The cast and crew of Black Panther talk about representation, adapting comics, and how excited they were to be at the film’s premiere.
After months and months of waiting, we are almost at the release date for Black Panther and needless to say, everyone is excited from the fans to the filmmakers themselves Following the Los Angeles premiere of the film two weeks ago, the cast and crew joined together to talk about the process of making the film and how much fun it was to work on the film. Moderated by Nischelle Turner of Entertainment Tonight, the conversation covered many topics about the film and how excited they all were to see it and be involved.
Writer-director Ryan Coogler and Marvel producer extraordinaire Kevin Feige were joined by the incredible cast of the film, including Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa/Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw) and Forest Whitaker (Zuri).
Because the film premiered the night before the press conference, Lupita Nyong’o addressed how thrilled she was to be at the premiere of the film the prior evening, her first time seeing them movie herself. She said she “was just so, so, so excited, because this was a movie that [they] all felt a lot of ownership of… To see it alive, to see it almost like three dimensional was what I was looking forward to.” Coogler talked about how excited he was to premiere in his home state of California, saying “it was incredible, when I had like 50 of my family members there, all from the Bay area; they were like, talking at the screen.”
Kevin Feige and Chadwick Boseman addressed the process of casting Boseman as T’Challa and building to Black Panther, with Boseman talking about how when he was making Captain America: Civil War, he knew that they wanted to make Black Panther into “a stand-alone,” but the rest of the world wasn’t aware. On casting, Feige said that Boseman was “the only choice… we were looking for a sort of third party [in Civil War]… and almost instantly we all said Chadwick.”
Sharing a stage with three other incredible actresses, Angela Bassett talked about how the female characters of Black Panther were treated, noting how “in African culture, they feel as if there is no king without a queen… this story, it highlights the queen, the warrior, the general, the younger sister.” Female depiction in the film is part of what drew the cast to the project, with Danai Gurira saying that she was “just blessed about, and excited” for how Coogler developed the female characters across the films.
Looking at the roots of Black Panther’s influence in the comics from the beginning, Feige discussed the roots of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creation of the character and his world, making him into a “smarter, more accomplished character than any of the white characters in the mid-1960s.” Coogler also talked about the roots of his writing, including comics written by Lee, Kirby, Christopher Priest, Jonathan Hickman, Ta-Nehisi Coates and more, noting how “each run kind of leaves something for us to pull from.”
One of the most important things that Boseman felt about T’Challa’s character was his use of an African accent, pointing out that his own background of going to schools in America and the UK is unique to him, whereas T’Challa wouldn’t have that problem. Boseman noted that T’Challa “got his education at home and he would not then assimilate a language that is the colonizer’s language in order to speak to his people. So he had to speak with an African accent.”
To close the panel, Nyong’o answered one last question about the message she hopes people get from the film, noting that “this film represents [such that] each and every one of us is an individual, unique and we all have our own sense of power and our own agency and we hold our own space without being pitted against each other. And I think that’s a very, very powerful message to send to children, both male and female.”
Black Panther is in theaters everywhere on February 16th