Marvel’s “Black Panther” is widely regarded as one of the most groundbreaking superhero films of all time. The movie follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), king of the fictional African nation Wakanda. Under the moniker Black Panther, T’Challa defends his nation from a variety of outside threats, including the ruthless rogue black-ops soldier Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Read on for some little-known facts and fascinating bits of trivia about the making of this blockbuster film.
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10 remarkable facts about Black Panther
1. Chadwick Boseman took inspiration from legendary African leaders
To prepare for the role, Boseman threw himself into some intense research. He based his character on a number of real-life figures, such as Nelson Mandela, Shaka Zulu, and Patrice Lumumba. He also made multiple trips to South Africa, where he met with local tribal leaders and studied various forms of martial arts and other combat styles.
2. Killmonger’s scars aren’t CGI
That’s right, the scars that cover Erik Killmonger’s body are totally real. Each scar is a piece of individually sculpted silicone. There are over 90 scars covering his body, which took roughly two hours to apply. Actor Michael B. Jordan would have to spend an additional two hours to have them removed after a day of filming.
3. Danai Gurira shaved her head daily for her role
Fans know actress Danai Gurira for her role as zombie hunter Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” For her role as bodyguard Okoye in “Black Panther,” Gurira was required to re-shave her head every day to apply her tattoo makeup. All told, the process could take up to three and a half hours.
4. Angela Bassett’s wig was incredibly intricate
Actress Angela Bassett plays Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother. For the role, she wears a striking waist-length silver wig. That wig is actually made from 120 pieces of hair. The hair was then hand-rolled into dreadlocks to create the finished wig.
5. Wesley Snipes almost played Black Panther
Back in the 1990s, actor Wesley Snipes began production on a Black Panther movie as a personal project. The production was eventually scrapped for a number of reasons, including the fact that Snipes was already playing vampire hunter Blade, another Marvel character. When production began on the 2018 version of “Black Panther,” Snipes was quick to give his blessing to the project.
6. Wakandan is a real language
The language of Wakanda is actually based on a real language. The dialect is primarily based on Xhosa, one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. Star Chadwick Boseman was taught the language by actor John Kani, who portrays T’Challa’s father in “Captain America: Civil War.”
7. The movie’s composer compiled multiple sources for the soundtrack
To write the movie’s Oscar-winning soundtrack, composer Ludwig Göransson made a lengthy trip to South Africa. While there, he spent several weeks working with local musicians to research the sound he wanted to create for the movie. He also worked to incorporate a variety of traditional African instruments into the soundtrack, such as the talking drum.
8. The movie broke Twitter records
Hype for “Black Panther” reached epic proportions on social media. On Twitter, in particular, the movie was tweeted about an estimated 35 million times. This made “Black Panther” the most-tweeted about movie ever, with an average of about 559,000 tweets made about the movie in a single day. To put that in perspective, the average film only garners about 100,000 tweets per day.
9. It also broke a 35-year movie ban in Saudi Arabia
“Black Panther” also broke down other barriers across the globe. As part of a series of strict traditionalist policies, cinemas had been outlawed in the nation of Saudi Arabia since the early 1980s. After the ban was lifted in late 2017, “Black Panther” became the first movie to be shown in the nation in over three decades. The premiere was attended by a host of diplomats and influential figures from around the region, including Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information.
10. Hundreds of costumes were made for the movie
The intricate costumes of “Black Panther” drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter combined elements of traditional African tribal garb with more modern influences from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan. In particular, the dress of Tuareg, Zulu, and Xhosa tribes heavily inspired the movie’s clothing styles. Over 700 different costumes were created for the movie by Carter and her team. Thanks to her imagination and skill, Carter became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design.