Episode Number: 112
Episode Title: Black Panther (2018) (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Ana: Hi space bees, I’m Ana.
Renay: And I’m Renay.
Ana: And this is Fangirl Happy Hour Special Edition: Black Panther.
Renay: Hello everybody. Today we’re here to discuss Marvel’s Black Panther, which has been a world-wide success, which we all knew it would be. We have our Marvel correspondent here with us today, and it’s been a while since she’s been with us. It is KJ!
KJ is an editor at the Hugo Award winning Lady Business; she is a fanfic writer, cat-lover, and an all-around awesome person. Thank you for being with us, KJ!
KJ: I wanna say that the last thing I was on to talk about was the first season of Jessica Jones.
KJ: It might have been. Or maybe it was Civil War, but now I can’t remember.
Renay: It’s been a while, because we’ve been a little bit upset at Marvel. At least I have. Upset at the comics side and then it sorta just leaked into the movie side. I mean, I didn’t even go see Spider-Man, and that has my fave, Tony Stark, in it, and I didn’t go to the theater to see that movie.
Ana: But did you watch it afterward?
Renay: No, I still have not seen Spider-Man.
Ana: Wow. This is an aside: have you seen, though, the Tom Holland Lip Sync Battle, in which he dresses—crossdresses—as Rihanna and then sings Umbrella?
Renay: I’ve seen gifs.
KJ: I’ve seen references to it. I haven’t actually watched it.
Ana: It is the hottest thing I have ever seen in my life.
Ana: I guess this is my secret—
Ana: —because he is twenty-one years old; basically a baby. And him dressed as a woman is the hottest thing I have seen. It made me think about things.
Anyway, this was the last Marvel movie and then we have Black Panther. Back on track. Back on track.
Renay: Black Panther was announced two years ago and everybody was excited about it. I remember the excitement really well. I was there within the excitement but I especially remember the joy that Black Twitter expressed and I don’t think that I have been as excited for a film in my life as excited as Black Twitter was for Black Panther. It was wonderful.
I enjoyed Black Panther a whole lot. I thought it was one of the most brilliant Marvel movies, which is saying something considering that Marvel Studios has been making movies for a decade now. This is their latest showing and it’s magical almost how good it is. And better than seeing the movie and enjoying it so much has been watching the joy from Black people seeing this movie and talking about this movie. Just following their twitter threads and just seeing how happy they have been, has made me so happy. Their joy is infectious.
Ana: It brings a wider sense of community, I guess, to the Marvel universe, because it feels like there is more people loving it and that feels greater because it represents more people.
KJ: I was excited for this movie. I was also a little worried because I couldn’t imagine that it would actually live up to the amount of expectations and weight that was put on it, but then it did. And that’s been kind of amazing, because I think it’s hard for a movie to live up to that kind of hype, and that kind of hope. The last time that happened, I feel like when Wonder Woman came out there was some of the same feeling around it, and it’s sorta like, “Please don’t be terrible, please don’t be terrible.” I don’t think it was quite as amazing as Black Panther but I think it was still really really good. So again to see it live up to the weight that was being put on it, and the hopes that were being put on it, for me that was very cool and very amazing. Seeing it happen again with Black Panther has sort of even more so.
Renay: The best decision that they made when planning this movie was to give it to a Black director.
Renay: If they hadn’t done that I don’t think we would be where we are.
Ana: Probably not, yeah.
Renay: And I thought about it, but Ryan Coogler who directed it is so young and so brilliant. He makes really, really good films. I think about how we demand that people who are marginalized be twice as good as cis white men, but then as you add marginalizations it just gets worse and worse and worse so you have to be twice as good, three times as good, four times as good. I think we’re gonna start seeing these young, super super talented Black artists come out and just reach heights of their careers and their artistry in their thirties and forties because they’ve had to push so hard against culture that wanted to erase them. I’m ready for it, cause I loved Coogler’s vision for this film. I loved all the cinematography; the costumes; so this whole crew that worked on this film—just hire all of them for everything, the end.
Ana: So what else has he done?
KJ: The two that he’s best known for, neither of which I have seen, are Fruitvale Station which was about the murder of Oscar Grant, and then Creed, which was a movie in the Rocky franchise.
Ana: I didn’t know it was by him.
