Home Entertainment Marvel initially wanted to give Wakandans a British accent

Marvel initially wanted to give Wakandans a British accent

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While perhaps not the best Marvel movie ever (my vote still goes for the last two Captain America films and Avengers 1 and 3), it’s perhaps safe to say that Black Panther was the most important Marvel movie ever made. And it not just because it starred a mostly black or even because of its female empowerment, but rather because it went a long way to changing the perceptions that people have of Africa being a continent that is only reliant on the first world to survive.

It was also a movie that wasn’t afraid to embrace African heritage and culture and show that it can co-exist with a modern technologically savvy society. It was a movie that the world needed and its release in a time when racial divisions are on a high was a heartfelt reminder that the colour of our skin or language we speak has little bearing on who we are as people. And also that Africans can play just as much a part of changing the world as all the other economically stronger countries.

And it also got to give little-known language outside of South Africa, isiXhosa and its accent, a good showcase to the world. That last part though might never have happened had Marvel stuck to their initial plans which was to give Wakandans a British accent. Chadwick Boseman, who plays the role of T’Challa (a.k.a. Black Panther) revealed the news on a recent The Hollywood Reporter Podcast and how he had to fight against Marvel’s first decision and insist on authentic African accents:

They felt that it was maybe too much for an audience to take. I felt the exact opposite — like, if I speak with a British accent, what’s gonna happen when I go home? It felt to me like a deal-breaker. I was like, ‘No, this is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?’

And obviously it was the right decision to make. While a British accent might have been better on the ear for the majority of Western audiences, it would’ve only perpetuated the idea of African colonisation and considering that Wakanda, as a fictional country, is meant to be a tech-savvy country that fully embraces its African roots it just wouldn’t have felt authentic and would’ve robbed the characters of part of what made them so special and unique to the movie world – their “Africanness”.

We can be grateful that sanity prevailed at Marvel and that it got to create a movie like Black Panther which the world can now look back on as a triumph. The world needed to see Africa at its best and thankfully every aspect of that, including the accents, was delivered through Wakanda.

Last Updated: September 4, 2018

9 Comments

  1. Original Heretic

    September 4, 2018 at 11:36

    I full agree with everything in this article.
    I felt the same way after watching Lord of the Rings. “This is how awesome life would be if only the elves would come out and play more often.”
    So glad that Sauron got his butt kicked. Living under his yoke was terrible.

    Reply

  2. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    September 4, 2018 at 13:44

    A bit of a misrepresentation of Africa in general, but hey, i’m sure the masses understand that Wakanda is fictional.. Not that sure, not even remotely sure, just hopeful.

    Reply

    • Gardos

      September 5, 2018 at 09:19

      I wish I was as optimistic as you

      Reply

  3. Nigel Alan Smith

    September 4, 2018 at 15:23

    So how much did you cringe while writing this article for a subpar marvel movie

    Reply

    • Pariah

      September 4, 2018 at 16:52

      The movie was about on par for Marvel. Which doesn’t say much, but it’s par for Marvel.

      Reply

  4. Social Justice Jim Bot v 1.5

    September 4, 2018 at 19:41

    Sadly, It goes both ways though, isn’t it racist to assume that all Africans sound like South African isixhosa speakers? We have close to 2000 different languages on this continent. Countless different ethnic groups….

    I can’t think of anything more condescending than “woke-ass” white people (from the US) telling us how Africans should sound.

    Sigh.. SJWs really get my piss boiling with their retardation.

    Here’s a live broadcast from Nigeria. No, they don’t sound like the Wakandans.

    Reply

  5. Gardos

    September 5, 2018 at 09:21

    Michael B Jordan with a British accent would’ve driven most people over the edge

    Reply

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