Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, isn't ready to assemble.

The Black Panther may reign over Wakanda, but the Dora Milaje are the true protectors of the resplendent nation. As the general of the royal armed forces, actress Danai Gurira plays the role of Okoye, the Dora Milaje’s fierce and cautious leader. Speaking from the set of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” Gurira talked about Okoye’s loyalty and the roles of strong women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As seen in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” Wakanda was isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. Just as they opened their doors, “Infinity War” brings the Avengers all together onto Black Panther’s playing field. To have the warriors meet the super heroes was exciting for Gurira, but brought up different feelings for her character, “I’m excited for all the connections she can and might make—through what she’s about to go through with these warriors and these Avengers, these super heroes. [Okoye’s] more cautious about that.”

Gurira continued, “She’s hasn’t been excited about outsiders. You’ll see that in a very clear way in the movie.”

As a deep traditionalist with the weight of protecting Wakanda and its King, leading the Dora Milaje, and adhering to Wakanda’s traditions and structures, all responsibility lies solely on Okoye’s shoulders. “The vocation of being a Dora is you’re learning how to be one from quite a young age,” revealed Gurira. “Her entire vocation has been to maintain this nation.”

These responsibilities and traditional values are what drives her apprehension of the Avengers. “[Okoye’s] always thinking about how many things can go wrong and how much she can control what could go wrong before it goes wrong,” explained Gurira. “There’s not a lot of control that she can have over something that’s coming that’s this massive. But that’s where her caution is. That’s where her concerns lie. It’s, of course, in her gut.”

The changes Wakanda faces such as the opening of the borders and revealing themselves to the world is what Gurira’s character must grapple with as we enter “Infinity War.” Gurira acknowledged the Dora will be tested more than ever before, “This is one of the biggest threats they’ve dealt with.” At the end of the day, she’s led by her King and goes by his decision.

Gurira was acquainted with her co-stars before the filming of “Black Panther,” which lead to a comfortability on set. The sisterhood continued on the set of “Avengers: Infinity War.” On her relationship with Angela Bassett, “I’ve always really adored Ms. Bassett and she’s always been so kind and gracious to me every time I’ve been around her. It was really beautiful, actually.” As for Gurira’s sisterly relationship with Lupita Nyong’o, “Lupita and I go way back, and we just worked together on my play, ‘Eclipsed.’ We are very much [like] close sisters — it was very much balancing off each other and supporting each other, and our thoughts and collaborations and how we were figuring out the language and everything. We were making sure we had fun because I’m the person that needs to be encourage-minded to have fun, and she made sure I did that.”

As for the King’s sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, Gurira was familiar with her from her London play as well, “I loved her from the second I saw her…saying, ‘This girl’s got fire.’ I loved her since then, so getting to be in this movie with her, it was amazing.”

The familial feeling continued off-camera with the cast spending time together solidifying their successful on-screen chemistry. “We had a good time together,” said Gurira. “Supportive, fun, lots of going out on the weekend, lots of bowling, going to [get] Nigerian food, partying. Mr. Addison [Henderson] and Chadwick made sure people always had a good time. It was actually a really awesome family of women and men. It was a great sisterhood. We took a lot of care of each other.”

To be a part of a massive Marvel film with so many female characters is something that spoke to Gurira, “It’s really thrilling. I’m insanely thankful to be alive at the moment I am alive, and I don’t take it for granted that so many women before me have had to navigate and push for more representation, and I get to benefit from the fruits of their labor. I’ve seen that evolution before I started acting to now. You can feel that, the shift, and it is a really exciting thing when you see there is a lot of attention paid to the position and the contribution to the female characters.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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The Dora Milaje meet the Marvel Universe in their own stories this summer!

In an interview today with Vogue Magazine, Hugo and Nebula Award winning writer Nnedi Okorafor revealed Marvel’s latest plans for the Dora Milaje…WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

Starting this June, Wakanda’s fiercest warriors are set for a three-part story that’ll see them team-up with Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers! In the first issue, written by Okorafor with art by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, the Dora catch wind of a Wakandan threat causing trouble in New York before leaping into action—with or without the Black Panther.