Renay: And just to think about: those two movies and now Black Panther, which is—I’m really bad at film criticism and knowing where films fit, but Fruitvale Station I would definitely put as like a drama-art type film. Creed is obviously a sports film, but then Black Panther is something totally different because it’s this huge summer blockbuster that just dropped in February.
Those three films with all different tones and themes, and those are just where he’s starting, I mean he’s in his thirties. What are we gonna get from him if people keep giving him work? Can I handle a Ryan Coogler movie when he’s fifty? I don’t know. I might just crack open. I’d say this about N. K. Jemisin, too. How’m I gonna handle her books continuing to just get better and better and better? And I think it’s just because they’ve had to just be twice as good as everybody else. Now that they’re finally getting a chance to come out and tell their own stories and connect with their own communities, I just think that we’re gonna get all this amazing art if the White people don’t screw it up.
KJ: It’s always possible. [sigh]
Renay: For me as a White person coming to this film—I live in the South, and I’ve always lived in the South. Growing up, Black narratives were just ones of poverty and criminality. Where’s the joy? Because there’s so much joy in these communities, the ones that I know—because this is anecdotal—there’s joy and happiness and camaraderie and I just don’t see this reflected in media at all.
KJ: It’s an interesting thought, because—and hardly I’m an expert on this—it seems likely that there’s more of those narratives out there, but they aren’t marketed to White people. Black Panther is giant blockbuster that was marketed to a general audience—to a White audience—so we get to see it.
Tori The Cat: [meows]
KJ: I mean it seems like maybe they ought to be. It would be great if there were so many more different kinds of Black narratives and narratives about people of color so we can see—all of us—could see a broader type of representation and get a broader idea, a more accurate idea.
Renay: There was a movie last year that I missed that I don’t think was even in theaters that long here, that was called Girls Trip?
KJ: That was another one that was joyous and fun and got marketed to White audiences.
Tori The Cat: [mrrrs]
Renay: Your kitty is super excited, like, “Why are you talking to them and not me?”
I think that’s another good example of a joyous and fun movie with a primarily Black cast that did get seen by more general audiences, and I hope that we get more of that.
Ana: Isn’t there a similar separation within books too because you have—
Ana: —you have Black interest books and they put them separate in bookstores and that’s bullshit. Or maybe not…
Renay: I get really upset at my library, I’m like, “LIsten.” My library, because hello, I’m in the South, so this happens quite a bit. They’ll do “New fiction” or “Books about families” or whatever topic that they want, and it’ll be a bunch of random books by White people. And then in the front of the library next to it: “Urban fiction” with all these different kinds of books that would fit on these other displays.
Ana: I wonder if there is a usefulness there that we don’t see.
Renay: Is there? I would really like to know if there is.
Ana: There is so little representation it just makes it easier for people to find themselves if they go to that particular section.
Renay: The reason I get concerned is that back when I was making lists of books, more regularly, I would read commentary by authors of color who would be like, “don’t make lists of nothing but authors of color and segregate us away.” If you’re just making lists featuring only people of color, you’re contributing to a culture of side-lining our books from the genre. Because this was specifically SF.
Ana: And it’s the same discussion around panels, too. Enough with the panels about diversity, more panels that are diverse.
Renay: Yeah, so I think it raises a lot of interesting talking points.
But to go back to the film, because we’ve wandered, as we do on Fangirl Happy Hour, we’re #OnBrand still. To talk about the movie itself a little bit, I didn’t know what to expect going in, because I only watched one trailer, and I think I didn’t realize that the soundtrack was going to sound the way it did, so the first thing that really surprised me—like in a good way—was that the soundtrack it just so different than what I’m used to Marvel movies sounding like. But I think that the music in this film just sounded Black. Kendrick Lamar did this music, didn’t he?
Renay: So there’s a reason. And it was so unique. So that was the first thing that struck me about this film going into it. I knew it was going to look different, obviously, because I think there’s like two white dudes in this film and one gets killed.
Ana: Which to me was surprising. I didn’t expect them to kill him, to kill Andy Serkis just like that.
Renay: So not only does this film just look Black, it sounds Black. It’s just very disconcerting to go from seeing 2017 where we watched an all-white government be a complete asshole, to watching an all-Black government function in this film. But I think it just changed my perspective on the world to see this all-Black cast running a government no problem, being all—
Ana: Well, a couple of problems.
KJ: [laughs] Yeah, not no problems.
Renay: But I’m talking about in the beginning.
Renay: Even when he’s being challenged for the throne by M’Baku it still feels like the government is functioning appropriately.
