I was given a chance to catch a special advanced screening of the much anticipated Black Panther movie (thank you, Vinny and Koji!), and I must say, I loved every inch of it! Now, don’t you worry, I’m not going to post too much spoilers here, but what I will do is to list down 4 things that I believe are worth noting when you finally get a chance to watch film.
- The Costumes
Some of the most breathtaking moments in the movie were filled with saturated colors, beautiful prints, and African-inspired finery and weaponry, as was displayed during T’Challa’s coronation at Warrior Falls, all of which comes from the mind of costume designer Ruth E. Carter.
Carter said that specific color palettes were assigned to the Wakandan tribes. She also added that that these are references to real-life ethnic groups. For the merchant tribe, shades of plum/purple were used, a reference to the Sub-Saharan Tuareg; for the river tribe, green hues, based on the Suri in Southwestern Ethiopia; and for the mining tribe, ochre shades were given, inspired by the Himba in Northern Namibia.
Even the design of the Black Panther costume itself was filled with all these intricacies; Carter made full use of the triangle, considered a sacred shape throughout the African region, creating a design she calls the OKAVANGO PATTERN. This design was placed all over the suit, becoming an aesthetic representation of the Black Panther’s role both as a superhero and as an African king.
As for Shuri (T’Challa’s sister, played by Leticia Wright), Carter revisited designer Stella McCartney’s use of recycled materials in an effort to incorporate a forward-thinking sustainability factor, creating a theme of structured neoprene, mesh materials, and lab-friendly whites.
This same attention to detail was also exercised in the design of the Dora Mijare (doh-ra mi ra zhay) costumes. The team assigned to the task, headed by Anthony Francisco, sought inspiration by looking into the comics and into cultural influences from warriors around the world in order to create a modular design. The outcome: 80% Masai (from southern Kenya and northern Tanzania), 5% samurai, 5% ninja, and 5% Ifugao (from the Philippines), the last of which speaks to Francisco’s heritage. Now, you might notice that the Dora Mijare wear mostly red hues, the design team turned to the Turkana and Himba tribes, both Sub-Saharan in nature, for inspiration; this resulted in the inclusion of a mixture of oxidized clay, soil, and shea butter being applied to their skin. The beadwork for their neck rings was drawn from the Masai and South African Ndebele tribes. And as for the Suri-inspired facial and head tattoos, these are indicative of their stature in the army; the more tattoos, the higher the rank.
- The Post-Credit Scene
The post-credit scene starts with Wakandan children staring at an unconscious person. Upon waking up, the children run off to Shuri. The said man follows suit, to be revealed that it is, in fact, no other than Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)!
Now, if you recall, T’Challa granted Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bucky asylum within Wakandan borders while they were being hunted down by the governments of the world; the former, for not signing the Sokovia Accords, and the latter, for crimes previously committed as the Winter Soldier. Knowing that he was still a high-risk person, he voluntarily went back into deep freeze until Wakandan scientists could figure out a way to override the programming that international terrorist group HYDRA planted in his mind. I don’t know about you, but this kinda sounds like a possible springboard for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, don’t you think?
- Killmonger’s Origins
Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of Prince N’Jobu, brother of the late King T’Chaka, father to T’Challa. Born N’Jadaka, he seeks revenge on the royal family, holding them responsible for the death of his father, who was accused of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda, later on left for dead.
The family ties shown in the movie make him and T’Challa direct cousins. In the comics, however, there is no such relation; in the comics, he was a Wakandan native whose father was pressured by mercenary Ulysses Klaue into working for him. Upon Klaue’s defeat, his father died and his family was exiled, changing his name to Erik Killmonger, and pursuing a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in aid of his quest for revenge against the royal family.
- T’Challa’s Love Story
Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), by the time of the movie, is an undercover spy from the River Tribe, and T’Challa’s former lover. Actress Nyong’o called her depiction of Nakia a “departure” from her comic counterpart, which is true because instead of getting together with T’Challa, she could only love him from the sidelines, and became jealous of his ex-girlfriend Monica Lynne and plotted to kill her, which led to her banishment from the kingdom. This would lead her to switching sides, going alongside Killmonger and taking the name Malice after being rescued from Achebe, a member of the Black Panther rogue gallery.
Worth noting, as well, is the fact that T’Challa ends up with the X-Man Ororo “Storm” Munroe, whom he met while being sent off to roam the Wakandan lands as a rite of passage. Things would get in the way, but after gaining the approval of the panther god, they would tie the knot, only for things to fall apart after the events of the Avengers vs X-Men storyline.
I hope you enjoyed reading the list just as much as I enjoyed writing it for you guys!