Sitting in a room with the cast of Black Panther was pretty epic. Having seen the film the night before at the Black Panther World Premiere, I was so excited to hear what they had to say.
With Nischelle Turner from Entertainment Tonight as the moderator, she introduced the cast onto the stage one by one. At the end of it all, there sat before us Kevin Feige (producer of the film), Ryan Coogler (writer/director), Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman and Winston Duke. Excited is an understatement.
Here are some of the Black Panther Press Conference Highlights & Fun Facts from the Cast
Black Panther and its character development
***From the beginning they wanted to bring Black Panther into the Marvel Universe as a stand alone character but they felt the best way to introduce was in Captain America: Civil War
***Chadwick was the only choice for Black Panther. “…it may not have been this fast, but in my memory, we were sitting around a table, we were coming up with the story for Civil War – Nate Moore, our executive producer, thought – suggested bringing in Black Panther, because we were looking for sort of a third party who wouldn’t necessarily side with Cap or side with Ironman. And almost instantly, we all said Chadwick. And in my memory, although maybe it was the next day, we got him on a speaker phone right then.” – Kevin Feige
***Chadwick was in Zurich when he found they wanted to him play Black Panther. “We were in Zurich and I was coming off of the red carpet for Get On Up. And my agent was like, ‘You’ve got to get on the phone.’ And the crazy thing is I didn’t even have international calling on my phone [LAUGHTER] until that morning…” – Chadwick Boseman
***“…Ryan wrote this for the most part, you know, a year and a half ago, two years ago so things have happened in the world which makes the film seem more relevant. There are other things in the film that have been relevant for centuries, but the truth of the matter is Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and the whole Marvel bullpen created Wakanda and created T’Challa and created Black Panther and made him a smarter, more accomplished character than any of the other white characters in the mid 1960s. So they had the guts to do that in the mid 1960s. The least we can do is live up to that and allow this story to be told the way it needed to be told and not shy away from things that the Marvel founders didn’t shy away from in the height of the civil rights era.” – Kevin Feige
On watching Black Panther
***Michael B. Jordan was really nervous about the Black Panther World Premiere. “…I call Ryan the night before – or the day of. And I was like, ‘Man, I’m anxious; I’m nervous, man. I don’t know what to expect.’ And he says, ‘Look, man, just look at it and try to be a fan. Just watch it, you know what I’m saying, and try to enjoy it.’ I was like – in the back of my head, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s never gonna happen.’ [LAUGHTER] ‘But I’m gonna try.’…”
***Watching the movie for the first time at the premiere, Michael B. Jordan shared his thoughts about the experience. “…when I sat down with my family, you know, and this family, and you know, and then – and the audience, and I had that same type of reaction. It was like, man, this is what it feels like. There’s like, there’s nothing that I could have – I couldn’t describe that feeling before actually sitting down and watching that film. And seeing yourself on screen – not me personally, but people who looked like you – you know, empowered, and having those, you know, socially relevant themes, but in a movie that you want to sit down and watch, and you can enjoy, that Marvel does so well. So I think it was a really good balance, and everybody won; everybody did amazing, amazing jobs in performances…”
Their thoughts on the female empowerment theme that can be found in Black Panther
***Angela Bassett shared that in African culture, they feel as if there is no king without a queen and she feels that this story highlights the queen. “…In African culture, they feel as if there is no king without a queen. I think in this story, it highlights the queen, the warrior, the general, the young sister. So I was so proud to have my daughter, and my son there last night, because in their faces, and in their spirit – and they were feeling themselves. And they stood taller after last night.”
***“…There’s so many great things I could say about how Ryan developed these women characters, and allowed us to collaborate – that I’m just – I feel really blessed about, and excited.” – Danai Gurira
***“…what I love about it, as well, with how it was written is that the men are always behind the women. So no one’s like undermined…everybody’s got their own lane.” – Letitia Wright
***“…I think, when you talk about what Wakanda is, and what it would have to be in order to progress to the place that we saw – even though we’re talking about a fantasy – the idea of an unconquered nation, that has not been tampered with by the various means; the idea of the next generation being smarter, being better than you – is a concept that they would have evolved to that – so even though – we’re in the same generation, she’s my younger sister – she benefits from whatever I have reached. So you want your sons and daughters to be better than you were…So that concept is a Wakandan concept…” – Chadwick Boseman
Their experience working on and being part of this film
***“…this was a movie that we all felt a lot of ownership of, and that we thoroughly enjoyed making…” – Lupita Nyong’o
***“…it was just an incredible experience…I just think this film is so important and to be able to be part of something that is so groundbreaking and yes should have been made many years ago, but now is the time and now is a brilliant time because things are changing rapidly in every single aspect of filmmaking and so it should and the needle should swing right the other way because we need to really change things.” – Andy Serkis
Pulling from Black Panther Comic Books for this film
***“We actually pulled from all of them, you know. We pulled from like pretty much, you can go to our film and see something in there probably from every writer that has touched T’Challa’s character in the Black Panther comics. You know Stanley and Jack Kirby’s initial runs through, you know, Don McGregor, you know, Christopher Priest, Jonathan Hickman, you know and it’s on East Coast Black Age of Comics and Brian Stelfreeze’s run was a big part of it as well, you know, so we just kind of grabbed from all. The characters got a long history, you know, and it’s such a rich stuff to mine, you know. And each kind of writer kind of left their own mark, you know, on it like Claude’s been around for a long time. But you know Agent Ross was about Christopher Priest and that run and Suri’s character was about Reginald Hudlin and his run, you know, so each run kind of leaves something for us to pull from, but we pulled from absolutely all of them.” – Ryan Coogler
Want to know more about Black Panther and its characters? Click on the links below to read my exclusive interviews with:
- Lupita Nyong’o & Danai Gurira
- Forest Whitaker
- Daniel Kaluuya & Letitia Wright
- Andy Serkis and Winston Duke
- Black Panther Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter & Production Designer Hannah Beachler
You should also check out my Black Panther World Premiere Recap, the Black Panther Press Conference Highlights & Fun Facts from the Cast. Oh and my Black Panther Inspired Gift Guide for some really cool products you can collect, enjoy or give as gifts.
You are going to want to go and see Black Panther when it hits theaters on 2/16!
Want to know my thoughts on the movie? Click here to read my spoiler-free Black Panther Movie Review. Long Live The King!