KJ: I mean, they debate things but they have healthy debate and they vote, they come to decisions, well I don’t know if they vote exactly, because I don’t think Wakanda is a democracy—
KJ: It’s a monarchy—
Ana: It’s not—
KJ: He has advisers; he listens to them, that’s right. So it’s interesting to see the council in action.
Ana: But that’s one of the things that made me think when I came into this movie, especially having read the recent run by Ta-Nehisi Coates in which the very structure of Wakanda as a monarchy is being questioned in the comics and I feel like this is something that has to happen at some point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well, although I have no idea how they will solve it because he has to remain a king. But there is that element in the movie which is one of the things that maybe, Erik, questions and Nakia questions as well, and in the end even Okoye also questions—which is the depth of the monarchy itself and of the king and how much power does he have, or should have.
There were no answers in the movie—not concrete ones—and I think this is something that is going to be examined at some point in something that is part of T’Challa’s arc eventually, too. The challenge itself just seems like a terrible way of choosing a monarch, because eventually Erik Killmonger wins the challenge and becomes a terrible king, so it’s not a good way of choosing a monarch and I want to see whether this is going to be questioned at some point. Because it’s part of a tradition, but traditions were challenged throughout this movie. It has been a tradition of Wakanda to be apart from the world to protect the vibranium sources they have, but how much of that has impacted negatively the world and how much of it now has to be changed for them to become a part of the world?
Renay: I think the assumption here is that there’s going to be a trilogy. There’s no way it’s not going to be trilogy. There’s no way that Marvel’s gonna sleep on Black Panther 2 and Black Panther 3, and I really think that’s an interesting way they could go. I didn’t think about the monarchy that deeply, mostly because I was invested in T’Challa getting it back. Beat him up! Take it back!
Ana: This feels like a really, really not-good way of doing this.
KJ: It’s one of those things that’s just like a ritual that’s a thing that they do and they probably don’t think about the implications of it. They do it this way because they’ve always done it this way and it’s tradition and Wakanda does seem to be a nation that is somewhat steeped in tradition, and it never occurred to them that it was going to be an issue.
Ana: Until a bad person comes along.
KJ: Until suddenly it’s a problem.
Renay: So I’m really interested to see if they continue examine the structure of Wakanda, because the hero is T’Challa, but the real conversation about power and helping others and isolationism came not between T’Challa and Killmonger, but instead between Nakia and Killmonger, because it’s like they have the same idea but Nakia wants to do it in a more non-violent way.
And I think there’s probably some criticism out about the different approaches they take. We’re just going to link a fuck-ton of Black critics and reviewers talking about this film in our show notes so you can all go read every single word that they write about it. But watching it and seeing the two versions that Nakia and Killmonger want to take out into the world and how T’Challa reacts to both of them? T’Challa isn’t really wild about Nakia’s idea, but then Killmonger shows up and shows him the way it could go really badly if somebody wanted to do the same thing, but worse. So he comes round to Nakia’s position? The hero, the one with the best ideas, isn’t the actual titular character, it’s the ex-girlfriend.
Ana: That goes with the overall arc in this movie. In which I didn’t feel like Black Panther/T’Challa, was actually the central character. The central character of the movie was Wakanda.
Ana: And then how everybody else in the movie felt about it and what were their hopes for it. Because one of the most surprising moments was when there was a challenge and T’Challa fell in the river, and I said, “Oh, now this story’s gonna go with us following T’Challa is his recovery, and getting through his hero’s journey to go to back to win back his kingdom and his throne!” And that’s not exactly what it does. It actually moves away completely from him, and it centers the narrative on the women. Because the moment he falls down the river, it is Okoye, Shuri, and Nakia that take over the narrative. Each of them with their own stories that are completely unrelated to T’Challa.
This is the first time ever in a Marvel movie, in which the women had roles of their own. And they were all about their own affiliations to the country that they were from. And yes, they were grieving for T’Challa, but it was all about them, making choices that had nothing to do with the hero. For me, it was just the most incredible moment and in that moment, and when we saw Okoye saying, “No, I’m not gonna go with you because I owe my loyalties to the king” to only later realize that her loyalty should be to the kingdom, especially if the king is not someone that is worthy of her loyalty. In those moments is where I realize how lacking every other Marvel movie has been in terms of female characters! It’s where Wonder Women lacks too. Because we only have her.
