Out February 16th is Marvel’s “The Black Panther.” The producer (Kevin Feige), director (Ryan Coogler) and the cast (including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis) gathered to discuss the conception, relevancy and visuals of the film.
Chadwick Boseman spoke on how the presence of different generations and family ties plays out in the film:
Chadwick Boseman: “I think when you talk about Wakanda and what it is and what it would have to be to progress to the place that we saw, even though we’re talking about a fantasy, the idea of an unconquered nation that has not been tampered with … the idea that the next generation being better, being smarter than you is an idea that you would have evolved to…. You want your sons and daughters to be better than you were…. I know you’re looking up to me, but we’re looking up to you. That is an African concept.”
The overwhelming majority of the characters in “The Black Panther” are black, and there is a far greater number and diversity of female characters than typical for a Blockbuster film. The panel spoke on the impact of that representation:
Michael B. Jordan: “I couldn’t describe that feeling before actually sitting down to watch that film. And seeing yourself on screen, not me personally, but people that look like you empowered and having those socially relevant themes. But in a movie that you want to sit down and watch and enjoy that Marvel does so well.”
Angela Basset: “In African culture they feel as though there is no king without a queen and I think in this story, it highlights the queen: the warrior, the general, the young sister.”
Despite playing out primarily in a fictional nation, the film’s themes and conflicts are relevant and prevalent in current dialogue. The producer and members of the cast spoke to that timeliness and significance of the film.
Kevin Feige: “Ryan wrote this, for the most part, a year and a half ago, two years ago, so things have happened in the world that make the film more relevant. There are other things in the film that have been relevant for centuries.”
Danai Gurira: “[Being Zimbabwean-American] you see the power and the potential of where you’re from, but you see how skewed its viewed by the world, and how misrepresented it is, and how distorted it is or recevied by the world so often…. It’s so different, it subverts things that we have seen forever around the continent that we see around the continent–we see beauty, we see power, we see potential, we see ability, we see resources–but they’re never exhibited. and then to put it on a Marvel epic scale of exhibition, it really salves wounds in a really deep way.”