society. The film premiered in a newly constructed 620 leather seat cinema, owned by AMC Theatres, in Riyadh's King Abdullah Financial District that was originally intended to be a symphony hall.[149][150] Disney's regional distributor Italia Film revealed that 40 seconds of the film had been removed, which was in line with cuts made to the film across the region. Awwad Alawwad, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture and Information, and Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, were in attendance for the premiere along with other diplomats and industry experts; no one from the cast or production team was in attendance.[151] The premiere also had men and women sitting together, a representation of the Saudi government's recently relaxed enforcement of laws banning co-mingling between unrelated men and women.[152] Black Panther screened for five days before Avengers: Infinity War premiered on April 26 in the kingdom.[150]

Marketing

Marvel debuted early footage and concept art from the film in April 2017, at a press event for several of the MCU Phase Three films. Kyle Buchanan at Vulture.com praised the cinematography, costume and production design, and focus on dark-skinned actors and characters, saying "Black Panther doesn't look like any of the other Marvel movies ... If this is what the future of superhero movies looks like, deal me in."[103] Feige believed the screened footage was the first time Marvel had shown raw dailies, a decision made because the company wanted to show off the film's cast (which Feige called "the highest-class cast we've had on a first movie") and diversity, even though editing for it had not yet begun.[153]

A teaser poster was released ahead of the first teaser trailer, which premiered during Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals.[154][155] Fans felt the poster was poorly photoshopped, and tweets mentioning it were only 27 percent positive, and 27 percent negative, according to CNBC's marketing technology firm Amobee.[156] The poster was also compared to a real-life picture of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton holding two gun spears.[154] The trailer received a much more positive response, with Peter Sciretta of /Film saying it was "nothing like I was expecting this movie to look like and that's refreshing".[157] io9's Charles Pulliam-Moore called the teaser "every bit as intense as you were hoping it would be" and "epic as hell".[158] Andrew Husband for Uproxx felt the single teaser "easily outshines Spider-Man: Homecoming's big-from-the-beginning marketing campaign".[155] Forbes's Scott Mendelson felt that "Black Panther has the chance to be a seminal event in the same way we're now seeing with Wonder Woman."[159] The trailer was viewed 89 million times in 24 hours,[160] and "dominated the conversation on social media for much of the night" over Game 4, being the top-trending item on Twitter.[156] The Hollywood Reporter noted that the teaser generated 349,000 Twitter mentions in 24 hours, also more than Game 4. The amount of mentions were second to the amount the Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser received.[160] comScore and its PreAct service noted over 466,000 new social media conversations for the film after the trailer released, the most for the week.[161] For the week ending on June 18, comScore and its PreAct service again noted social media conversations for the film, with over 33,000 new ones, the second-most for the week behind Spider-Man: Homecoming. The service also noted Black Panther produced a total of over 566,000 conversations to date.[162]

 
(L:R) Moderator Chris Hardwick, Feige, Coogler, and the cast of Black Panther at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

Costumes from the film were on display at D23 Expo 2017 and the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con.[163][164] Also in July, Marvel Studios unveiled a partnership with Lexus, with the 2018 Lexus LC being featured in the film.[165] A graphic novel, Black Panther: Soul of a Machine, was released in December 2017 from writers Fabian Nicieza, Geoffrey Thorne and Chuck Brown, with cover illustrations by Scott "Rahzzah" Wilson and Szymon Kudranski, in which Black Panther defeats a villain with the help of the Lexus LC 500.[165][166][167] Lexus also unveiled the 2018 LC Inspiration Series production car and a concept coupe dubbed the Black Panther Inspired LC.[167] Coogler, Boseman and other members of the cast presented exclusive footage of the film at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, which received a standing ovation from the audience.[168] The footage segued into a montage featuring Kendrick Lamar's song "DNA". Coogler called the lyrics "amazing" and both literally and culturally appropriate for the footage and film.[169] In September 2017, Coogler, Gurira, and Moore participated in a panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference, where exclusive footage from the film was also shown and met with a positive response.[115]

On October 16, 2017, a full trailer was released. Dave Trumbore for Collider felt it was "a killer trailer. It not only shows off a ton of action sequences, outrageous costume design, and comic book goodies for fans out there, it also brings an unmistakable sense of style that's all Black Panther's own."[170] Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter said the message of the trailer was clear: "this isn't like the other Marvel movies, this is something else".[171] BamSmackPow's Brendan Day said the trailer "does everything right", showing "a lot of cool imagery and action scenes without giving us much context or story points" and having unique music choices, featuring "BagBak" by Vince Staples and "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron.[172] Writing for Rolling Stone, Tre Johnson felt the trailer showed T'Challa as "someone with the arrogance of [John] Shaft, the coolness of [Barack] Obama and the hot-headed impulsiveness of Kanye West". He continued, "After decades of trying to nail the modern black superhero, we may finally be getting what we've asked for ... Coogler has set out to do something with the modern black superhero that all previous iterations have fallen short of doing: making it respectable, imaginative and powerful. The Afro-punk aesthetic, the unapologetic black swagger, the miniscule appearances from non-black characters – it's an important resetting of a standard of what's possible".[173] A few days later, Marvel Comics published a prelude tie-in comic focusing on one of T'Challa's first missions as the Black Panther around the time of Iron Man.[174]