Renay: I think it’s notable that we get the best female presentation from a Black man who considers himself to be an intersectional feminist.
Ana: Joss Whedon says he’s supposed to be one, too.
Renay: If Joss Whedon’s opened his mouth and said, “I’m an intersectional feminist,” I would rip out his tongue and jam it up his butt. That’s about how—where I am. But I think that’s important because intersectionality was coined by Kimberleé Crenshaw, a Black woman, a Black critic, thinker, and Ryan Coogler’s a Black director, and he’s adopted these really important concepts from the Black female feminist community and put it into his work. He listens to women, and it’s very, very clear that he listens to women and values them when you look at his narratives. Marvel, by clinging to a bunch of white male directors, kind of hobbled themselves creatively because it’s only when you get people who wanna be challenged, who want to really dig into the ideas that they wanna explore, outside of a cis white male perspective that you’re gonna get well-rounded characters.
I hate to be like this, because I don’t think that white male directors are bad directors, per se, I just think that their perspective has been so long the default. When I think I think about my favorite Marvel female characters now, two years ago I would have said Maria Hill or Daisy Johnson or Natasha Romanov, and that’s not gonna happen anymore, because there were so many amazing female characters in this movie. Who doesn’t love Shuri?
Ana: And they are all so different, too, and it’s not just one type of female character. You have the warrior, you have the leader, you had the science geek!
Renay: And they were no only those things? But they were also really complicated characters. You had the spy, but she was also like a—she was also great at fashion and then she could drive cars!
Ana: And she was a romantic interest.
Renay: That was hilarious, because it almost felt like an afterthought. Once the halfway point had come and nothing had really developed: there was no angst, there was no drama. I was like “Wow, are they just not gonna – they’re not gonna do it?” They’re just not gonna go there. It’s just gonna be a funny joke, haha he froze, and that’s gonna be it. And then the end, they slide it in there, and it felt perfect. Ryan Coogler did it.
KJ: I want to get back to something you were saying before about the Black director and intersection—who describes himself as an intersectional feminist. And it’s not just the director, though. I mean I feel like when I was watching the credits I saw way more women’s names in the higher level credits. I would have to look this up because I don’t remember if it was the cinematographer or the director of photography, but at least one of those was a woman. There are so few women at the highest level behind the camera, and I think that’s really important, too.
Renay: Yeah, because there’s this whole theory of lifting as you climb.
KJ: Mm-hm. But also just getting that whole perspective behind the camera makes a huge difference to what the camera work looks like and the photography looks like and how the women are framed.
Renay: We had this conversation when Mad Max :Fury Road came out, because the editing was done by his wife.
KJ: Yep. Same kind of thing. Having an almost entirely Black cast, many of whom were African and having a cast that represented so many different aspects of the diaspora – Africa is not a generic place, it has many different cultures and many different people, but seeing the breadth of that represented was really important. And the costumes and the jewellery and the make-up came from so many different African traditions.
Ana: That was a really cool twitter thread about that—
KJ: Yeah, wasn’t it?
Ana: —talking about where the fashion designers of the movies got their inspirations from, and they took actual clothing styles and traditional dresses from different cultures from different places in Africa, and they were represented all over the council.
KJ: I think having the tradition of Wakanda being made up from several different tribes also gave it – that you could see that these people came from several different traditions but they were all still Wakanda. They were all from one place, and then when the mountain tribe, when M’Baku came in they were so distinctly different. One of the things that I’ve seen a lot of reactions to—a lot of positive reactions to—from Black writers has been sort of representing this breadth of Africa and not this generic idea that unfortunately a lot of us have of Africa as this monolithic place, as opposed to a giant continent with so many different people and traditions and cultures. Just to see all that represented was really amazing. I don’t think a majority White production team would’ve done that.
Ana: Would’ve—no. Probably would not.
KJ: Or they would have done a really bad job of it
Renay: There was no way for Marvel to let this movie happen without Black people as the top of the creative chain. There was just no way. And a lot of movies you see the Black character reduced to like a comic sidekick. Here I thought it was wonderful that they flipped that script and put Ross in that role.
Ana: Well, they were still nice enough to give him a very heroic role.
KJ: But it was very supportive. He was following orders.
