In Marvel’s comics, the Dora Milaje are an elite, all-female squad of warriors sworn to protect the Wakandan throne and its king—the Black Panther. But judging from the newest featurette for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film, the Dora Milaje are going to be something much more on the big screen.
In their first comics incarnation, the Dora Milaje were introduced as a group of potential wives chosen by community leaders from various tribes throughout Wakanda. They travel to the capital with the potential of either becoming the next queen or a member of the special-ops team.
More recently, in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run, the Doras have been going through something of a revolution of their own as some members have grown disenchanted with Wakanda’s political instability. On the whole, it appears as if Black Panther’s Doras aren’t just T’Challa’s bodyguards—they’re a straight-up Wakandan strike force.
In the new featurette, Lupita Nyong’o—who plays Nakia, an old flame of T’Challa’s and a member of the Dora Milaje—describes how her character is somewhat at odds with Okoye, the leader of the group portrayed by The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira. As T’Challa comes into his role as Wakanda’s new king, he’ll be forced to reevaluate certain traditions and, in a way, Okoye represents the old guard versus the new.
It’ll be fascinating to see how the Dora Milaje handle the regime change when Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, but let’s be honest—what’s going to be really epic is seeing them kick all kinds of ass.