Though Marvel's Black Panther is about the ascension of a new Wakandan king, the film is also largely about the powerful women around T'Challa who are running the show. According to a number of the film's female stars, their characters' strength is a direct reflection of Wakanda's cultural history.
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Black Panther presented director Ryan Coogler and his team with the task of bringing the iconic character to the big screen, but that wasn't the hardest part. The hardest part was creating an entire country, more technologically advanced than anywhere on the planet, based around an indestructible super-metal that doesn't exist in the real world. The process started with a single question.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's depiction of Wakanda is undoubtedly going to become the definitive take on the secretive nation for many people once Black Panther hits theatres, and that's understandable. But there is so much more to Wakanda's rich history in the comics that just won't fit into the film.
You wouldn't know it driving through the streets, but in the autumn of 2017, two huge Marvel movies were simultaneously shooting in Atlanta. At Pinewood Studios, it was Avengers: Infinity War. Down the street at Screen Gems Studio, it was Black Panther. And the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
Wakanda's always been a technologically advanced nation, though its cities have been depicted in so many unique, disparate ways in Marvel's various comics that it's difficult to imagine what it might look like in real life. But that's exactly what the team of concept artists behind the film have done, and their illustrations are almost too stunning to describe.
The whole point of Wakanda is that it is a truly isolated nation - isolated by its people's own choosing, turning itself into a technological utopia away from the influence of people beyond its borders. That isolation became crucial to Chadwick Boseman's portrayal of Black Panther, because he wanted the hero to speak "without colonialism tainting it".