Renay: He was following the orders of a teenage girl, because Shuri told him what to do, how to do it, and he did it. And at the end when she was like, “Get out of there” he was like, “No, no, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna finish this job.” I’ve worked at enough jobs to have watched how White men treat Black women. This White male character has a very important job and expects a certain amount of deference and respect is just taking orders from this black young woman who is very clearly smarter than he is, and he just recognizes it and goes with it. It’s so rare. Dear White men: take a lesson. And I love that he gets shot down when they go and see M’Baku, I’m just like, “Yes, yes, so many times I wanted to do that.”
KJ: [laughs] That moment got a big laugh in my theater.
Renay: Sadly I saw it with a bunch of White people. They did laugh, but I wanted them to laugh more than they did. Especially at lines like, “Oh you brought me another broken white boy to fix.”
Ana: It was so good. Perhaps subtle to some, but very much in your face to most of us. But not over the top. It was just right.
Renay: The director and the people who wrote this film did a really good job of critiquing White supremacy in a way that would be palatable to White people. Because if you make it too harsh then people get defensive, which, whatever guys. Get over it.
KJ: And some people still are, but that was always gonna happen. There’s no way.
Renay: Yeah, you have me the extremist over here going, “You go harder, go harder!” No, they can’t, Renay, they have to appeal to racist White America, they can’t go harder. Fine, I guess.
KJ: Do we get to talk about Killmonger yet?
Renay: Oh, okay, who wants to talk about him?
KJ: I think it’s very easy to argue that he’s the best antagonist in the MCU so far. We can make cases for some of the others, but he was, in a series that’s had trouble with its villains and its antagonists, he really stands head and shoulders above so many of the rest. Partly because he doesn’t have—the things the things we have to compare him to have so awful, but they did a really amazing job of making him, if not right, at least very sympathetic.
KJ: You understand why he wanted to do what he wanted to do. On some level I could even be like, yeah, of course, of course you want to arm your agents and take over the world. I can’t blame you for wanting that. I might not think you’re going about it the right way.”
Ana: For me, the most heartbreaking moment of this movie was when he drAnk the purple flower and went back to look at his ancestors, and there was only his father in his tiny American apartment, whereas when T’Challa had done that, he went back all the way to everybody who came before. And there are two ways of looking at this. so for one side of his, his other side he was cut from because he was cut from Wakanda, but from his mother’s side who was an American woman, he was cut from it because he doesn’t know.
Ana: Because there is no way of knowing because slavery. And that was a beautiful moment in the movie that was heartbreaking, that was so essential for the understanding of this character, but is also yet another moment where the movie questions and examines White supremacy.
Ana: Like there are so many layers!
Renay: I didn’t even think about that when he went to see his father. It didn’t even occur to me, but now that you’ve pointed it out, holy crap.
KJ: I will say, if I could fault this movie for anything, it would be that Erik’s mother is never named, never seen, we don’t know what happened to her.
Ana: Oh, it’s true.
KJ: She’s just another anonymous missing mother. You know I would have liked, even if we never met her, at least some sort of throwaway. Maybe she’s dead, maybe she didn’t know about Erik’s father and who he really was but maybe she did. maybe she’s the one who radicalised him. We just know nothing about her.
Ana: We don’t know anything about her side of the family or her friends, so he could have had that on that side, but that would have changed the character forever.
KJ: She’s this giant question mark. We know nothing about her. I just wish there had been something more.
Renay: Just give her a name!
KJ: I know, right?
Renay: That’s all I ask, writers! Because coming from Final Fantasy I’m just so burned out on this, where you have missing mothers, dead mothers, and they don’t even get a name. They don’t even get a name! Just give them a name. That’s all you gotta do. You have two and a half hours max, just give them a name. Were they trying to say something about not giving her a name? Is that commentary on something?
KJ: Then make it obvious that that’s what you’re doing. Show me that you’ve done it on purpose and you have a reason for doing, as opposed to it just being an oversight.
Renay: So I think that was my literal only criticism about this film. I have no other critiques. Even with me—I don’t like a long fight scenes.
Ana: All the fight scenes were amazing!
KJ: They were so good though.
Renay: Yeah I don’t like long fight scenes. I don’t like long car chase scenes. I don’t like that stuff I find the characters more interesting, but in this film it was amazing!
KJ: That car chase was amazing!
Ana: That car chase! [wails]
KJ: That amazing.
Ana: That was so cool right, and it was the two women.
KJ: And the whole self-driving car part—the whole this remote driving thing.
Ana: I know, yeah.
KJ: That was so amazing.