The first College Football Playoff National Championship halftime show was organized by Disney for the 2018 championship game, with Kendrick Lamar performing to promote Black Panther: The Album, to release a new trailer for the film, and to begin selling tickets for the film's opening weekend.[175] Marvel again partnered with Lexus to create a commercial for Super Bowl LII. Promoting the 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport, it featured Boseman and Wright reprising their roles. The commercial was released on January 25, 2018, ahead of its airing during the Super Bowl.[176] According to RelishMix, the Lexus commercial had 4.3 million views on social media after it aired in the Super Bowl.[147] Marvel also partnered with British shoe manufacturer Clarks to create a variant of their Originals' Trigenic Evo shoe, inspired by the film.[177] By February 12, 2018, Black Panther had amassed more than 5 million tweets on Twitter globally, becoming the most tweeted about film of 2018,[178] after being a top film in 2017 as well.[179] Twitter also launched a custom emoji for the film, that appears when the hashtag #BlackPanther is used.[178] During New York Fashion Week at Industria Studios in lower Manhattan, designers Cushnie et Ochs, Ikiré Jones, Tome, Sophie Theallet, Fear of God, Chromat, and LaQuan Smith created custom pieces that were inspired by the film for an event titled "Welcome to Wakanda: Fashion for the Black Panther Era".[175][180] Nick Barose applied makeup for the event, while Rodney Cutler styled hair.[180] By mid-March 2018, the film became the most-tweeted about film of all time on Twitter, with 35 million tweets. Twitter noted the most used Black Panther-related hashtags were #BlackPanther, #WakandaForever, and #Wakanda, with the most discussed characters Black Panther, Killmonger, and Shuri. Additionally, the most-retweeted tweets about the film were Lamar's reveal of the soundtrack tracklist he curated, a video of kids trying to buy tickets using a Vincent Adultman-style trench coat disguise, and former First Lady Michelle Obama's praise for the film.[181]

Other marketing partners included PepsiCo and Unilever, which launched an arts program in urban areas to provide an opportunity for young people interested in film to be mentored by established artists. Brisk created an interactive Black Panther installation at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game weekend, which showcased nine Brisk labels created by emerging artists to promote the Creators Class program. These labels debuted on all Brisk packaging nationwide in late February. Lancôme highlighted a line of makeup that Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright used at the premiere of the film. Synchrony Financial worked with Coogler and Marvel to award the Ghetto Film School Fellows program with a $50,000 grant, with Coogler also visiting the school to speak to the students.[147]

Black Panther had the most expansive advertising budget and biggest line of merchandise of any Marvel non-sequel.[182] Deadline Hollywood estimated the marketing budget globally was $140 million.[4] In order to make the film "feel like a cultural event", Asad Ayaz, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Marvel films at Disney, said the marketing campaign was about "super-serving black moviegoers while also making it the broadest moviegoing event".[175] Disney and Marvel also created a "synergy program" with the College Football Playoffs on ESPN, the ABC's television series Black-ish, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, the Freeform series Grown-ish, and the Bravo franchise The Real Housewives.[147] Marketing in territories outside the United States by Disney was fairly uniform, with a few exceptions. In the Middle East, the focus was kept on Black Panther, rather than Boseman out of costume, as superhero films "just keep working" in the territory, according to Gianluca Chakra, Managing Partner of major regional Middle East distributor Front Row. For Asian territories, they also focused on Black Panther as well as the action in the film, a strong selling point for audiences there. A Wakanda exhibit was featured in malls in seven cities in China, along with displays showing Black Panther next to other established MCU characters. A special trailer was also created for the Chinese audience, with Boseman introducing himself and the character's connection to the other MCU films. Weibo attended the Los Angeles premiere of the film to take pictures and videos with the cast and crew in real time for China, the first time the company has partnered with a foreign studio for this type of engagement.[183]

Home media

Black Panther was released on digital download by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on May 8, 2018, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 15. The digital and Blu-ray releases include behind-the-scenes featurettes; audio commentary; deleted scenes; a blooper reel; an exclusive look at Ant-Man and the Wasp; and a featurette on the first ten years of the MCU.[184]

