If you’re anxious to learn about the plot for the upcoming Black Panther solo movie, consider picking up a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s critically-acclaimed Black Panther comic. Actor Chadwick Boseman revealed in an interview that he, director Ryan Coogler, and the entire Black Panther production team have been reading Coates’ book as a key influence for the upcoming Marvel film.
While Boseman warns that the film won’t follow the exact plot of Coates’s story arc, he says, “You definitely can tell that Ryan is reading Ta-Nehisi, and I’m reading Ta-Nehisi, and the producers are reading Ta-Nehisi. If we didn’t read what Ta-Nehisi is writing, we would be foolish.”
The first arc of Coates’s Black Panther book is set in the fictional African land of Wakanda. Local uprisings have forced T’Challa to reexamine his status as a ruler. A revolution brews in Wakanda, and T’Challa is forced into extreme political situations.
Coates draws from African history as a basis for forming the political environment of Wakanda, and Boseman says that they intend to keep that inspiration. There’s even speculation that the recently cast Michael B. Jordan, who will play Wakanda rival Erik Killmonger, will serve as a political threat to T’Challa.
Boseman also suggests that the film will borrow from Coates’s prominent use of Wakanda’s female characters. Coates, along with authors Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey in their spin-offs, all explore the Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s female bodyguards. Boseman says, “The women are strong characters. They have a point of view and their own political interests.”
Audiences will remember the unnamed Dora Milaje in Captain America: Civil War threatening Black Widow to move or she “will be moved.” The character, played by Florence Kasumba, could see a return alongside actresses Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira who also joined the cast.
It’s clear that as one of the most talked about comic books this year, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s interpretation of Black Panther casts a huge shadow over any Black Panther project. Roxane Gay will join him in defining our contemporary understanding of Wakanda when she pens World of Wakanda for Marvel this year. Here’s hoping the Black Panther team grows large and diverse enough to make multiple adaptations and authorial voices possible.
Black Panther premieres on July 6, 2018.