Spoilery Thoughts on Next Black Panther

This contains spoilers for Avengers: Whatever Whatever and Spider Man: Far From Shabby.

So I found out while watching the new Spiderman movie on my b’day yesterday that the people who had been snapped out of existence by T. Hanos were de-snapped 5 years later having not aged a day. For the purposes of spidermanning, it meant some kids were younger than their little siblings, which is kinda funny. But I started to think about the ramifications for other parts of that world.

Wakanda lost a king and got a replacement that was immediately rocked by some turmoil. Then that king got snapped, along with half of Wakanda, after battling and losing against an alien Grimace. I can’t imagine the average Wakandan thinks highly of T’Challa given those events, and do think they’d be quick to blame it on T’challa opening the borders.

I know some of the Black Panther comics involved dealing with movements for Wakandan democracy, but haven’t read them and don’t know how they went. But it’s a really safe bet the next Black Panther movie is going to include some amount of that.

T’Challa is going to come back to a kingdom in some level of turmoil. Maybe his mom will be acting as a regent, maybe his sister be queening. Maybe they will have capitulated to some form of democracy or republic. And you know there will be an agitator who is xenophobic, maybe racist, pushing to become a strongman “reformer” …

What I’m saying is I’d like to see if they make a bad guy of an African Trump. I don’t know how I’d feel about that kind of character being held up as symbolic of democracy itself, opposed only by an ostensibly righteous monarchy. That’s a mess. But it might be funny to see that orange scrote lampooned in the film. What do you think?


  1. lanir says

    It could make for an interesting, very nuanced story. But honestly? The people who most need to see that and learn something from it would never make the connection. Trump wouldn’t be a minority to them, ever. It would be hard to make enough references obviously enough without turning it into a ridiculous farce.

    Messaging about democracy as a cover for fascism could also be an interesting and nuanced story. But the people you’d really, really hope would latch onto that are already seeing the same thing unfolding in realtime in all it’s racist glory and they choose not to see it. So I think they’d either see “colored man = villain” or “Trump-like figure talks about supporting democracy = good” and that would be it.

    It’s possible to do, but it’s very hard to give people a compelling reason to re-examine their assumptions. At least when those assumptions tell them something positive about themselves. I think there’s a real danger when the story you’re telling can be interpreted as supporting their assumptions instead.

  2. lanir says

    People can understand something simple through repetition. So if your story is all tropes and the critics hate it because it’s predictable then you’ve gone about as far as you can in this direction. It’s a lousy story but hey, it’s hard to misunderstand.

    I think trying to avoid trivial misconceptions by understanding your audience is not the same thing as making something that won’t be misinterpreted. And as you see with politicians, anyone who is willing to deliberately misconstrue what they see and hear can always walk away with the wrong message because they can always fall back to constructing the message they want out of wholecloth. But most average people, even the average groupie who gobbles up everything their chosen heroes say doesn’t do this. I think most people go along with a message because they believe their heroes not because they believe in the cause enough to deliberately lie to themselves. If I’m right it means you can still get through to groups of assholes with a message they don’t like, eventually. But you have to start at the edges and work your way in before contradicting core messaging. And along the way you have to make sure you don’t accidentally reinforce the messaging you want to topple.

    I’m not necessarily right though. Maybe this is just what my personal brand of optimism looks like.

  3. says

    lanir – u might be right, tho it doesn’t line up with my perception, i could totally be wrong. haha.

    cripdyke – grazzi. far from shabby was cute and a good time. i kinda wish we could have more of this version of spiderman than the allotted three movies – especially if we keep most of his extended cast.

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