Reception

Box office

As of May 21, 2018, Black Panther has grossed $697.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $646 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.344 billion.[5] The $370.5 million earned worldwide in its opening weekend was the 15th-largest of all time.[185] It became the highest-grossing solo superhero film,[186] the third-highest-grossing film of the MCU after The Avengers and Age of Ultron,[187] and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time.[188] By its second weekend, the film earned $54.6 million globally from IMAX, which was the fastest Marvel film to reach the $50 million mark.[189] In its fourth weekend, the film surpassed $1 billion, becoming the fifth MCU film, sixteenth Walt Disney Studios film, and 33rd film overall to do so.[190] In March 2018, five weeks after the film released, Deadline Hollywood estimated the net profit of the film would be $461 million, accounting for production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs, with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from home media.[4]

Pre-sale ticket records

In December 2017, a survey from Fandango indicated that Black Panther was the second most anticipated film of 2018, behind Avengers: Infinity War.[191] Fandango reported that its first 24 hours of ticket pre-sales for the film were the largest ever for a Marvel film, surpassing Captain America: Civil War.[192] Two weeks ahead of its release, Fandango announced that the film outsold all previous superhero films at the same point in the sales cycle, breaking the record previously held by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[193] Additionally, Black Panther had the highest number of ticket pre-sales for any superhero film at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, after 18 days of sales. This was more than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the next closest film, which only had 72% of Black Panther's ticket sales in the same time frame.[194] AMC Theatres also revealed that the film was out-selling all previous Marvel films, with strong sales in both urban areas and suburban locations.[195]

Four days before its United States opening, IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster revealed that Black Panther had the most advanced IMAX ticket sales of any Marvel film. He added that it did not appear the ticket sales had peaked, stating that a film usually peaks 10 days before it opens, but Black Panther "feels like it's going to peak the day it opens".[196] Atom Tickets also revealed strong pre-sales for the film.[148] On February 15, 2017, Fandango announced that the film had the fourth-highest pre-sale tickets sold, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Rogue One. It also became the top pre-seller for a superhero film, beating Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for a film released in February, beating Deadpool, as well as for the first quarter of the year, beating The Hunger Games and Beauty and the Beast.[197]

United States and Canada

Black Panther earned $75.8 million on its opening day in the United States and Canada (including $25.2 million from Thursday night previews), and earned $242.1 million over the four-day Presidents' Day weekend,[147] which was the best Presidents' Day weekend opening,[198] the second-best four-day opening after Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($288 million) and best ever for an African-American director.[147] The Thursday night gross was the second-best for a MCU film, behind Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6 million), the second-best preview night for a non-summer release, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($27.7 million), and the best preview night for a February release, beating Deadpool ($12.7 million). $3 million of the Thursday preview gross came from IMAX, which was tied for the most with Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.[147] The total opening day gross was the third-highest for a superhero film, behind Age of Ultron ($84 million) and The Avengers ($80 million), the second-highest pre-summer release, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($81 million), and the eighth-highest opening day ever. The $50.6 million earned on Friday was the largest single-day gross for a solo superhero film and the largest single-day gross for a non-sequel film.[199] The $60.1 million earned on Sunday was the best single-day gross for a superhero film and the second best Sunday ever, behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($60.5 million).[147][198] The three-day total weekend gross of $202 million was the fifth-best three-day opening ever and the biggest opening for a pre-summer and February release. The film's $40.2 million gross on Monday was the best Monday gross of all time.[147] IMAX contributed $23.5 million to the opening weekend gross,[200] which was the best ever for a February release and any Marvel film, and the fourth-best opening ever. Speaking to the success of the film in its opening weekend, Anthony D'Alessandro of Deadline Hollywood said it was "summer box office records during the second month of the year".[147]

AMC Theatres also reported that Black Panther became the highest-grossing film in history at 33 of their locations after two days, earning more than other films have earned in an entire weekend.[201] They later stated that the film became the highest-grossing film in an opening weekend for 150 of their theaters, with 15 locations more than doubling their previous record and two tripling their previous record. Black Panther also had the second-largest Saturday and largest Sunday in AMC history, and had the second-largest opening weekend for the chain with 4.4 million admissions. Atom Tickets sold more tickets for Black Panther than any other superhero film.[200] Fandango's pre-sales accounted for 30% of the opening weekend gross, one of the largest box office shares for any film in Fandango's history.[202] The opening weekend gross surpassed early projections for the film. Early projections in December 2017 had it earning between $80–90 million,[203][204] which increased to $100–120 million by the end of January 2018,[205] and ultimately increasing again closer to the film's release, projecting it to earn $150–170 million or more.[206][207][145] Several other film studios projected the total could be as high as $180–200 million,[148] while Disney initially projected the film to gross around $150 million in its opening weekend.[145]

