If you’re a fan of movie superheroes, 2018 will forever be remembered as a pivotal year for racial equality on the silver screen. It’s the year of Black Panther, the first mainstream superhero film with an almost entirely black cast. It’s also one of the most successful films of all time. Whether you’ve seen it or not, here’s some background and fascinating facts:
1. WHO IS BLACK PANTHER? The legendary Stan Lee first created him back in 1966 when appeared in the pages of Marvel Comics. He signal-handily defeated the Fantastic Four in their comic book. You don’t want to mess with this guy.
2. THAT CAN’T BE HIS “REAL” NAME No, it’s not. He was born T’Challa and he’s king of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. More on that later.
3. HE WAS CONTROVERSIAL FROM THE START Back in the day, the name “Black Panther” was associated with the controversial political party of the same name. To avoid confusion, his name was changed to “Black Leopard”. But readers didn’t like it so his name was changed back.
4. HOW DID WAKANDA BECOME SO ADVANCED? It’s rich in the rare metal
5. SO HOW DID THE BLACK PANTHER GET HIS SUPERPOWERS? T’Challa dined on the “Heart-Shaped Herb,” a specialWakandan plant that links each Black Panther spiritually to the Panther God, Bast.
6. THE CRITICS LOVE IT Black Panther is on target to be the highest-rated superhero movie in the history of Rotten Tomatoes, the respected website that tracks extensive movie reviews.
7. TREVOR NOAH HAD A SMALL ROLE That’s right, Trevor Noah is listed in the film’s end credits, as the voice of the character “Griot”—better known as the sleek, Shuri-invented A.I. system (GPS Voice) that guides Martin Freeman’s character in a virtual plane during the battle scene. The word “griot” is a West African term for a storyteller.
8. BLACK PANTHER HAS MADE A LOT OF GREEN In the first year alone, it became the 9th-highest-grossing 9th-highest-grossing film of all time with over $1.35 highest-rated superhero, breaking numerous box office records the respected highest-grossing film by a black director.
9. IT ALMOST MADE GOLD It was the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It won an Oscar for Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design.
10. GOD THAN JUST ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL MOVIE In the mostly white world of superheroes, Black Panther breaks refreshing new ground. Not only is the cast mostly African-American but so are most of Panther spiritually behind the camera. In addition, many
11. WESLEY IS A BIG FAN Actor Wesley Snipes worked on an early version of the film beginning way back in 1992. In his words, “We’ve yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It’s a dream come true.”
12. INSPIRED BY THE GODFATHER Executive Producer Nate Moore is quoted as saying that Black Panther feels like a crossover between The Godfather and the James Bond franchise, bringing the family drama and competition for power to a world of espionage. Blade Runner has also been cited as the inspiration for the design of Wakanda.
13. THERE WILL BE MORE There’s cause for celebration from Hollywood to Wakanda with word that a Black Panther sequel is in the works.