Black Panther is set to break records when it arrives in theaters during President’s Day weekend. Marvel’s latest addition to their long-running cinematic slate of superhero movies has been earning tons of well-deserved praise (read our Black Panther review) but there may be a few things you didn’t know about Wakandan king.
Here are a few tidbits of trivia and behind the scenes info courtesy of Disney.
Young Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. While the young actor shares the same last name as Forest Whitaker who plays the older Zuri, the two are not related. That been said, the two played father and son in Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters.
Black Panther is production designer Hannah Beachler’s first foray into the comic book movie world. She used the fictitious Wakandan script, based on an old existing Nigerian language, throughout her design story.
The bottom of Warrior Falls Challenge Pool was padded for the stunt team, but still looked like rock. The production crew also had to formulate a surface that was rough enough to not be too slippery in bare feet, but not so rough that it hurt to land on it.
Director Ryan Coogler wanted the South Korean action sequence to be seamless, so he had an editor on set cutting footage in real time. While this is not often done during productions, Coogler felt it was the best way to capture all of the action, stunts, and special effects in frame on time.
Costume designer Ruth E. Carter used the clothing of the Dragon tribe as inspiration for the costumes of the Jabari tribe, who also wear grass skirts that were a hit with director Ryan Coogler. Carter searched the world from Ghana to Los Angeles for textiles and accessories she needed to create the 700 costumes for the film.
The neck rings worn by Danai Gurira as Okoye were patterned after the neck rings worn by the women of the Ndebele tribe. For shooting purposes, however, they were remade in rubber.
Daniel Kaluuya learned how to ride a horse as practice to simulate riding W’Kabi’s armored rhino in the film.
The cast and stunt team practiced with African drums played by musicians Jabari Exum so that their movements would have a musical quality found in many African-based martial arts.
The Black Panther was created in July 1966, two months before the founding of the Black Panther Party. Many people mistakenly assumed the name referenced the Party, and so the the character was renamed the Black Leopard. However, neither the readers nor the creators cared for that title and it did not last for long.
Wesley Snipes had wanted to play the Black Panther in the 90s and had gone to Columbia Pictures with a script. He later went on to play the vampire hunter Blade. Snipes was still interested in playing the Black Panther, but Marvel decided to go a different direction while Snipes was busy creating his own superhero roles and writing superhero books and screenplays.
The name “Wakanda” comes from the Wakamba tribe of Kenya, also known as the Kamba.
Coogler insisted on bringing in collaborators from his previous films, to put his own stamp on the film and differentiate it from other MCU films that he felt were “shot, composed, and edited by the same house people.” Coogler brought in cinematographer Rachel Morrison, production designer Beachler and composer Ludwig Goransson, who all worked with him on Fruitvale Station.
Black Panther was the first of the Marvel characters whose movie rights reverted back to Marvel, having been previously owned by Artisan Entertainment and Columbia Pictures. Marvel got the rights back in 2005.
John Boyega was considered for the role of T’Challa.
Killmonger’s bumpy, ritualistic tribal markings on his chest and torso are based on the scar tattoos of the Mursi and Surma tribes.