Beyond its importance as a work of worldbuilding, however, what excites me about Black Panther—and sets it head and shoulders above any other work in the MCU, as far as I’m concerned—is the fact that it’s a story about worldbuilders. "Just because something works doesn’t mean it cannot be improved", T'Challa is informed by his sister, the bright-eyed inventor Shuri (Letitia Wright). And indeed, Black Panther and Wakanda are full of people who, despite living in a seeming paradise, keep asking themselves how they can make it better, and what responsibility they have to help improve the rest of the world.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
A Political History of the Future: Black Panther at Lawyers, Guns & Money
In my latest Political History of the Future column at Lawyers, Guns & Money, I discuss Black Panther, a genuinely remarkable movie that sets a bar that other MCU films are going to struggle to clear. There's been a lot of fascinating conversation about this movie, not least its importance to African-Americans as both the first MCU movie to star a black man, and a representation of a fictional African nation that is powerful, self-sufficient, and never colonized. In this essay, I discuss how that act of worldbuilding puts Black Panther squarely in the tradition of utopian SF, and how its utopia is enriched by the film's deep interest in blackness and African heritage. As I write in the essay, it's interesting to compare Black Panther to Star Trek: Discovery, and find that the movie delivers exactly what I was looking for in that show.