At an FX-sponsored cocktail party, our good friends at SlashFilm had a chance to speak with Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole, who’s responsible for The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and of course, currently hard at work on the Black Panther script (ably aided and abetted by director Ryan Coogler).
Before discussing the Black Panther script, Cole offered considerable accolades regarding Chadwick Boseman’s performance as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War.
“First, I think Chadwick did a phenomenal job in Civil War in setting the tone for him being a king, for the nobility. At the end, I thought his turn was fantastic and how he rose above his own vengeance. I think that was a great introduction to him.
Our standalone movie will begin shortly after Civil War ends. So we’ll be able to see him mourning and him starting to take command as king of his own nation. Lots of things are going to occur within regards to that. The country will be under threat from inside and out so we’ll learn what Wakanda is, that nation, as the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. Also, as Wakanda’s rise to prominence happens, it will affect the MCU moving forward which is really exciting.”
Cole continued, discussing how he’ll draw from other African countries to truly express Wakanda’s culture and heritage.
“Africa is such a huge nation. There are so many countries, each of them with different histories, mythologies, and cultures but what we tried to do was hone in on some of the history, some of the cultural influences and then extrapolate out in our technology, extrapolate out in how we see Wakanda and the different parts of the country and the culture of the country as well. So we wanted to root it in reality first and then build out from there, so we’d feel pretty authentic and grounded.”
Remember when actress Lupita Nyong’o “accidentally” spilled the beans regarding Black Panther’s two adversaries? Well, thanks to Cole, we now know one comes from “inside,” and another from “outside” of Wakanda. It’s this conflict on multiple fronts that forces Panther to seek outside helps, specifically the CIA. And who’s representing the CIA? We’re quite sure it’s Everett K. Ross (played by Martin Freeman), a mainstay in Black Panther’s previous Marvel Knights’ comic series before his translation to the big screen via Captain America: Civil War.
The inside threat? Erik Killmonger. The outside threat? It has to be Ulysses Klaue, the weapon’s dealer seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron bearing a certain, panther-shaped brand expressing poor decision making on Wakandan soil.
Black Panther hits theaters February 16th, 2016 and stars Chadwick Boseman as the hastily appointed king of Wakanda!