We are currently in the middle of a cultural crossroads when it comes to the media that we consume. More than ever before, representation and diversity are being addressed in film, television, and literature in ways that see our entertainment finally reflect the world at large. And the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely isn’t being left out. True Believers are happy to see characters from all walks of life inhabit the movies and shows from the House of Ideas. But even more inclusion is on its way in Phase Three and the architects of the MCU like ‘Black Panther’ writer Joe Robert Cole can’t help but be excited as well.
While recently speaking to Mother Jones, the relatively new screenwriter and graduate of Marvel’s two-year in-house writing program recognized how much of an impact the warrior king of Wakanda can have on the audience once the character is introduced into one of the most popular film franchises in the world. In particular, Cole addressed the importance of a black superhero of this caliber headlining his very own movie in this day and age:
“Black Panther is a historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization. The image of a black hero on this scale is just really exciting. When I was a kid, I would change superheroes’ names: Instead of James Bond, I was James Black. Instead of Batman, I was Blackman. And I have a three-year-old son. My son will be five when Black Panther comes out. That puts it all into perspective for me.”
After establishing that he’s ready to take on the tall order that he has to fill with director Ryan Coogler, star Chadwick Boseman, and the rest of the cast and crew, Cole talked about the importance of T’Challa’s African culture and how he plans to incorporate that into the script:
“I write characters focusing on them as human beings, and then you wrap them within a culture. So I think I can connect with him as a person with brown skin who’s viewed differently by the world. In terms of his culture, we’re thinking about where we are locating Wakanda within the continent, and what the people and history of that region are like. It’s a process of investigation to help inform the story at this point. But we are going to be engaged with consultants who are experts on the continent and on African history and politics.”
And on top of all that, Wakanda wouldn’t be Wakanda without their revolutionary technical advancements, which frequently utilize the country’s plentiful supply of the sound-absorbing mineral known as vibranium. So when it came down to drawing inspiration for the technical advancements of this fictional African nation, Cole and the team decided to look back in order to look forward:
“That’s one of the many questions that excite me. I think you try to extrapolate from the early civilizations and cultures of the continent, kind of looking for unique ways they set themselves apart from Western civilizations, and then pursue those avenues technologically and see where that takes you.”
Obviously, this is a big deal for Marvel fans everywhere. It’s good to hear that Joe Robert Cole and company are taking the proper strides to make ‘Black Panther’ as good as it could possibly be. But what do you think about the writer’s comments on his approach to the story? Are you more excited to see Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa main event his very own feature film following his introduction in ‘Captain America: Civil War’? Let us know in the comments below.
‘Black Panther’ starring Chadwick Boseman hits theaters on February 16, 2018.