On the Tuesday after its opening weekend, Black Panther earned an estimated $21.07 million, which was the best pre-summer Tuesday ever, beating Beauty and the Beast ($17.8 million), the best Tuesday ever for an MCU film, beating The Avengers ($17.6 million), and the second-best Tuesday all time, after The Force Awakens ($37.3 million). Its five-day total of $263.2 million was still second to The Force Awakens ($325.4 million).[208] The $14.3 million earned the Thursday after its opening weekend was the best Thursday ever for a MCU film, beating The Avengers ($12.4 million). It also surpassed $300 million on Friday, becoming the fastest MCU film to reach that mark in eight days, once again surpassing The Avengers, which had reached the mark in nine days,[209] and tying The Last Jedi and Jurassic World.[210] It also became the MCU film with the highest first-week gross.[211]

In its second weekend, the film earned $112 million, which was a 45 percent decrease from its opening week. This percentage was the smallest decline in a second weekend for any MCU film and was described by D'Alessandro as "an amazing second-weekend hold". It was the second-best second weekend ever after The Force Awakens ($149.2 million) and the best second weekend ever for a Marvel film, beating The Avengers ($103 million). Over its second weekend, the film also surpassed $400 million for its total domestic gross, reaching the mark in ten days; this was the second fastest to reach that milestone, tied with Jurassic World behind The Force Awakens (eight days).[210] It became the highest-grossing film released in the month of February, surpassing The Passion of the Christ ($370.3 million).[212] IMAX also contributed $9 million to the weekend gross, bringing the domestic total to $36 million, which was the most for any MCU film.[210] By surpassing $400 million, Black Panther exceeded initial early projections for its total domestic gross.[213] By February 28, 2018, the film had earned $421.8 million, which made it the highest-grossing superhero origin film, surpassing Wonder Woman ($412.6 million).[214][215]

The third weekend at the box office saw the film remain the top grossing film, earning $65.7 million and having its total gross surpass $500 million becoming the second-highest-grossing MCU film; the $65.7 million was the third-best third weekend ever, behind The Force Awakens ($90.2 million) and Avatar ($68.5 million).[216] Black Panther remained the top film for the fourth straight weekend with an additional $41.1 million, which was the third-highest fourth weekend of all time, again behind The Force Awakens and Avatar. Black Panther remained number one in its fifth weekend, having the fourth-highest fifth weekend ever with $27 million. It became the first film to hold the number one spot at the box office for at least five weekends since Avatar, which led for seven weeks,[217] and the first February release to hold the top box office spot for five weekends since The Silence of the Lambs in 1991 and Wayne's World in 1992.[218] By surpassing $600 million, it became the seventh film ever to break that point, and the second fastest film to do so in 31 days, after The Force Awakens (12 days).[217][219] The film's sixth weekend saw it fall to number two at the box office, behind Pacific Rim: Uprising, while also becoming the highest-grossing superhero film ever.[220] The next weekend it fell to third, behind Ready Player One and Acrimony,[221] to fourth in its eighth weekend,[222] to sixth in its ninth weekend,[223] and to eighth in its tenth weekend.[224] However, in its eleventh weekend, Black Panther rose back to fifth place, in part because of the release of Avengers: Infinity War the same weekend.[188] The next weekend, the film placed seventh, earning $3.14 million from over 1,600 locations. D'Alessandro noted the gross from that number of locations indicated people were continuing to see Black Panther in conjunction with Infinity War.[225] Black Panther remained in the top ten in its thirteenth weekend, placing ninth.[226] Black Panther is the highest-grossing film of 2018 and the third-highest-grossing film of all time.[227]

Other territories

Outside the United States and Canada, the film opened in 48 territories in its first weekend and has earned $184 million,[185][198] opening at number one in most territories (and second in territories where Fifty Shades Freed performed better such as in Germany and Italy), and becoming the top February opening in many as well.[185][228] The film opened at number one in the United Kingdom,[228] where it had the best single day gross of 2018 so far and the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever.[185][228] In South Korea, where it also opened at number one, the opening day gross of $4.7 million was the second-best MCU opening and the best ever for February.[228] The $25.3 million it earned in its opening weekend was the fifth-highest Western release in South Korea. The other Asian markets that opened in its first weekend were also number one along with the biggest opening weekend of 2018 to date. The Latin America market also had all territories open at number one, and Black Panther was the best opening of 2018 in all except Argentina and Uruguay. It also was the highest-grossing opening of February of all time in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Paraguay. The African market saw the highest-grossing February opening of all-time in Bahrain, East Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and West Africa. South Africa also had the highest-grossing Saturday ever and the second highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. The Netherlands had the highest-grossing day ever for a superhero film and the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever.[185]

