This article was originally published by i-D UK.
The narrative around superhero films has historically been one of whiteness and male-dominance. Ryan Coogler's fantastic new film adaptation of Marvel's Black Panther changes this, triumphantly. It's a story that celebrates the strength, beauty, and power of men and women of African descent, and breathes new life into genre.
The comic book character Black Panther, the first superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics, was initially conceived in 1966, first appearing in comic Fantastic Four #52. The Black Panther, whose real name is T'Challa, is the king of Wakanda — a fictional East African Nation powered by the precious element vibranium.
Over half a century after the comic book was first printed, Marvel has brought this futuristic African utopia to the big screen featuring Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, and Letitia Wright in starring roles.
From bringing modern black superheroes to the Marvel universe and theaters across the globe, to taking in the entire African diaspora in such a meaningful and impactful way, and presenting female characters as powerful as their male counterparts, Coogler's Black Panther is truly a moment in time. The reviews are unanimous: this film changes the game. In case you need a little more convincing, we went down to its London premiere and met the stars and director to find out why the film means so much to them.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is in theaters February 16.