Black Panther is breaking all kinds of box office records. After the four-day weekend, it made $427 million worldwide, with $242 coming from the United States. It’s also the fifth highest opening for a movie ever. Ever! Clearly there is something right with Black Panther’s formula that fans are connecting to. For some people, Black Panther is their introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe because, until now, they haven’t been given a reason to watch one of the MCU films. There are certainly a lot of aspects to celebrate with this movie. Individually, the actors, costuming, directing, props, and music (and everything else) are amazing. Combined, we get the spirit of Wakanda: a beautiful technologically advanced country.
People who have been looking for representation for so long in superhero films have finally found it in Wakanda. It’s the most technologically advanced country in its universe, and its monarch values women -- as far as their royal court is concerned, the women outnumber the men. The Dora Milaje have a battlecry of “Wakanda Forever!” that has turned into an inspiring hashtag of how people are celebrating the happiness this movie is promoting. It’s become a movement, which of course means we’ve got some amazing Wakanda memes to share with you all.
16 NICE LAB
Up until now, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner have been the resident smart guys of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor is familiar with advanced tech but doesn’t create it while Cap still has too much pop culture to catch up with to bother learning about tech. The team turns to Stark and Banner when it comes to analyzing and producing technology to help them with their battles. Up until now, Stark Labs has been very impressive.
However, Wakanda’s vibranium-powered technology is second to none. They are doing tech in Wakanda that can barely be thought of in America, and it’s all spearheaded by a young woman -- T’Challa’s sister, Shuri. What’s considered a fancy lab in America would likely be found in a kindergartner’s class in Wakanda (in lieu of playhouses).
Although in the large contexts of our lives this doesn’t mean much, but don’t you get excited when Twitter releases a new hashtag emoji? If only they stuck around forever. However, because it’s meant for promotion, they clear out after a while. When the Black Panther cast started tweeting the hashtag emojis for their character’s names, fans started losing their minds. How does Killmonger look so evil but so cute?
When the Twitter hashtag emojis go away for Black Panther, it will be a sad day. But never fear! The consensus is that these two emojis from your own emoji keyboard on your phone now mean #WakandaForever. So, months later, whenever you feel like tweeting about the brilliance of Shuri -- because it’s gonna take months to fully unpack how awesome she is -- you can use these emojis to emphasize your point.
14 FLIGHT STATUS
In one of the credits scenes, T’Challa announces to the world that Wakanda now has a responsibility to help build bridges instead of barriers. We know that this means he will be doing outreach using the outreach center that will be in Oakland. This could also mean that they will accept visitors for the first time in their history, and potentially even refugees
People would also want to visit Wakanda because it’s a beautiful country with awesome technology. Even Killmonger remarks on how beautiful Wakanda is. Imagine how much more money Wakanda can receive and then put towards outreach simply by adding a tourism program. Though Shuri wants to go to Disneyland, we would rather spend a week in Wakanda soaking up the views.
13 JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING
Killmonger’s motivations to become the king and Black Panther are complex. On the one hand, he wants to liberate his brothers and sisters who are shackled by oppression and poverty. On the other hand, he wants to do this by using weapons and violence. This is not the Wakandan way, and T’Challa makes this clear in his conversations with Killmonger.
Killmonger is an incredibly nuanced character. Though he is a villain, people are connecting to him: his final line didn’t leave a dry eye in the audience. Michael B. Jordan did a fabulous job in interpreting Killmonger for the big screen. However, lest we forget, this isn’t the first time he was in a Marvel movie. The Fantastic Four movie didn’t do well, unfortunately, but Jordan has risen from the ashes of his Human Torch role to become straight fire.
12 WAKANDAN HEALTHCARE
The Wakandan lifestyle is now the envy of many. They live in a matriarchal society where women’s input is valued. Their garments have vibranium sewn into them, so they look amazing and are protected. Their technology is the most advanced in the world, which is seen even in how they call each other using kimoyo beads.
