While I was in Los Angeles for Avengers: Infinity War I got the very special treat of interviewing Nate Moore, executive producer of the worldwide hit Black Panther (on DVD/Blu-ray TODAY).
Black Panther is the 3rd highest ranking film of all time in the United States and #9 worldwide, which is no small feat. Nate Moore. With the short introduction of T’Challa in Civil War there was a bit of a head start. “we kind of knew people were interested”, mentions Moore.
As he sat down we right away got to talking about the bonus features we just watched – The Crowning of a New King, Warriors Within, and Hidden Kingdom Revealed, all three important to the story of Wakanda and its people.
“Three things we wanted to show you today are three separate features, one The Crowning of a New King. This is sort of a behind the scenes of how we put Wakanda together. It goes through everything from production design to visual effects to cast and story.”
“There’s something called the Warriors Within. This is getting to know Wakanda’s women. So, as you know, having seen the film, the female characters are such a big important part of this film. They are. And our actresses are amazing and how they portrayed the roles. So, you get to see a little bit of the behind the scenes of how they brought Okoye and Nakia and Shuri to life, which we think is fantastic.”
“And the third piece is the Hidden Kingdom Revealed. This goes into a little bit of how we crafted the different tribes that make up Wakanda. So, one of our big sort of remits very early on was making sure Wakanda felt as authentic as possible for being this fictional African nation.”
On deciding what features to showcase in the bonus content, Nate Moore and his crew have a process:
“We kind of have a brainstorming session where people get to pitch out ideas of what they think is interesting and also what footage we have that we can show. So, the typical ones like deleted scenes and gag reels, we know we’re going to do so we are collecting that footage all through production and postproduction. And then at the end of the day, once we kind of get a sense of what people are responding to sort of out in the world, we can kind of craft our features based on that. And this movie just happened to have a lot of really in-depth stuff because the building of Wakanda was so complicated. Unlike other films like Captain America, which I loved and worked on, but that world is a bit more familiar to audiences. So, there’s less to tell. We had a lot of stories to tell from this one.”
Because the cast was primarily African-American, there is always a worry that it won’t “travel” and resonate with the general audience, according to Moore.
“The good news was we weren’t concerned about it in the making of so we didn’t adjust the storytelling to work in any specific direction. And Disney from the beginning, always put their best foot forward and said well, we love the movie so we’re just going to figure it out. A lot of that was some pre-awareness stuff in Asia and South America where the character wasn’t as popular.”
“Because in some territories, just Marvel films in general don’t do as well as you want. So, we knew that Civil War hadn’t killed. So, some people needed to be educated on who Black Panther was. But that’s all it really took.”
One thing Marvel – and Disney in general – is famous for are the “easter eggs” threaded through the films. The obvious one here is the understanding of what Vibranium is and where is comes from, a tidbit only teased in previous Marvel films. But Black Panther is different as Nate Moore mentions:
“When we were building this story, one thing that Kevin actually said very early on was I think there’s enough in this property that we don’t have to have a lot of different intersections because we think it stands alone. So, that’s also why you don’t see Tony Stark or Steve Rogers which I think we could have made a case for some of those characters to sort of naturally intersect. But there was so much storytelling and so much detail that we actually were able to keep a lot of that stuff out. And I think it helps the movie just feel like it’s own experience and not just another.”
Get Black Panther on DVD/Blu-ray TODAY nationwide.