Whether you’re excited for Marvel’s Black Panther or you have already seen it and loved it, you likely want to know more about Wakanda. This isolated East African nation is one of the most fully realized and recognized fictional countries in all of comics. Its people are proud, but also xenophobic, and up until the past decade of Black Panther comics continuity, this country had never been conquered by outside forces due to its superior technology.
The Wakanda of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is similar, at least in some ways, to Japan in terms of how the traditional and the futuristic co-exist in harmony. The filmmakers have done an outstanding job of realizing an African aesthetic accented by high-tech flourishes. There is a look to Wakanda in the comics, but the Black Panther film establishes a visual language that makes Wakandan design and style unmistakable. Thus, we’ve put together a travel guide of sorts that outlines the country’s history, politics, technology and much more.
Wakanda is a fiercely independent African nation ruled by a warrior-king monarchy. The throne and ceremonial title of Black Panther are passed down from father to first born son. However, as a warrior king, The Black Panther must be ready and willing to take on any challenger in to-the-death combat. This is the same in the comics and film, except for the fact that in the movie the challenger must be from a royal line.
The Panther tribe has reigned in Wakanda since the arrival of the Vibranium meteorite. They worship the Panther god Bast and believe that ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb makes the Black Panther a representative of the deity. The herb also gives those that take it superhuman strength, speed, and heightened senses.
When Ulysses Klaw led a pack of mercenaries on a raid of Wakanda to pilfer its Vibranium reserves, he murdered T’Challa’s father T’Chaka in cold blood. Although T’Challa eventually succeeded him as Black Panther, he was only a teenager at the time, so T’Chaka’s brother Y’San took the Black Panther mantle in the interim. After receiving an education at the best schools in Europe and the US, T’Challa returned to Wakanda to endure the rites of the Black Panther. a process that included several arduous trials and preparations.
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