Black Panther Character Portraits

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Black Panther Character Portraits
Posted by Wilson Morales

July 13, 2017

Following yesterday’s set of 20 Black Panther photos that Entertainment Weekly released for its San Diego Comic Con preview, the magazine posted some character portraits from the film that Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) is directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole.

The cast includes Chadwick BosemanMichael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanSterling K. Brown, Daniel KaluuyaAngela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy SerkisLetitia WrightWinston Duke, Florence KasumbaShaunette Renée Wilson, Isaach de Bankolé, and John Kani.

“T’Challa’s homeland is the site of massive natural deposits of Vibranium, the near-mystical metal that comprises Captain America’s shield, is woven into his Black Panther, and has allowed the people of Wakanda to make technological leaps nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. But as T’Challa learns upon ascending the throne, the minute others know you have something valuable, someone will try to take it from you. In self-defense, Wakanda has closed itself off from the other nations of Earth, maintaining a false front that it’s a mere third-world nowhere – full of mines, farms, and jungle creatures. The truth is, its mines produce the rarest, most precious metal on earth, its fields grows the Heart-Shaped Herb, a Vibranium-enriched plant that grants its leaders superhuman strength, and its jungle creatures provide inspiration for one of the sleekest superheroes to ever leap from the page to the screen.”

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER
T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
Special
Credit: Kwaku Alston/©Marvel Studios 2018

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman): “He has to keep harmony between the tribes within his country, and that means managing expectations and doing things that are unpopular,” Coogler says. “At the same time, he is the protector of that nation,” said Coogler.

Ramonda (Anglea Bassett): “She is one of the advisors that he would look to,” Boseman says. “He has to look to her 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. She is the queen mother. And she’s that for not just him, but for everybody. She has her hands in everything — even his love life,” said Boseman.

Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o): Here, she’s described as a “former lover” of T’Challa’s. She is a departure from what she was in the comic book,” Nyong’o says. “Nakia is a war dog. She is basically an undercover spy for Wakanda. Her job is to go out into the world and report back on what’s going on,” said Nyong’o.

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)
Credit: Kwaku Alston/©Marvel Studios 2018

Okoye (Danai Gurira): The head of the Dora Milaje, she’s just as close as family.  “They are a very powerful force. They are not utopic, but what Wakanda has down well is it has allowed people to function within their strengths. These women, their strength is to preserve Wakanda. It’s more like the secret service in a sense that it’s not just military. She is head of intel,” said Gurira.

Shuri (Letitia Wright): Princess of Wakanda who designs their technology and is fierce in battle. “She is also a genius and runs the entire Wakandan design group. She’s responsible for all these amazing technological advances that Vibranium has brought about from Wakanda,” said Kevin Feige, Marvel president and main architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER
Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)
Credit: Kwaku Alston/©Marvel Studios 2018

Erik Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan): “I think Killmonger has his own opinion on how Wakanda has been run and should run, and what I think Michael brings to the table is sort of a charming antagonist, who doesn’t agree with how T’Challa is running things, frankly. I think that puts T’Challa in a difficult situation. Killmonger is a voice of a different side of Wakanda,” said EP Nate Moore.
W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluyya): Head of security for the Border Tribe, another important group in Wakanda. He’s also T’Challa’s best friend. He helps maintain Wakanda’s guise of being “just mines, farms and woods.” “They live on the borders of Wakanda and serve as the first line of defense for the country. To outsiders they appear to be what people would ‘expect’ of a small provincial African nation – but the truth is they are some of the fiercest warriors in Wakanda, intent on protecting the secrets of their advanced nation at all costs,” said Moore. When T’Challa becomes kind, W’Kabi joins him as a palace advisor.

Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER
Okoye (Danai Gurira)
Credit: Kwaku Alston/©Marvel Studios 2018

Zuri (Forest Whitaker): A longtime advisor to T’Challa’s father and keeper of the heart-shaped herb. “He’s somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure. Spirituality is something that exists in Wakanda in the comics, and it’s something we wanted to have elements of in the film. Forest’s character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance,” said Coogler.

Coogler’s creative brain trust includes his frequent collaborators: director of photography Rachel Morrison, A.S.C. (“Dope,” “Fruitvale Station”), production designer Hannah Beachler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), editors Claudia Castello(“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) and Michael P. Shawver (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”); along with costume designer Ruth E. Carter (“Selma,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), visuals effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann (“Doctor Strange,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Academy Award®- winning makeup designer Joel Harlow (“Star Trek Beyond,” “Black Mass”) and seven-time Academy Award® nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”).

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

The film opens in U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018.


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