Those kimoyo beads can be used for many purposes, from controlling the vibranium train to stabilizing a body. We didn’t see a hospital in Wakanda, but we imagine that it’s free for all citizens and features the best healthcare in the world. Based on the ages of some of the elders in the royal court, the lifespan of a Wakandan is long, which is probably thanks to excellent healthcare.
11 BABY NAMES
A fun thing that happens when nerds find love is that they have nerdy babies. These babies have no choice -- they will grow up to be nerds. Their nursery is nerdy, their toys and games are nerdy, and for some babies, even their names are nerdy. Now that Game of Thrones has been on the air for seven years, we now have seven year old girls walking around with names like Arya and Daenerys.
When a nerd jokes about naming their son after a superhero, like Thor, it’s only partially a joke (imagine the Asgard themed nursery, you guys). With Black Panther being such a smash hit, we may very well have a slew of T’Challas, Shuris, Nakias, and Okoyes hitting kindergarten in 2023. What’s great about Wakanda as a name is that it’s gender neutral.
10 FOR WAKANDA? WITHOUT QUESTION
There’s a moment in Black Panther where there’s a Wakandan civil war between those who sided with T’Challa and those who sided with Killmonger. General Okoye realizes that T’Challa didn’t in fact yield in the challenge, so she and Dora Milaje fight with him. At one point, Okoye steps in front of M’Baku to protect him and points her spear at W’Kabi. W’Kabi is her love, but the real tender moment is between her and the trained fighter rhinoceros (who is such a good boy).
W’Kabi asks her if she would actually strike him down. Okoye’s response to this is her in a nutshell: “For Wakanda? Without question.” Okoye is loyal to her country first and foremost, which is refreshing to see in a warrior woman character.
9 COMING TO … THE MOVIE THEATER
Many nerds enjoy cosplaying as their favorite characters. This is done both at conventions with fellow nerds, but also out in the public when one of their favorite franchises is releasing a new movie. We expect to see people cosplaying for films from the Harry Potter universe, Marvel, and DC of course. But people took it to the next level for their Black Panther showings.
Many African Americans came to their Black Panther showings dressed in garments from their heritage. Scrolling through #WakandaForever will take your breath away when you see how gorgeous everyone looks. In addition, some African American men infused some humor into this and came to the theater dressed as crown prince Akeem from Eddie Murphy’s 1988 film Coming to America.
8 SHURI LOVE
The breakout star of Black Panther is undoubtedly Letitia Wright’s character Shuri. Though she could face a lot of criticism for being so young and a woman working in technology, it looks as though this doesn’t phase her. She’s able to make scientific advancements while dragging her brother, which is quite an achievement. She is always working on new technology, and her passion for it is infectious.
Shuri is a great role model for young Black girls looking with STEM interests. This is one of the reasons why Black Panther’s representation is so important. Women, especially Black women, are at a disadvantage when it comes to entering and staying in STEM fields. With Shuri as a pop culture figure, hopefully more Black women will be empowered to work in STEM.
7 “WAKANDA ISN’T REAL”
While the nerd community as a whole is positive, there are still instances of gatekeeping and negativity. For example, if you’re a woman talking about Star Wars, you are more likely to get your knowledge called into question than if you were a man. The situation is made worse if you then admit, in front of said gatekeeper, that you haven’t read any of the Extended Universe books.
Some people, whether nerds or not, see the gushing and love for Wakanda and have the nerve to say “Wakanda isn’t real.” This is an ignorant thing to say. It’s not about the reality; it’s about being excited for what it represents. We know it’s not real, just like Hogwarts or the Shire isn’t real. But you don’t see us walking up to Harry Potter cosplayers to say Hogwarts isn’t real. Avada getouttahere with your negativity.