Ana: The Okoye fight scenes; they were so good. And I kept looking at her just like, “I recognise this actress, where do I know her from, why don’t—” She’s from The Walking Dead. Michonne, one of my favorite characters.
Renay: On the Walking Dead she has quite a bit more hair.
Ana: The moment when I said, “I know this” was when she was wearing the wig, I was like she seems so familiar to me.”
KJ: Oh, it was the hair!
Renay: Yeah, she did a really great job of inhabiting this role, everybody was just on. Guys I love this movie. I love this movie more than I like Captain America: WInter Soldier and I never thought I would say that.
Ana: And you even got a Bucky cameo.
Renay: I was not expecting it. I didn’t know it was coming. I was like, “Oh my god, I want the adventures of Shuri and Bucky right now.”
That’s another point I wanted to raise with you guys to see your thoughts, someone was talking about whether this was gonna get a sequel—duh, it’s gonna get a sequel and a third movie, everybody knows that because there’s no way they’re not gonna do that after this successful of an opening. Iron Man did really well and sort of launched the whole MCU, and I think I saw somebody mention, oh I don’t want just a trilogy, I want a whole spin-off world. Give Shuri a movie. Give Nakia a spy movie. Or they don’t even have to be movie, do little mini-series on Netflix, because they already have that relationship with Netflix, so you could make a whole universe inside the MCU based on Wakanda. Dear Marvel: if you have somebody listening, please, just give Shuri her own movie.
Ana: We know that Robert Downey Jr, is gonna go very soon. Shuri for new Iron Man.
KJ: You know we already have a Black teenage Iron Man, Riri Williams. I think what they need to do is they need to introduce Riri and she and Shuri can be the new science sisters.
Ana: Science sisters.
Renay: I really think that Marvel’s done a good job of setting up—
Ana: —the next generation.
Renay: Yeah, a new future for the MCU. Because I was dubious. I’ll be hones. I’m super attached to Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, and I’m super attached to Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. And I guess, hmm, even though I’m really upset at her, but I guess I’m really attached to Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. I think they’ve set themselves up where they’re gonna have really great characters. I just really want that Nakia spy movie. I’ll be honest.
KJ: As much as I totally agree with you to being attached to that current cast—you know me and my Chris Evans levels of love—I could get just as attached to Letitia Wright, for example, as Shuri. Just as attached to Lupita Nyong’o, and even Chadwick Boseman. I love him in that role.
KJ: I loved him in Civil War. He laid the groundwork for this character really really well in this movie, so I think that they definitely have the charismatic cast playing these roles beautifully to set them up into the future, and if we aren’t already as attached, we certain—I’m think we will be.
Ana: I think that the only one we haven’t seen yet of the ones that have been announced is Captain Marvel, right?
KJ: Right. That’s not coming out until next year.
Ana: Yeah, so we haven’t seen anything about her.
KJ: I’ve seen a few early set pictures.
Renay: So, I get so bummed because I know a lot of people are tired of Tony Stark.
Ana: I’m not tired. I love him, too.
KJ: You need to watch Homecoming. You really do.
Renay: I’ll go, I’ll try to watch it sometime in the next few weeks.
Ana: It’s so good. I love Peter Parker.
KJ: It was—I was not expecting to need—I did not need another Spider-Man movie
Ana: No! Same!
KJ: I did not WANT another Spider-Man movie, but if they had to make one, they did it right.
KJ: It had a—it actually it had another really good villain.
Ana: And it wasn’t an origin story.
KJ: And it wasn’t the origin story—
KJ: —so it was new ground. And it had a really great supporting cast of actors of colour! I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to.
Renay: KJ, as our resident Marvel correspondent, how many space bees do you give this film?
KJ: How do I not give it five space bees?
Ana: Five vibranium space bees.
Renay: That’s the final total. Fifteen vibranium space bees for Black Panther. Try to catch it; it’s fantastic. Prepare to be super entertained and awed by what Coogler managed to accomplish with this cast that he had and the funds that he had. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful movie.
Ana: It is; and also beautiful is Michael B. Jordan.
Renay: Okay, it’s time for recommendations and as our Marvel Correspondent is guesting with us today, KJ gets to go first. KJ, what is your recommendation?
