Last week, I went to a talk by Professor Shakes, titled African Futures/ American Legacies: an Africana Perspective on Marvel’s Black Panther and Luke Cage. One of the things that stood out to me during the talk was when she spoke about the differences between the protagonist T’Challa and the antagonist Killmonger. Throughout the movie, T’Challa is a king with diplomatic responsibilities and gives the political perspectives on what they should be doing and how to run Wakanda. On the other hand, Killmonger is giving the more aggressive military perspective on how they should be handling the world from Wakandas point of view. Killmonger and T’Challa have very different ideas on how Wakanda should be run an that is one of the main sources of conflict in the movie.
Throughout the movie, the audience sees that Killmonger wants to start a race war and wants Wakanda to provide the weapons for the war. Professor Shakes talked about how a lot of people were upset that we did not get to see any part of the race war because the plan was never successful in the movie. In a lot of other Marvel movies, the villains plans start to succeed before the hero comes in and saves the day but it Black Panther, we didn’t see any of the race war. Professor Shakes was saying that Marvel has to be aware of their audience. It would be too intense and political for them to put a race war in a superhero movie. Even though many people would love to see it, there are also many people that would be upset by seeing it. I think that it was a tough call whether or not Marvel should have included a brief scene of a race war. It definitely would upset some people but sometimes it is okay to upset people and push the boundaries in movies like Black Panther.