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The Black Panther


Thousands of years ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing the metal 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. Over centuries, the Wakandans use vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country. In 1992, Wakanda 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.




The Black Panther



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, the latter attacked Zuri and forced T'Chaka to kill him. T'Chaka ordered Zuri to lie that N'Jobu had disappeared and left behind N'Jobu's American son N'Jadaka to maintain the lie. This boy grew up to be Stevens, a black ops U.S. Navy SEAL who adopted the name "Killmonger". Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity to be N'Jadaka and stating his claim to the throne. Killmonger challenges T'Challa to ritual combat, where he kills Zuri, badly injures T'Challa, and hurls him over a waterfall to his presumed death. 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.


The production team was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates's run on Black Panther, who was writing the comic at the same time as they were working on the film. Of particular inspiration was Coates's poetic dialogue, Brian Stelfreeze's art, and "some of the questions that it's asking".[106] The film was also inspired by the comic runs of 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 for the film's story.[38] The ceremonial betrothal aspect of the Dora Milaje was not adapted from the comics for the film.[10] Coogler had hoped to include Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter early in the process because of a scene in Priest's run that had T'Challa fighting Kraven, but the rights to the character were not available due to Sony Pictures owning all rights to Spider-Man characters.[116] Donald Glover and his brother Stephen made some minor contributions to an early draft of the script, developing the relationship between T'Challa and his younger sister Shuri.[117] Moore noted that an early script had more scenes outside of Wakanda to explore "what it means to be African and African-American in the world a bit more", and hoped these could be revisited in a later film, particularly a "super cool" sequence that was storyboarded before being cut.[118] Coogler and Robert Cole had considered including the Golden Age black hero Eli Bradley / Patriot for a while, but they ultimately excluded him to focus on Wakanda.[119] Eli Bradley was eventually featured in the Disney+ miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), portrayed by Elijah Richardson.[120]


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.[10] 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; black with royal purple for the Black Panther and the Royal Palace;[10][24] plums and purples for the Merchant Tribe in reference to the Tuareg; and ochre for the Mining Tribe inspired by the Himba.[24] Three out of every five people in Wakanda go barefoot. The Wakandans wear "normal" clothes outside of the country, with the colors of their costumes kept consistent.[10] Overall, Carter created 700 costumes for the film, working with "an army" of illustrators, designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more.[135]


ILM was primarily responsible for creating the digital urban environments of Wakanda. ILM VFX supervisor Craig Hammack compared this work to his time on Tomorrowland (2015), but noted the additional challenge of not just building a futuristic city, but also one that was culturally appropriate. He explained that African culture has a "certain amount of earthy material qualities that make things difficult to design as a futuristic city," which would typically use much steel and glass. ILM looked to real life examples that blend modern architecture with natural environments like One Central Park in Sydney and The Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala, but also had to "depart from a strict understanding of physics and go into a movie cheat world" at times to produce the desired look. Hammack was also inspired by the architecture of Uganda, where he spent time while aerial footage for the film was being shot. 60,000 individual buildings were designed and modeled for the city, which Hammack said was the first thing ILM began work on and also the last thing they were doing when the film was completed. Other things that ILM worked on during the production included set extensions and blue-screen replacements for interior sets, and the first rhinoceros shown in the film. For T'Challa's ancestral plane scenes, ILM replaced the basic set that was used with a full CG environment including an acacia tree and animated panthers. The sky was based on the Northern Lights, with this first designed for nighttime scenes before being replicated for daytime scenes in which the animators had to work hard to keep the effects visible. ILM also added additional sand for the burial sequences so Boseman could breathe during filming, and additional flames when Killmonger burns the heart-shaped herb.[145]


Natasha Alford of The Grio called the film 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".[288] Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds called the film a masterpiece that is "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."[289] Bouie 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."[284] Devindra Hardawar at Engadget was critical of the CGI, notably the digital actors used, calling them "weightless, ugly and, worst of all, incredibly distracting". Hardawar felt two "particularly disappointing" CGI shots were when T'Challa flips over a car during the Korea chase, and when T'Challa and Killmonger punch each other as they fall within the vibranium mines.[282]


The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a Marxist-Leninist and black power political organization founded by college students Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton in October 1966 in Oakland, California.[6][7][8] The party was active in the United States between 1966 and 1982, with chapters in many major American cities, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Philadelphia.[9] They were also active in many prisons and had international chapters in the United Kingdom and Algeria.[10][11] Upon its inception, the party's core practice was its open carry patrols ("copwatching") designed to challenge the excessive force and misconduct of the Oakland Police Department. From 1969 onward, the party created social programs, including the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, education programs, and community health clinics.[12][13][14][15] The Black Panther Party advocated for class struggle, claiming to represent the proletarian vanguard.[16]


The party's history is controversial. Scholars have characterized the Black Panther Party as the most influential black power organization of the late 1960s, and "the strongest link between the domestic Black Liberation Struggle and global opponents of American imperialism".[28] Other scholars have described the party as more criminal than political, characterized by "defiant posturing over substance".[29]


During World War II, tens of thousands of black people left the Southern states during the Second Great Migration, moving to Oakland and other cities in the Bay Area to find work in the war industries such as Kaiser Shipyards. The sweeping migration transformed the Bay Area as well as cities throughout the West and North, altering the once white-dominated demographics.[30] A new generation of young black people growing up in these cities faced new forms of poverty and racism unfamiliar to their parents, and they sought to develop new forms of politics to address them.[31] Black Panther Party membership "consisted of recent migrants whose families traveled north and west to escape the southern racial regime, only to be confronted with new forms of segregation and repression".[32] In the early 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement had dismantled the Jim Crow system of racial caste subordination in the South with tactics of non-violent civil disobedience, and demanding full citizenship rights for black people.[33] However, not much changed in the cities of the North and West. As the wartime and post-war jobs which drew much of the black migration "fled to the suburbs along with white residents", the black population was concentrated in poor "urban ghettos" with high unemployment and substandard housing and was mostly excluded from political representation, top universities, and the middle class.[34] Northern and Western police departments were almost all white.[35] In 1966, only 16 of Oakland's 661 police officers were African American (less than 2.5%).[36]


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