There is a lot of excitement and buzz around Marvel’s next biggest film, Black Panther (it’ll probably be bigger than Thor: Ragnarok). Entertainment Weekly recently released several stills from the film and took a deep dive into what makes all the characters tick. Speaking with EW, The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira discussed her Black Panther character Okoye, how she’s an “extremely proud Wakandan,” and how her role as protector is not only for the royal family, but for Wakanda itself.
“She is an extremely proud Wakandan. She’s very proud of her people, her country, and her heritage. She is a traditionalist. She is rooted in what is, what has been done, how we do things as Wakandans. How we have done things, and how that must be preserved. She is a lover and protector of her people and of the throne. To protect the throne, you are protecting the core institution of the nation, which allows it to thrive. She has a deep passion and connection to her country, to her people, and to the very special nature of who and what they are. Preserving that is something that is at the core of who she is.”
Gurira also detailed exactly who the Dore Milaje are and what Okoye’s tattoos represent in Black Panther.
You can look at it from various ways. The Dora Milaje have been rendered differently through various editions of the comic book. There has been quite an evolution. The evolution into them looking somewhat like what I have going on right now is probably one of the most recent additions you will find. It is very specific to these women, who have dedicated themselves and their lives to the protection, honor, and preservation of this kingdom. That comes with its markings.”
She also goes on to say that the Dora Milaje “are not utopic” and that they serve the Black Panther and the Wakandan nation, acting more “like a Secret Service.”
“They are not utopic, but what Wakanda has down well is it has honored people by allowing them to function within their strengths. These women are functioning within their strengths. Their strength is to preserve Wakanda in a Special Forces-type way. It’s more like a Secret Service in a sense that it’s also very much about intel. It’s not just military. She is head of intel. She is a busy woman.”
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Sterling K. Brown, Andy Serkis and John Kan.
Black Panther will be released in theaters on February 16, 2018.