Other territories opening at number one included Australia, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine, and in France, Belgium, and Switzerland for the remainder of the opening weekend, after Fifty Shades Freed's top gross on Valentine's Day. Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia recorded the largest opening day ever for February,[228] while Malaysia was the third-highest MCU opening of all time and Indonesia had the third-largest opening weekend of all time.[185] In Hong Kong, the opening was the second-largest opening day in February, while Taiwan and Australia had the third-largest February opening.[228] IMAX accounted for $11.5 million of the opening weekend gross on 272 screens,[200] with Nigeria, Kenya, and Indonesia having the best opening weekend ever in the format, South Korea had the second-best opening weekend, and Angola, Belgium, Bahrain, France, Israel, Netherlands, and Argentina and the best IMAX opening ever for a Marvel film.[185] In its second weekend in 55 territories, the film earned $83.5 million and remained number one in most territories, including retaining the top spot in the Latin America market and becoming the top film in Germany. The West Africa region saw a 7% increase, which resulted in the biggest three-day weekend ever. In South Africa, the second weekend gross became the third-biggest three-day weekend ever, behind the first weekend gross and The Fate of the Furious. The film opened in Russia in IMAX, earning $1.7 million which was a February record in the country, while the opening in Vietnam ($2.5 million, including previews) was the fifth-highest opening weekend, and Trinidad had the biggest opening weekend ever ($700,000).[189]

In its third weekend in 56 territories, the film remained number one in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and all markets in Latin America,[229] while its opening in Japan was the top Western film for the weekend, the second overall.[229][216] IMAX contributed $713,000 to Japan's opening weekend, which was a record for a March opening and the fourth-highest Marvel IMAX opening ever. Black Panther also became the highest-grossing film of all time in West and East Africa, the fifth-highest-grossing film all time in South Africa, and the top MCU film in the Netherlands.[229] In its fourth weekend, Black Panther opened in China ($66.5 million), which was the fourth-highest MCU and superhero opening ever in the market. $7.3 million came from IMAX, which was the best-ever March opening weekend and the best-ever opening day for March in the territory. The film also remained at number one in the United Kingdom and the Latin America market except Argentina for the fourth straight weekend, as well as number one in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.[230] The film's fifth weekend saw it once again be the top film in South Africa for the fifth weekend, where it also became the highest-grossing film ever,[231] along with becoming the highest-grossing film in West, East, and southern Africa.[232] It also became the fifth-highest-grossing MCU film in other territories of all time.[231] Black Panther remained the top film in South Africa for a sixth weekend and became the highest-grossing superhero film ever in the Netherlands.[186] The film continued to be the top film in South Africa for a seventh week, where it also became the fourth best MCU film in the country,[233] and became the second-highest grossing MCU film in the United Kingdom in its eighth weekend.[234] As of April 8, 2018, the film's largest markets were China ($104.6 million), the United Kingdom ($67.7 million), and South Korea ($42.8 million).[234]

Critical response

The performances of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Letitia Wright (L to R) were widely praised by critics.[235]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 97% based on 374 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories—and introducing some of its most fully realized characters."[236] As of February 18, 2018, it is the best-reviewed live-action superhero film on the site, beating The Dark Knight and Iron Man (both 94%).[237] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 88 out of 100, based on 55 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[238] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, the second superhero film to receive that grade after Marvel's own The Avengers. Filmgoers polled by Screen Engine/comScore's PostTrak service gave the film a 92% overall positive score and a 88% "definite recommend", with a third of people planning to see the film again.[147][210] RelishMix reported that Twitter hashtags for #BlackPanther and tagging of the film's Twitter account from audiences leaving the theater set an all-time film record in its opening weekend, with 559,000 unique posts in one day. This was twice the number The Last Jedi received in December 2017, with 232,000, while 100,000 posts for a film is average.[147]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The actors are all seen to very good advantage. Boseman certainly holds his own, but there are quite a few charismatic supporting players here keen to steal every scene they can – and they do, notably the physically imposing Jordan, the radiant Nyong'o and especially Wright, who gives her every scene extra punch and humor."[239] Peter Debruge of Variety said, "Black Panther celebrates its hero's heritage while delivering one of Marvel's most all-around appealing standalone installments to date."[240] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called Black Panther "a jolt of a movie", and said, "in its emphasis on black imagination, creation and liberation, the movie becomes an emblem of a past that was denied and a future that feels very present. And in doing so opens up its world, and yours, beautifully."[241] Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times said, "With dialogue that deftly explores serious questions, such as how much if anything do wealthy countries owe the poor and oppressed of the world, Black Panther draws energy from Coogler's sense of excitement at all he's attempting. The result is a superhero movie that's worth seeing twice, and that is a rare sighting indeed."[242] Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, called the film "one of the best superhero movies of the century" and said, "If you appreciate finely honed storytelling with a Shakespearean core; winning performances from an enormously talented ensemble; provocative premises touching on isolationism, revolution and cultures of oppression, and oh yeah, tons of whiz-bang action sequences and good humor – then you should see Black Panther."[243]