Okoye, Ayo, and Aneka are going on a globe-trotting mission to protect the realm at any cost. WAKANDA FOREVER starts here before continuing later this year in July’s WAKANDA FOREVER: X-MEN and August’s WAKANDA FOREVER: AVENGERS!

“I’m super excited about writing this storyline. Powerful disciplined African women with futuristic spears who faced their shortcomings and changed a nation? Oh heck yeah, I’m so there,” shares Okorafor. “Fans of the Dora Milaje can look forward to seeing them out in the world beyond T’Challa and the Wakandan throne’s shadow. They’ll get to see the Dora Milaje come into their own, while teaming up with the unexpected.”

WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 Cover by Terry Dodson

“As millions of moviegoers now know (and as comic readers already knew!), the Dora Milaje are the absolute coolest. And the rest of the Marvel Universe is about to learn this too when Okoye, Ayo and Aneka leave Wakanda on an adventure that will see them team up with Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers,” teases series editor Wil Moss. “Nnedi Okorafor and a talented team of artists will be telling one Dora Milaje story that runs through these three separate WAKANDA FOREVER one-shots. We’re lucky to have Nnedi on board for this—she’s an incredible novelist, and her recent BLACK PANTHER: LONG LIVE THE KING digital series proved that she’s a great comic book writer too. She’s come up with a crazy-tough problem for the Dora Milaje to solve—but if anyone can, it’s these crazy-tough women.”

Join the fearless trio of Okoye, Ayo and Aneka in all-new stories as they travel the globe to protect Wakanda on June 27 in Nnedi Okorafor and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s WAKANDA FOREVER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

 

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Chadwick Boseman shares his thoughts on opening Wakanda to the world!

Black Panther has been busy as the newly crowned king of Wakanda — dealing with his father, King T’Chaka’s death while trying to restore order in a country full of unrest. Now T’Challa will have to deal with a crisis of colossal proportions — Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” is coming to Wakanda!

In Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” in theaters now, viewers got a peek at the mysterious, technologically-advanced world of Wakanda. Why the notoriously elusive country decided to open its door to outsiders? The King himself—Chadwick Boseman—explains that T’Challa wants to do what’s best for the greater good. “You have a world problem with Thanos, a problem that affects everyone in the world. So Wakanda is on the world stage and we’re obviously advanced in a way where we can help with the situation.”

As for the Avengers, they’ll be awakened to new experiences once they step foot into Wakanda. “They’re in my world so it’s interesting to have them enter our space, which is not something that happens all of the time,” said Boseman.

He expanded on what it’s like to have the team members come together, “I think it’s important for us to give the flavor of Wakanda, and they’re really adjusting to our space. That will be part of the fun of the movie. And the Guardians entering it, obviously, there is a clash, all of that is conflict. It’s not conflict between us necessarily. It is an emotional, psychological, social conflict.”

Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)

“Avengers: Infinity War” is the largest assembled cast of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, which means the actors get to work with other cast members they may not have met before. “I can tell you what it feels like today. It’s fun to see, especially because we have not had a lot of opportunities to work together and when you look at actors that you respect and revere and you see them doing their thing, it’s not just about the characters but the cast members. It’s fun to listen to people tell stories,” mused Boseman.

Coming off the success of “Black Panther,” Boseman can now enjoy his place among the Super Heroes. “It’s a lot of pressure because I don’t have time to joke when we were shooting ‘Black Panther,’ it’s serious all the time. In this case, you don’t have all the weight on your shoulders, so you have more comfort. We’re sharing the weight. Which is actually what’s happening with the super heroes as well, because they could not deal with Thanos alone. I think there is a lot of comfort in having people who are so good around you.”

As for how the King’s warriors, the Dora Milaje, feel about the new visitors? Skepticism is obviously going to be the fiercely protective faction’s first assessment. “Infinity War’s” own Hulk, co-star Mark Ruffalo, joked that it’s very much a “there goes the neighborhood” situation.

Boseman agreed, “There goes the neighborhood, that is a good way of saying it.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers #InfinityWar on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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Brush up on some essential reads after your audience with the King.

