WARNING: The article below contains minor spoilers for Marvel’s Black Panther, in theaters now.
Technology in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown ever more elaborate. In the beginning, Tony Stark seemed to be the ultimate pioneer of technological advancements with his AI, holograms and suits. Then came the world of Asgard, showing us that, as incredible as his Hall of Armors was, Stark had barely scratched the surface. For a long time, it seemed as though the Agardians were among the most technologically advanced people in the MCU.
However, Asgard’s place at the top has now come into question with Black Panther‘s introduction of Wakanda, an African nation that seems to possess weapons and medical technology capable of outperforming almost anything the “gods” could hypothetically throw at it. So we’re going to take a look at both of these nations and compare everything we’ve seen from them in order to determine which of them is technologically superior.
In 2011, director Kenneth Branagh’s Thor made it a point to describe magic simply as being science that we humans couldn’t yet comprehend. That notion informed our perception of Asgard. For example, in Alan Taylor’s 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World, the Asgardians use their soul forge to scan Jane Foster for the dark magic that resided in her body. She instantly recognized the device as a quantum field generator, which means it was using energy to generate particles that mimicked those comprising the basic outline of Jane’s physiology. As Jane put it, it transfers molecular energy from one place to another. Still awake? Good.
That’s not all the Asgardians were capable of creating, however. In Thor we knew that the Rainbow Bridge of Norse myth was actually an incredibly advanced interstellar portal, or, as Jane described it, an Einstein-Rosen bridge (which is really just a fancy way of saying “wormhole”). It’s clear the Asgardians have mastered interstellar travel, and it doesn’t look to be driven by unfathomable magic. The bridge itself clearly feeds the observatory with energy drawn from the city.
The thing about Asgard is, we know that a large part of it consists of actual, ineffable magic of the kind Doctor Strange would be familiar with. It isn’t technology that allows Heimdall to see every soul in the universe, and it isn’t technology that keeps Mjolnir from being lifted by the unworthy. Asgardians possess a limited number of mystical abilities as well as supernaturally long lifespans. That would have definitely aided in their civilization’s technological development. In fact, they seem to have perfectly melded technology with magic to create weapons such as the Destroyer, or Odin’s scepter.
Wakandans, on the other hand, has no magic to aid them. All they have is a huge mound of Vibranium and the unmatched intellect of their scientists, like Shuri (played by Letitia Wright).
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