Brian Truitt of USA Today awarded the film four out of four stars, and called it Marvel Studios' best origin film since Guardians of the Galaxy. Truitt also praised the "superb cast" and stated, "While the themes are deep, Black Panther is at the same time a visual joy to behold, with confident quirkiness, insane action sequences and special effects, and the glorious reveal of Wakanda, whose culture is steeped in African influences but which also offers a jaw-dropping look at what a city of the future could be."[244] Also giving the film four stars, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "[un]like any other Marvel movie – an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it".[245] Natasha Alford of The Grio said, "Black Panther is remarkable because this film is a movement, a revolution in progress, and a joy to experience all wrapped into one", and called it "a master class in what it means to be proud of who you are, where you have been and where you and your people are going."[246] Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds said Marvel "created a masterpiece with Black Panther", adding, "it's afro-futuristic and Blackity-black as hell. It's everything I've ever desired in a live-action version of this popular superhero and yet so much more. Quite frankly, the experience is indescribable."[247] Jamelle Bouie of Slate said, "it is fair to say that Black Panther is the most political movie ever produced by Marvel Studios, both in its very existence... and in the questions its story raises." He added that the film should be included with Superman, Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight as films in the superhero genre that do not "transcend the genre as much as they embrace it in all its respects". Bouie concluded, "Black Panther could have been just another Marvel romp—a fun but ultimately disposable entry in the studio's catalogue. But Ryan Coogler and company had the power, and perhaps the responsibility, to do much more. And they did."[248]

Black representation and analysis

In early January 2018, New York resident Frederick Joseph created a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to raise money to help children of color at the Boys & Girls Club in Harlem see Black Panther.[249] Joseph called the release of Black Panther a "rare opportunity for young students (primarily of color) to see a black major cinematic and comic book character come to life. This representation is truly fundamental for young people, especially those who are often underserved, unprivileged, and marginalized both nationally and globally."[250] The campaign exceeded its goal, and given the popularity of its intent, Joseph asked others to create their own campaigns in their own communities to take more children to see the film, which he named the "Black Panther Challenge".[249] GoFundMe created a centralized page for anyone wishing to create a campaign for the challenge,[251] and revealed that 10 campaigns created using the sign-up page would receive a $100 donation from GoFundMe.[252] Over 400 additional campaigns were started around the world,[147] with many celebrities offering their support and contributions to the campaigns,[249] such as actress Octavia Spencer, who intended to buy out a theater in Mississippi for underserved members of the community.[253] Obi Umunna, a Jacksonville, Florida-based attorney born to Nigerian immigrants, participated in the challenge, saying, "I just want for kids in my community to have the same opportunity and to see this movie... I think this is an awesome opportunity for them to see themselves represented in a very positive light... compared to some of the negative images that you see on a daily basis."[254] The campaign became the largest GoFundMe in history for an entertainment event and raised over $400,000.[147]

Science & Entertainment Exchange Director for the National Academy of Sciences Richard Loverd felt the film would increase interest in science, technology, and Africa for young black Americans, similarly to how The Hunger Games films and Brave sparked girls' interest in archery.[115] Jamie Broadnax, editor-in-chief and creator of the website Black Girl Nerds, felt Black Panther would "bring in a lot of people [of color] who don't even really go to comic-book movies... [since] they're going to see themselves reflected in a huge way that they just haven't been able to see before",[255] especially since the film avoided black pain, suffering, and poverty, usual topics in films about the black experience.[179] She added that the strong female characters, such as Shuri, would be an inspiration for girls and young people.[255] Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African American Film Critics Association, added that the film was "critically important" and "a gate-opener opportunity for other black-centered projects".[255] Child development expert Deborah Gilboa felt the film would make a huge impact on children's spirits, by offering positive role models and knowing that "not only can they succeed, they need to see that lots of people want to sit in a theater and watch someone like them succeed in a big, big way. That's how we help build a generation of young people who are engaged in the greater good and courageous in their actions."[250] In the film's opening weekend, 37% of audiences in the United States were African-American, according to Screen Engine/comScore's PostTrak service, compared to 35% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, and 5% Asian.[147] This was the most diverse audience for a superhero film ever, where African-Americans generally make up 15% of audiences for such films.[175] In its second weekend, demographics were 37% Caucasian, 33% African American, 18% Hispanic and 7% Asian.[210]