6 WAKANDA’S SECRET IDENTITY
In the Reginald Hudlin run of the Black Panther comics, Wakanda is never conquered because they’ve always had more advanced technology. In fact, this is seen in the first pages of that run. In the film, the introduction narrates that rather than dealing with intruders, Wakanda went into hiding. This is accomplished by, again, using technology.
This is a good way to explain how Wakanda has managed to stay hidden in the modern age. However, Marvel could have just leaned more into classic superhero logic: if you put glasses on something, people will have no idea who are what it is. Take Clark Kent’s secret identity as Superman for example. No one is ever able to make that connection -- glasses are the key to keeping secrets!
5 BOOK REPORT TIME
In anticipation for the Black Panther film, a lot of fans started reading more Black Panther comics. A Marvel Unlimited subscription is very handy for this. To start, try Black Panther’s first appearance in the Fantastic Four in 1966. There are hints in that very first comic that Black Panther will have conflict between being a king and a superhero, which follows into later acclaimed runs.
For modern Black Panther runs, you can definitely check out Christopher Priest’s run from the late '90s. Priest actually was a consultant for the film, and he is the one who created the characters Everett Ross and the Dora Milaje. Following that run, Reginald Hudlin’s run introduced the now fan favorite character, Shuri. Shuri is also present in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s run that explored the idea of how to make Wakanda a more representative government.
Thanos is going to be a tough villain to beat. It’s going to take all of the Avengers, plus the Guardians of the Galaxy, plus the Wakandans to even have a chance at beating him. The reason why is he’s set on collecting the Infinity Stones which will give him unlimited power to conquer the universe.
The United States doesn’t have technology that’s even close to Thanos’ level even before he finishes his Infinity Stone collection. The only hope they have is to team up with Asgardians and Wakandans. The Asgardians have just fled their destroyed world, but perhaps they took their weapons, and at least knowledge of weapons, with them. The Wakandans have been using advanced tech to protect their country for ages. Just let them do what they’ve been doing for centuries.
3 WAKANDAN SHEA
Bucky Barnes was a happy sight to see at the end of Black Panther’s credits. We knew he was in Wakanda, but Shuri was still in the process of fixing “another broken white boy.” Then, Bucky emerged from his slumber, scattering Wakandan children away. For the first time, Bucky looked like he was at peace, and Shuri tells him there’s much for him to learn.
According to his appearance in the Infinity War trailer, one of the things Bucky learns is the power of Wakanda shea. Have you seen the fullness of his facial hair? We think that Bucky is going to stay in Wakanda for a while. After all, they called him “the White Wolf” which hints that he will lead the War Dogs. Also, once you start that shea, you can’t stop.
2 A MOOD
Winston Duke’s character M’Baku is another breakout character in Black Panther. He commanded every scene that he was in, and it’s not just because he’s tall (6’4” to be exact). M’Baku first gets our attention by challenging T’Challa to combat for the title of Black Panther. Though he loses, he earns our respect by fighting hard.
Later, his men find T’Challa, and though M’Baku is offered the heart shaped herb, he instead leads the royal family (plus Nakia and Agent Ross) to T’Challa. He has good intentions, but he can be fearsome especially when he threatens to feed you to his family. He also has a sense of humor, and his line of “Are you done?” is certainly a mood for Mondays. We can’t wait to see more of the leader of the Jabari tribe.
1 THEY’VE GOT EVERYTHING IN WAKANDA
In the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, we saw confirmation that Captain America is in Wakanda. Black Panther takes place a week after the events of Captain America: Civil War, where at the end, both Bucky and Steve are taken to Wakanda. Steve leaves his iconic shield behind.
But he need not worry because Wakanda has everything! Any technology you can dream of can be made here. The shield Captain America gets from Wakanda, as seen in the trailer, is leaps and bounds ahead of the older model. We imagine that T’Challa would be the problem solver of the Avengers. He could even ask Shuri to figure out how the Hulk keeps his pants from ripping, which would solve a Marvel mystery that is decades old.