Black Panther Extras Promote the Women of Wakanda

Black Panther Blu-ray

To draw attention to the imminent release of Black Panther on home video — you can rent the digital version starting tomorrow, with the Blu-ray release a week after, on May 15 — Marvel is promoting one of the special features, “The Warriors Within”, which focuses on the importance of the women of Wakanda (and how the actresses learned to fight). Here are two clips:

A photo gallery:

As well as these interview statements:

Lupita Nyong’o: “I love the way Black Panther represents women. Each and every one of us [in the movie] is an individual. We all have our own sense of power and we hold our own space without being pitted against each other. I think that’s a very, very powerful message to send to children — both male and female. In Black Panther, we see women going about their business and supporting each other. They argue with each other and have different points of view, but they are not pitted against each other and I think that’s extremely important. In doing this, audiences can get a sense of the fabric of Wakanda as a nation, where we see women alongside men and we see how much more effective a society can be if they allow women to explore their full potential.”

Danai Gurira: “When [director and co-writer] Ryan Coogler sat me down and talked to me about his vision for the movie, the story, the characters — and the women — I was floored because you don’t get to hear stories like this very often. It’s not often that you sit down and hear that type of a vision. It was amazing. There are so many great things I could say about how Ryan developed the women characters in the movie. I feel really blessed and excited by the fact he allowed us to collaborate, too. I love the fact that these women from the continent are very developed and very complex. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is something else. I just want to watch it, but now I also get to be in it.’

“I was immediately drawn to the idea of the Dora Milaje [an all-female, special forces security team]. I loved the concept of them, but it was incredible to see them come to life. I started to train with all these astounding women, and then we all started to get our heads shaved for the movie. I was the first to have it done, but then all the girls started coming in with no hair. One-by-one, we’d all been balded — but we were united together. That’s when our pride started to grow. We all started to embrace this symbol of power in these women. I love the moment in the movie where Okoye doesn’t want a wig. She doesn’t want to cover up her head. This is her joy and her pride, so she wants to walk in there with her bald head and that tattoo. I thought that moment was so subversive. It’s so subversive in the right way to say that you don’t have to have hair to be beautiful.”

Letitia Wright: “I think it’s great to see so many strong women in Black Panther because there’s a lack of them in cinema right now; especially black female characters. All these female characters in the movie are really well rounded, too. They are not just written one way. The women have a lot of complexity. It was really refreshing to see and it’s inspiring to be part of it, because it means a lot to me. I also love the way that the men are always behind the women in Wakanda. Nobody is undermined by the other sex. The men don’t stand around and say, ‘Shuri, you shouldn’t be into technology and math.’ They’re like, ‘No, go ahead.’ T’Challa says, ‘Go ahead, Sis. This is your department. This is your domain. Do your thing. Stay in your lane.’ I love that that’s the mentality of the king. It’s brilliant. Everybody’s got their own lane.”

Ryan Coogler: “When you look at African culture, you’ll often see gender roles that are different from the norm. You’ll find issues with gender dynamics in African culture in the same way you do in other cultures, but you’ll also find things that are different. Strong women and women’s influence on culture and society is something that cannot be overlooked. That was something that we really wanted to include in the movie, although it’s something that was present in the Black Panther comics as well. T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda, is a constant influence on his world. And T’Challa’s relationship with his sister is one of the more unique relationships in comic book films and action films. It was something that we looked at because there’s no super hero with a little sister — but Shuri is possibly the most important relationship in his life. That was something that we really wanted to explore. And then you have the Dora Milaje, who are these elite warriors in the country and it’s all women.

“This film had involvement from brilliant women from start to finish. They weren’t hired because they were women; they were hired because they were the best people for the job. That includes our cinematographer, Rachel Morrison; our costume designer, Ruth Carter; our production designer, Hannah Beachler; and our assistant director, Lisa Satriano. In post-production, the film was edited by Michael Shawver and Debbie Berman, who is from South Africa. I was blessed to work alongside these incredible women and to have their perspective and their fingerprints all over the project.”



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