Writing for Time, Jamil Smith felt Black Panther, which he described as a film "about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world", was "poised to prove to Hollywood that African-American narratives have the power to generate profits from all audiences. And, more important, that making movies about black lives is part of showing that they matter." He added, "In the midst of a regressive cultural and political moment fueled in part by the white-nativist movement, the very existence of Black Panther feels like resistance. Its themes challenge institutional bias, its characters take unsubtle digs at oppressors, and its narrative includes prismatic perspectives on black life and tradition."[256] Discussing why the film was a defining moment for black America in The New York Times Magazine, Carvell Wallace said that in contrast to earlier black superhero films, Black Panther "is steeped very specifically and purposefully in its blackness". He continued, "Black Panther is a Hollywood movie, and Wakanda is a fictional nation. But coming when they do, from a director like Coogler, they must also function as a place for multiple generations of black Americans to store some of our most deeply held aspirations. We have for centuries sought to either find or create a promised land where we would be untroubled by the criminal horrors of our American existence." Wallace also commented on how the film fits into the larger idea of Afrofuturism, particularly in its presentation of Wakanda.[179] Historian Nathan D. B. Connolly felt Black Panther was "a breakthrough in black cultural representation. It's a powerful fictional analogy for real-life struggles. And Black Panther owes its very existence to centuries of political and artistic activity, always occurring in real places and under the mortal (but still super-) powers of real people... Black Panther taps a 500-year history of African-descended people imagining freedom, land and national autonomy." Connolly also felt, culturally, the film would be this generation's A Raisin in the Sun.[257]

A number of writers looked to the film's subtext and what it said about African history, colonialism (including post-colonialism and neocolonialism), and tensions between African and African-American cultures. Patrick Gathara, writing in The Washington Post, described the film as offering a "regressive, neocolonial vision of Africa", which – rather than a "redemptive counter-mythology" – offers "the same destructive myths". Gathara highlighted the Africa that is portrayed as being divided and tribalized, with Wakanda run by a wealthy and feuding elite, centered upon "royalty and warriors", whose fortune comes not from its citizens' endeavors, skill or innate abilities, but from a "lucky meteor strike", and as a country which, despite its advanced technical abilities, does not evince any great thinkers, nor even a means of succession beyond lethal combat and primeval trials of strength. Gathara continued that the very idea of "Africa" is essentially of European creation, and concluded that "Despite their centuries of vibranium-induced technological advancement, the Wakandans remain so remarkably unsophisticated that a 'returning' American can basically stroll in and take over, just as 19th-century Europeans did to the real Africa ... [The film] should not be mistaken for an attempt at liberating Africa from Europe. Quite the opposite. Its 'redemptive counter-mythology' entrenches the tropes that have been used to dehumanize Africans for centuries. The Wakandans, for all their technological progress, still cleanly fit into the Western molds, a dark people in a dark continent".[258]

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) writing in HuffPost saw the film and its comic origins as "address[ing] serious political issues concerning Africa's relationship to the West that is very rarely given the serious attention that it deserves". Wakandans are "at times portrayed as being very suspicious towards outsiders, to the point of almost being xenophobic" and "no outsider can truly be trusted" with its security. He concludes that while the country is fictional, "the politics ... are very real. The end of colonialism did not end Western tampering in Africa's politics. We see this issue still going on in Africa today ... The Black Panther movie offers an opportunity to explore this issue of neo-colonialism and its continued impact on Africa's development".[259] Carlos Rosario Gonzalez of Bam! Smack! Pow!, noting the struggle between T'Challa and Killmonger, saw "two very distinct philosophies collide... what it means to be African and conversely, what Africa means to Afro-minorities today", and described the film as exploring these themes "through the lens of colonialism". In this view, Wakanda represents Africa without Western colonialism, and Killmonger shows us that "we can sometimes inevitably become what we seek to destroy ... With Wakanda's resources in his fingertips, Killmonger want[s] to become the new colonizer; a colonizer of the West ... In the end, Wakanda's conservative ways created the very problem that sought to destroy them, Eric [sic] Killmonger".[260] Jelani Cobb, writing in The New Yorker, discussed the divide between Africans and African-Americans, which he called a "fundamental dissonance". He felt T'Challa and Killmonger represented "dueling responses to five centuries of African exploitation at the hands of the West. The villain, to the extent that the term applies, is history itself". Cobb added, "nothing in Marvel's collection of films is or could be political in the same way as Black Panther, because, in those other stories, we were at least clear about where the lines of fantasy departed from reality." The film "exists in an invented nation in Africa, a continent that has been grappling with invented versions of itself ever since white men first declared it the 'dark continent' and set about plundering its people and its resources."[261]