KJ: This is not a stunning rec. It’s is probably something that many of you have already seen, but I thought that given our discussion about Black Panther that sort of a fitting rec would be the previous Marvel MCU movie Thor: Ragnarok. Because I feel like there are a lot of ways in which this third Thor movie is in conversation with Black Panther if you look at the two of them together. They both have a lot of themes about colonialism. They both have musings on the monarchy and how that works and how it doesn’t work.They both have a villain-slash-antagonist who you understand why they feel wronged, you understand what their grievance is, and yet you see them moving to violence to get what they want. It’s just interesting to see them in comparison, the ways in which they’re similar and the ways that they’re different, the way that you see a monarch losing his power and fighting his way back.
I’ve only seen Ragnarok the one time, but I am very interested to go back and watch it now, and see the ways in which it is in conversation with Black Panther, and I am very interested to see what happens when Thor and T’Challa meet each other, as they inevitably will in future films. And also Ragnarok is one of my favorite MCU films. It is hilarious. It is also made a director of colour, Taika Waititi, and I think that the things it has to say about colonialism reflect that. Chris Hemsworth gets to play the role very differently in a way that suits him, a lot. If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t seen Ragnarok, it’s worth checking out because it also has interesting things to think about. That’s my rec!
Ana: My turn! In keeping with what we’ve been talking about and Black Panther, my recommendation is a little bit of cheating, but I would ask for all of us to go and watch A Wrinkle In Time. I think it’s probably as important as Black Panther for the same reasons that Black Panther is important, and it’s also by a woman of color and it has lots of Black women and Black girls within the movie. That reflection is also as important as seeing adults. What about you. Renay?
Renay: It is called The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, and it is the story of Sherlock Holmes except in this iteration, Sherlock is a cranky lady with a mysterious past and Watson is a sentient spaceship who makes teas that allow people to travel through deep space without losing their minds. And they solve mysteries together. Well, one mystery in particular, but I hold out hope for more mysteries in the future. And it’s so, so good. And it’s set in de Bodard’s Xuya universe, so if you’re familiar with her Xuya short fiction, this is another one. Really really good, eight thousand space bees.
Ana: I just read it and it was brilliant.
Renay: Alright. KJ, thank you for coming and talking to us about Black Panther.
Ana: [claps] Thank you!
KJ: You’re welcome! I’m glad to be on.
Renay: But we really enjoy your perspective, thank you very much for loaning it to us for today.
Ana: Thank you.
Ana: Thanks to KJ for talking with us about Black Panther. KJ, where can folks find you online?
KJ: The best places to find me on the internet are twitter, my account is @iamkj. Or on Dreamwidth, where I use the name owlmoose. Like an owl and a moose. And you can find links to everything else off of my Dreamwidth.
Rneasy: And we will put everything in the show notes.
Renay: If you have any thoughts, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please come chat with us at @fangirlpod on twitter, too. Our segment break music is by Chuki Beats and BoxCat Games.
Ana: Our show art is by Ira and our transcripts are by Susan. You can read all the available transcripts at fangirlhappyhour.com.
Renay: Drink some water, have a snack, and practice good sleep hygiene.
Ana: Go see Black Panther and then, along with us, weep over the fact that all the other Marvel movies suck at writing women.
Renay: Thanks for listening, space bees.
Ana: See you next episode.
Renay: You have a terrible secret that I can put in outtakes?
KJ: I didn’t care for Fandom For Robots.
Ana: I don’t have a secret. I have no secrets. I’m an open…book.
Renay: Never let it be said that I have not cobbled together a recording studio out of literal women’s undergarments.
Renay: It’s been a long decade these last two months.
Renay: Remember that one time when I said you were a dog.
Renay: Maybe I should have chosen cougar. Maybe I should’ve.
Ana: Listen, we are going deep into offtrackness.
Ana: Maybe we should stop, rewind, and start again. [laughs]
Renay: We’re fine, we’re—listen, this is what editing is for, this is my job.
Renay: The fox and the bunny have get pregnant and the fox is mad and cause of that bunny wants the abortion but the fox is mad because he’s like pro-life. It was a weird—it was the weirdest comic.
Ana: [laughs] Okay. What is happening right now!
Renay: It’s my fault. As per usual.
Renay: When I found out that Chadwick Boseman was forty-one I was like fuck off.
Tori The Cat: [growls at microphone]
KJ: How the sausage gets made.
Renay: You’re seeing that, yeah you’re seeing our amazing—I have to edit the top of it so it’s not…wrong.
Renay: What was that?
Ana: In Portuguese it’s something you say to express, like, “fuck” but it literally means booger.