Enjoy 1,000s of issues featuring Black Panther, Shuri, and all of the Marvel Universe. For a limited time, get MARVEL UNLIMITED for $5 a month and unlock over 20,000 digital comics to read any time, any place. Use code “PANTHER” at checkout. Offer valid until 2/28/18 11:59pm ET on annual memberships only.

You’ve just seen Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” and now want to learn everything you can about the young king of Wakanda. The character of Black Panther has been around since 1966 and has gone through many adventures over the years, from a variety of comic book iterations to a young adult novel. T’Challa is a leader and hero, through and through.

Here are a few things to read to get you up to speed on the Black Panther and his storied history within the Marvel universe now that you’ve visited Wakanda courtesy of “Black Panther.”

FANTASTIC FOUR #52 – #53
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby 

Fantastic Four (1961) #52

Fantastic Four (1961) #52

  • Published: July 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Let’s start at the beginning. Making his first appearance in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #52, Marvel’s first family were gifted a technologically-advanced aircraft from the people of Wakanda. Upon visiting the mysterious African nation, they meet T’Challa, the leader of Wakanda, and who later reveals himself to be the Black Panther.

In the continuation of the story, FANTASTIC FOUR #53 is when we find out that things in Wakanda are not quite as they seem and the country is rich with a rare metal known as Vibranium. The villain from Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” also gets his origin story in this issue — it’s revealed that in Ulysses Klaw’s drive to steal the Vibranium to make weapons, he killed the Black Panther’s father. In turn, T’Challa used one of the weapons which caused Klaw’s pistol to explode in his hand.

BLACK PANTHER (1998)
Christopher Priest, Mark Texeira, Vince Evans, and Joe Jusko 

Black Panther (1998) #1

Black Panther (1998) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Christopher Priest’s run on Black Panther reinvented the character for the modern era. Laying the groundwork for Black Panther’s big screen debut, the comic introduced Everett Ross and explored the complex world of the Dora Milaje, as well putting a spotlight on T’Challa’s political responsibilities to both the world and Wakanda.

BLACK PANTHER (2005)
Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. 

Black Panther (2005) #1

Black Panther (2005) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Screenwriter Reginald Hudlin took a super heroic approach to Black Panther, including a fight with a World War II-Captain America, leaving Steve Rogers defeated. Hudlin’s run is notable for introducing Shuri, T’Challa’s tech-genius sister. The character has become a fan favorite—thanks to Letitia Wright’s on-screen portrayal—and in Hudlin’s stories, Shuri gets her time to shine when she inevitably takes over as not only as Black Panther but the Queen of Wakanda.

BLACK PANTHER (2016)
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Sprouse, and Laura Martin 

Black Panther (2016) #1

Black Panther (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates’ BLACK PANTHER sets the world of Wakanda on the verge of a breakdown. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, as this story is set right after “Captain America: Civil War,” with T’Challa dealing with the death of his father, T’Chaka. The complications of being thrust into the responsibilities of the throne lie heavy with T’Challa, as Black Panther learns what it is to make decisions that affect the future.

BLACK PANTHER: THE YOUNG PRINCE
Ronald L. Smith

For new young fans of Black Panther, they can follow new adventures—set before T’Challa becomes king—in the young adult read, BLACK PANTHER: THE YOUNG PRINCE. This book written by Coretta Scott King award-winning author Ronald L. Smith, sets up T’Challa in a new world, faced with new decisions. T’Challa’s morals are tested, as well as his friendships, all setting him up for his role to someday be king.

Look for Black Panther again soon on the big screen when Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” comes out this May!

For even more Black Panther, follow @theblackpanther on Twitter and like Black Panther’s official Facebook page for all the latest news and updates!

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Wakanda Forever!

The cast of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” – Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), and Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger) – showcase the fiercest and most accomplished fighting team, the Dora Milaje, in a new featurette.

Learn more about the women who pledge their lives to the throne and the security of the kingdom above!

Get your tickets now for “Black Panther” and stay tuned for even more royal action in the coming days and weeks!

“Black Panther” hits theaters February 16! While you await the King, follow @theblackpanther on Twitter and like Black Panther’s official Facebook page!

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