By contrast, James Wilt, writing for Canadian Dimension, stated that "at its core, Black Panther contains a fundamentally reactionary understanding of black liberation that blatantly advocates respectability politics over revolution, sterilizes the history of real-life anti-colonial struggles in Africa and elsewhere, and allows white folks such as myself to feel extremely comfortable watching it". Wilt considered the scene where Ross is portrayed as "the hero" for shooting down the Wakandan ships attempting to leave as the film's way of endorsing the crushing of armed revolt against oppression, and in particular, "it helped solidify the message that violence is perfectly fine, so long as it's not directed against white people."[262] Wilt also wrote, concerning the villain Killmonger, that "all the most hideous traits imaginable are downgraded on to [him], making the only major African-American character and agitator for revolution a manic killer consumed by rage and violence", which is a common trope.[262] Russell Rickford of Africa is a Country agreed with Wilt's assessment of Killmonger, whose role as a character is "to discredit radical internationalism" and reproduce "a host of disturbing tropes".[263] Faisal Kutty from Middle East Eye felt the film had underlying Islamophobic themes, such as in the beginning of the film where Islamic characters are depicted as villains by showing a group based on Boko Haram that kidnapped several girls and forced them to wear hijab.[264]

Christopher Lebron, in a piece for Boston Review, saw Black Panther as "racist". He observed that black Americans who had been left in poverty and oppression, as exemplified by Killmonger, were still being "relegated to the lowest rung of political regard" in the film, treated as less deserving of empathy and less capable of their acts being deemed heroic, than even Ross' white spy. Lebron felt that T'Challa could have shown himself a good person by "understand[ing] that Killmonger is in part the product of American racism and T'Chaka's cruelty" and by "realiz[ing] that Wakanda has been hoarding resources", and could have agreed that justice sometimes requires violence as a last resort against oppression. He comments rhetorically on this, "After all, what else do comic-book heroes do but dispense justice with their armored fists and laser rifles"? Instead, T'Challa stays silent despite Killmonger's description of the oppression suffered by his fellows around the world, until eventually Killmonger allows himself to die. He summed up by commenting that "In 2018, a world home to both the Movement for Black Lives and a president who identifies white supremacists as fine people, we are given a movie about black empowerment where the only redeemed blacks are African nobles. They safeguard virtue and goodness against the threat not of white Americans or Europeans, but a black American".[265]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2018 Saturn Awards Best Comic-to-Motion Picture Release Black Panther Pending [266]
Best Actor in a Film Chadwick Boseman Pending
Best Actress in a Film Lupita Nyong'o Pending
Best Supporting Actor in a Film Michael B. Jordan Pending
Best Supporting Actress in a Film Danai Gurira Pending
Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Film Letitia Wright Pending
Best Film Director Ryan Coogler Pending
Best Film Screenplay Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole Pending
Best Film Production Design Hannah Beachler Pending
Best Film Editing Michael P. Shawver, Claudia Castello Pending
Best Film Music Ludwig Goransson Pending
Best Film Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter Pending
Best Film Make-Up Joel Harlow, Ken Diaz Pending
Best Film Special / Visual Effects Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, Dan Sudick Pending
Billboard Music Awards Top Soundtrack Black Panther: The Album Nominated [267]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Movie of the Year Black Panther Pending [268]
Best Actor Chadwick Boseman Pending
Best Hero Pending
Best Villain Michael B. Jordan Pending
Best Scene Stealer Letitia Wright Pending
Best Fight Chadwick Boseman vs. Winston Duke Pending
Best On-Screen Team Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright Pending
Golden Trailer Awards Best Action "Crown" Pending [269]
Best Action TV Spot "Entourage: 60" Pending
Best Music TV Spot "Women of Wakanda" Pending
Best Sound Editing in a TV Spot "Team" Pending
Best Billboard "Arclight Motion Billboard" Pending
Best Radio / Audio Spot "Just Getting Started" Pending
Best Wildposts (Teaser Campaign) "Character Series" Pending
BET Awards Best Movie Black Panther Pending [270]
Best Actor Chadwick Boseman Pending
Michael B. Jordan Pending
Sterling K. Brown Pending
Daniel Kaluuya Pending
Best Actress Lupita Nyong'o Pending
Letitia Wright Pending
Angela Bassett Pending
Album of the Year Black Panther: The Album Pending

Future

With the release of Black Panther, Feige said "there are many, many stories to tell" about the character, and that he wanted Coogler to return for any potential sequel.[271] Coogler added that he wanted to see how T'Challa would grow as a king in future films, since his reign only began recently in the MCU, while in the comics, he has been king since childhood.[272] In March 2018, Feige added there was "nothing specific to reveal" in terms of a sequel, but that there "absolutely" were "ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one".[273]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Strom, Marc (January 26, 2017). "Marvel Studios Begins Production On 'Black Panther'". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Black Panther (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Setoodeh, Ramin (February 5, 2018). "Chadwick Boseman and Ryan Coogler on How 'Black Panther' Makes History". Variety. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 17, 2018). "'Black Panther' Poised For $460M+ Profit; Faith-Based 'I Can Only Imagine' Surprises With $15M+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018. 
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