We don’t really know all that much about Forest Whitaker’s role as Zuri, one of T’Challa’s closest advisors, in Marvel’s soon-to-be-released Black Panther. But that hasn’t stopped the actor from dropping what could be a very cool hint about the places the movie could go—namely, places well beyond the borders of Wakanda itself. We’re talking about outer space.
Speaking to Variety about the film, the actor cryptically teased the scope of Black Panther, and how it will take audiences to new places:
It’s a unique piece. It’s a multicultural piece. I think people are waiting to find something new...
We’re going to see not only tribal things, but things that take us into outer space, things that take us into the James Bond space. It’s a really unique amalgamation of different things that come together in an exciting way.
Hang on, be kind and rewind. Outer space?
This wouldn’t exactly be out of place for Wakanda as a society, really. We’ve seen the ludicrously advanced tech the isolated nation has developed thanks to its research into vibranium—what’s a starship but a logical upgrade to that?
It’s something the comics have been exploring for a while; 2014's Secret Wars event concluded with a teasing scene of Black Panther witnessing the launch of a Wakandan rocket, helping to build what would become Alpha Flight station, the orbital space station Captain Marvel would go on to be stationed on in recent comics. Even more recently, Marvel Legacy #1 included a sequence which briefly revealed that not only has Wakanda sent citizens into space, but it’s done so for long enough that they have created an interstellar empire in the name of T’Challa.
Don’t go waving your Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda flag in celebration just yet, though. Whitaker might simply be hinting that, just as the movie delves into some Bond-ian spy imagery, Black Panther leans heavily into scifi imagery with all its advanced tech and fancy hoverships, rather than taking an actual step into space. But, let’s be honest, with Infinity War on the way, it’d make a bit of sense for Marvel’s latest release to at least glance toward the cosmic events that are about to come to pass.
If not, Black Panther 2: Wakandans. In. Spaaaaaaace could be pretty cool, too! We’ll find out what Whitaker meant when Black Panther hits theaters next month.