“Wakanda in the house!”
Danai Gurira breaks into a smile on the Atlanta, Georgia, set of Avengers: Infinity War fully decked out in the intricate beading and glimmering gold armour of the Dora Milaje. (“This old thing?!” she laughed.) In Marvel’s massive team-up film, the Avengers will face their deadliest foe yet, forcing them to call upon Black Panther and the nation of Wakanda. “There’s just something so cool about the Avengers coming to Africa and coming to Wakanda, you know what I mean?”
“We really brought the Wakanda culture to the moment and that was experienced wonderfully by everybody,” Gurira told ET’s, Brooke Anderson. King T’Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman, agreed, emphasizing his desire to carry over the culture and a “freeness of spirit” from the Black Panther set to Infinity War.
“There’s a certain amount of comfort with Avengers because it’s been done before,” he said. “Although this is a different version of it — there are some new challenges — we’re all comfortable with each other and we have a lot of fun. Not that we didn’t have fun on the Black Panther set, but it was a new thing. You don’t quite know what it is, what it’s supposed to look like, what it’s supposed to sound like and feel like. It’s a lot more pressure and angst on the Black Panther set.”
Boseman previously appeared alongside Marvel’s Earth-bound roster of superheroes in Captain America: Civil War, but Gurira, who stars as Okoye, head of the Wakanda’s all-female armed forces and one of the breakout stars of Black Panther, is a new addition to the expanded universe. “We had just finished shooting our movie, so, it was almost like we just walked right into this one,” Boseman explained. “It felt almost like I didn’t have to welcome you because it’s like we were still shooting the same movie.”
“It was very cool for me just to see everybody. I hadn’t met everybody before. And there’s such a brother-sisterliness between us,” Gurira said of Boseman, “So it was awesome to see him on the set, but it was, like, a different set. And then meeting everybody, they were very, very welcoming and kind.”
In Infinity War, Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and more head to Wakanda to stand their ground against an invasion by the Mad Titan, Thanos (played in all his purple glory by Josh Brolin). For Johansson, she told ET that she is equally excited just to have more female heroes introduced into the MCU — “Thank God!“ — as a bit of balance to all of the testosterone.
“It’s more than a little bit,” Boseman chimed in.
“It’s not just me,” Gurira replied. “I come in with an army of women who look just like me. So, it’s kind of an injection of a different type of energy.”
The different energies of the Marvel universe come up a lot in conversation with these two, especially in regard to how the world of Black Panther will blend with everything that came before it. “Every one of those films has a different rhythm, a different style,” Boseman said of the other films that have led up to Infinity War. “I remember seeing Ant-Man like, I’ve never seen a Marvel movie like this! You want your movie to be as good, but then it’s gotta be its own thing. So, you get to be a part of that energy that you went to the theatres and watched and, you know, bought a box of popcorn and enjoyed. Now you’re part of it! It’s good to have your own thing and bring that to the movie as well.”
Following the historic success of Black Panther, Boseman and Gurira tease that fans will learn even more about the technology and the mysteries of Wakanda when Infinity War arrives on April 27. As with T’Challa’s first solo outing, Boseman hopes that viewers will also walk away with a deeper message from the comic book flick.
“These movies are obviously fictitious, but these characters put aside their differences for the greater good so that they can win so that people can live and have better lives,” he explained. “It’s what we need to do in real life. So, if [viewers] could take that away, beyond all the stuff blowing up and all of the tricks and the abilities, I think that the most important thing is that people put aside their differences.”
“That’s how we left Civil War, the differences were not put aside, so you come into this movie having to deal with that weakness that’s there,” Boseman finished. “The division creates the opportunities for your enemies to sneak in and take over.”