One of the coolest parts of Avengers: Infinity War was seeing Okoye played by Danai Gurira running into the fight right along the Avengers. All of the women in Black Panther are super heroes in their own right. Entertainment Weekly thought so too and they asked Gurira, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, and Lupita Nyong’o how each of their characters are heroes. Bassett, who plays T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda, in a society with that values women and mothers.
I think in her position she has a great deal of wisdom – and appreciation for generations coming after her. Her son is becoming king. She has the fine balance of mothering him, of being there for him and being proud of him and letting him go. She’s visionary in that she perhaps sees what he will become more clearly than he can. I think in another time and another place she was a warrior as well. She’s a support for these women around her and all that they are truly capable of being and doing. She loves unconditionally.
Wright plays Shuri the younger sister of T’Challa and one who makes all of the Wakanda tech. Some material has said that she’s smarter than Tony Stark and she’s only sixteen.
What makes Shuri a superhero is not the physical side. Superheroes are usually very strong or masculine. They’ve got some muscles. But… [Starts giggling] This is why mum needs to be here, because she keeps us balanced! But I think what makes Shuri a superhero is the way she thinks. Her mind is a weapon. … When I read the comic books, she’s serious all the time. With the script they wanted her to be smart, but she is so much fun. She picks on her brother, and she makes jokes – even if it may not be a joke. [Laughs] She’s witty and sharp. Always got something fiery to say.
Nyong’o plays Nakia who has been described as the James Bond type of character. She travels the world and spies on people to try and keep Wakanda safe. We don’t get many female spies that aren’t using just sex appeal to do their spying. Nakia appears to be a warrior and able to fight just as hard as everyone else.
What I love about Nakia is she’s worldly. She speaks many languages. And she’s a chameleon in a sense. She is at once extremely rebellious and wants to do her own thing, but wants to do well by her country. I love that tension in her. I love her relationship with T’Challa. It’s … complicated. [Laughs] That’s the Facebook status.
Gurira plays Okoye the general of the Dora Milaje the all female set of warrior that specifically protect the royal family. We got a peak of them in Captain America: Civil War and Okoye is their general. She very much values tradition and believes in her soldiers who fight as one.
I envision her as a very intense young girl, who was competitive, but in a good way. She’s part of the border tribe, and very connected to the idea of nation protection. She’s a protector. I imagine her as a very focused 12-year-old. [Laughs] There was this idea I had whenever Okoye or any of the army are in the streets, that little girls look up to them and want to wear that uniform one day. She was once that little girl. She has been a very one-track-minded person. She is a very strong traditionalist. She believes in holding the country together.
The various women in the Black Panther corner of the Marvel universe haven’t been introduced to everyone yet but if the trailer for Infinity War are anything to go by we’re going to be seeing more of these badass ladies in upcoming movies.
Summary: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Black Panther, directed Ryan Coogler, stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman. It will be released on February 16th.