Burnt out as I've been on superhero movies over the decade, I have to say the planned Black Panther movie sounds more promising than Marvel's other projects. I'd love to see a futuristic African kingdom like Wakanda be realized on the big screen with today's special effects. Sure, Ava DuVernay may have turned it down in recent news which has disappointed a lot of people, but then she's most famous for a period drama which had a very different attitude from your typical sci-fi/fantasy action flick. Competent as she evidently was with Selma
, being African-American herself doesn't guarantee she'll do well outside her genre's comfort zone just because the new hero is a continental African (which is not
to say a director can't do a good job outside that comfort zone either; I think Colin Tremorrow did a great job with Jurassic World
even if it was a different genre from his earlier work).
But even if Black Panther is a superhero I'm willing to see in action, I honestly always felt his costume's traditional design looked a bit too much like Batman's. I think it's the combination of an all-black suit and the animal-eared mask. On the other hand, any effort to redesign his costume needs to take into account which part of Africa Wakanda is located in, and as far as I can tell the canon is inconsistent on this. One map places it between Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda
, which suggests East African Nilotes like the Maasai or Samburu. Others place it near the West African Sahel
(the region of Mali, Niger, and Chad) or the coast of the Congo Basin
. And then there's the equation of the Panther God with the Egyptian divinity Bastet
, which implies influence or contact between Wakanda and Nile Valley civilizations. So am I supposed to design Black Panther's getup as East African, West African, Egypto-Nubian, or some cross-continental mix?
Some have claimed Wakanda to be the "African Coast" in the new Avengers
sequel, but I don't buy that speculation. Their city's standard modern, post-colonial look contrasts with the fusion of native African elements and futuristic technology that Wakanda is supposed to represent.
So I guess I'll have to ask any Marvel or comic-book enthusiasts who might know a thing or two about Wakanda and its place in the Marvel universe.