As Black Panther rolls into theaters on February 16, 2018, it will make history as the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to center on a black superhero. Not only is the movie’s star of African descent, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman are the only two actors in it who aren’t.
The Ryan Coogler flick will also be a trail blazer because of its many female characters, none of whom serve as eye candy or damsels in distress. These are badass women who haven't been pitted against each other to conform to the clichÃ©d female-rivalry narrative.
Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o ) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) stand out among the movie’s strong female characters, and the actresses shed some light on their characters during a new USA Today interview.
Nakia is a global operative for the Dora Milaje, the all-female Wakandan Special Forces. Nyong'o described her as a "war dog", and added:
She's very passionate about her work.
Nakia has a complicated romantic history with T'Challa. According to the 34-year-old Kenyan-Mexican actress, their relationship is "significant" in the upcoming MCU installment. She said that her character "has to decide where her allegiance lies and what comes first" when opposing forces challenge T'Challa's reign.
While Nakia doesn’t hesitate to question her society, Gurira described Okoye as a traditionalist with a wry sense of humor who’s driven by her loyalty to Wakanda:
It's her job to take care of it, and she takes that job seriously.
The 39-year-old Zimbabwean-American actress also shared her thoughts about Wakanda, which is an "astoundingly cool" place:
It's a world that is utterly plausible and tangible, and yet a little larger than life at the same time.
USA Today also shared this new photo of Okoye and Nakia, as well as Florence Kasumba as Ayo:
Early box office tracking points toward a $90 million domestic opening weekend for Black Panther, which means that the movie will open just $4 million short of Justice League. However, the MCU installment’s debut may eventually surpass Justice League’s. A new poll by Fandango (via USA Today) suggested that Black Panther ranks second among the most highly anticipated movies of 2018. The movie falls in line after Avengers: Infinity War, and ahead of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.