Marvel’s upcoming “Black Panther” film is primarily set in Wakanda, the fictional self-imposed isolated African nation filled with high-end technology decades beyond the rest of the world. As a result it is markedly different from many other countries who were under colonial rule over the years.
Speaking with CNET, the film’s leading man Chadwick Boseman says that isolation and self-sufficiency is crucial to his portrayal of T’Challa and Black Panther. That includes his character’s accent which remains Wakandan without any European or American influence. In a lengthy answer, he explains why he took that approach:
“People think about how race has affected the world. It’s not just in the States. Colonialism is the cousin of slavery. Colonialism in Africa would have it that, in order to be a ruler, his education comes from Europe. I wanted to be completely sure that we didn’t convey that idea because that would be counter to everything that Wakanda is about.
It’s supposed to be the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. If it’s supposed to not have been conquered – which means that advancement has happened without colonialism tainting it, poisoning the well of it, without stopping it or disrupting it – then there’s no way he would speak with a European accent.
If I did that, I would be conveying a white supremacist idea of what being educated is and what being royal or presidential is. Because it’s not just about him running around fighting. He’s the ruler of a nation. And if he’s the ruler of a nation, he has to speak to his people. He has to galvanize his people. And there’s no way I could speak to my people, who have never been conquered by Europeans, with a European voice.”
Boseman’s character, first introduced in last year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” will show up in both “Black Panther” in February and “Avengers: Infinity War” in May.