It’s impossible to quantify the impact that Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER had on the cinema landscape. Released in 2018’s Black History Month, the film made history, broke records, and changed the perception of how Black men and women are not only portrayed on-screen but accepted by white, Asian and Black audiences. Its success dispelled the persistent myth/conventional wisdom that Black films don’t play internationally (where a Black film is one with a Black lead in an African-American themed narrative).
As a writer of genre fiction and lover of science fiction and comic books, we’ve noticed over the decades that it’s rare to find Blacks who share our proclivities (just ask a random black person if they’ve seen BLADE RUNNER, 2001, CHILDREN OF MEN, ALIEN, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC, DUNE, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and the majority of time the answer will be “nope”). These films aren’t too compelling to Black audiences for two potential reasons; one) Blacks have rarely been depicted positively in science fiction and two) the bleak existence so many Blacks face in modern-day America precludes them from considering the far future, let alone other planets.
So when a film like BLACK PANTHER comes out and elevates Afro-futurism to the mainstream, it can’t help but inject the long-denied self-pride into huge swaths of Black people, across the globe. “Wakanda Forever” isn’t just a catch-phrase in the film, it’s a rallying cry that Blacks can no longer be considered at the bottom of the socio-political totem pole.
Hilliard and Chris chopped it up with the co-writer, Joe Robert Cole, for the WGA’s podcast 3rd & Fairfax. Joe is doing BIG things, as he discusses how he hasn’t really been able to capitalize on the success of BLACK PANTHER as he was so tied up with other writing and directing obligations… so best believe the next four or five gigs he lands are going to be at the mountain top.