What’s on your agenda for this weekend? Hopefully it includes heading out to see Marvel’s Black Panther. With the overwhelming success of Black Panther movie release last weekend, it seems like an ideal time to share some behind the scene facts.
Unless you’re a die-hard comic book fan you probably didn’t know much about Marvel’s Black Panther. You are not alone, most people didn’t know much about the character until the first trailer was released summer of last year. Just as the trailer got a lot of people talking, the movie lived up to the hype. It’s a cultural milestone. In my first-impression review, I talked about the sense of pride I felt after watching it. I have discussed the film with my friends – African born/raised, African born/American raised, American born to African parents, African American, and my Caucasian friends. Each of us got a different message from the film. Overall, we all agreed that it was a movie that needed to be made and in one way or another everyone has a personal connection to the film. Check out the short clip below then read on for some facts.
Behind-the-Scene Tidbits About Marvel’s Black Panther
- Marvel’s Black Panther character made his debut in the comic book world in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966.
- The neck rings worn by Danai Gurira as Okoye were patterned after the neck rings worn by the women of the Ndebele tribe.
- Led by Danai Gurira’s character, Okoye, the Dora Milaje security force features an international contingent of women from all over the world, including Florence Kasumba who returns to play Ayo, a character that first appeared in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War.” The Dora Milaje were cast from a pool of actresses, stunt women and Broadway dancers so that each individual Dora could have specialized skills that they brought to the table.
- It was decided early on that Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa, would be the language of Wakanda. A precedent had been set in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War,” when celebrated South African actor John Kani, who portrayed King T’Chaka, used his native accent. Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa/Black Panther, picked it up from him as well.
- The cast and stunt team practiced with African drums played by musician Jabari Exum so that their movements would have a musical quality found in many African-based martial arts.
- Young Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. While he shares the same last name with Forest Whitaker, who plays the older Zuri, they are not related. However, they did play father and son in Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters.”
- The cast did the bulk of the fight work that will be seen on film. Chadwick Boseman, whose skill set includes a comprehensive martial arts background, knew what he was in for when he and all the other actors had to attend a “boot camp” to prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles.
- Michael B. Jordan, who plays Erik Killmonger, spent about two and a half hours in the special effects makeup chair every day, while makeup designer Joel Harlow and three other makeup artists applied close to 90 individually sculpted silicone molds to his upper body. This “scarification” application process entails transferring each mold and then blending and painting them to match Jordan’s skin tone. Each of Killmonger’s scars represents a “notch” of his kills over the years.
- The majority of the Wakanda sets were constructed on sound stages at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council; the Wakandan Design Group, Shuri’s hive of research and development of the vibranium rich country; the ancient subterranean Hall of Kings; and most notably Warrior Falls, the ceremonial heart of Wakanda’s revered traditions.
- Over 25,000 cubic feet of foam was used in the Warrior Falls set, which was sculpted to match the rocks in Oribi Gorge in South Africa.
- The high-speed car action for the Casino sequence was filmed on location in the bustling coastal city of Busan, South Korea. For almost two weeks, “Black Panther’s” action unit descended upon the coastal city nestled against the foothills of Geumjeong Mountain to film the thrilling, mind-blowing chase sequence through such iconic sites as Gwangalli Beach and the Haeundae District.
- Director Ryan Coogler wanted the South Korea action sequence to be seamless, so he had an editor on set cutting footage in real time. This is not often done during production, but Coogler felt it was the best way to capture all the action, stunts and special effects in frame on time.
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is now playing in U.S. theaters. Soundtrack available for purchase on Amazon.