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One of the year’s most anticipated movies has certainly whipped superhero fans into a frenzy. Black Panther is a proud moment for Africa, features an impressive cast, and has none other than Kendrick Lamar on the soundtrack.
With several exciting movies slated for release in 2018, there appears to be a general consensus that Black Panther will be among the best and most important, particularly given its lengthy delay and strong African roots.
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The score will be composed by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, who’s worked with heavyweight musicians on several notable films. He recently traveled to South Africa and Senegal to collaborate with local artists.
But it’s the inclusion of Kendrick Lamar, who will curate the film’s soundtrack, Black Panther: The Album, that really has got fans frothing. Lamar has already released two singles from the album, “All the Stars” and “King’s Dead,” which have received critical acclaim.
If the official trailer is anything to go by, this will be one visually stunning movie. With a rumored budget of $200 million, you can expect a gripping film from start to finish with some spine-tingling CGI in the mix.
Popular South African actor Connie Chiume has just revealed that she will joining the star-studded cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, and Angela Basset. Chiume, who gained popularity with her roles in Zone 14 and Rhythm City, will play the mining elder in the film.
Also in the movie is legendary local actor John Kani, who will play the role of the Black Panther’s father, King T’Chaka of Wakanda. He will be joined by his son Atandwa, who will play the young king.
The imagined African nation of Wakanda dates back to 1966, and the film has been in development for 26 years. In fact, many people don’t realize that the movie actually predates the Black Panther movement.
Wesley Snipes first announced his intention to develop and star in Black Panther back in 1992, but several complications delayed the project indefinitely. In 2014, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that Chadwick Boseman would take the lead role in the movie, due for release early next month.
Early comics like Black Panther were fraught with racist and outdated stereotypes. The new movie has corrected these, with the most notable change being M’Bak—he will not sport the gorilla-like costume, nor be referred to as “Man-Ape.” Instead, costume designers have taken a different interpretation of the character—they’ve included fur on his arms and a chest plate, and removed the mask altogether.
Executive producer Nate Moore told Entertainment Weekly that “Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong. But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right.”
Black Panther is more than just a superhero movie. Black Panther was the first Marvel superhero, and a film to do this justice has been a long time coming. This will be one of the first times that a big budget comic book adaptation has featured a black superhero, especially in the age of social media. As such, many are celebrating this as one of the first times young black children can look up to an action hero who looks like they do. That its release falls in the middle of Black History Month in the United States is either perfectly timed or remarkably serendipitous.
Stand-up comedian and writer Sara Benincasa has upped the ante in the buildup to the movie by offering a reward of $300 for anyone who manages to ask Trump about the U.S.’s relations with Wakanda. Following the U.S. President’s recent remarks about Africa, many are hoping to catch him unaware with the question about the fictional African country.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther Arrives to Homes Digitally and on DVD/Blu-Ray on June 11