WATCH: Marvel heavy hitters explain the importance of Black Panther

Contributed by
Feb 1, 2018

It seems that everyone involved with the shared Marvel Universe, whether it be on the big screen or Netflix, turned out for the Black Panther premiere on Monday night. Many of the attendees were either African or African American and they were ecstatic to see a black super hero finally get his own big budget movie. The film's characters and setting are apocryphal, but the incredible significance behind Ryan Coogler's addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is definitely not.

While on the purple carpet, SYFY WIRE caught up with a number of the actors, actresses, producers, and directors who have had a hand in building up the Marvel media brand over the last few years. The takeaway: Black Panther is not just a fun comic book movie or simple cinematic escapism, but an important landmark for future generations. 

Ryan Sands (Geoffrey Wilder on Hulu's Runaways):

"This is incredible from a little boy who didn't really have a lot of people to look up to, a lot of the heroes to look up to that look like me. That was a legit moment when I [asked] 'Where are they?' and that's when I found the Black Panther. I had to look for him." 

J. August Richards (Deathlok on ABC's Agents of SHIELD):

"Everybody watches these movies and you put yourself in the role of the hero. That's why I'm so excited about this movie right now because there's a whole generation of black and brown kids who get to put themselves in it without the willing suspension of racial disbelief. They get to see themselves and not have to substitute their skin color for [that of] the hero."

John Kani (King T'Chaka and T'Challa's father):

"I've done great movies where the African is always the savage, the African is the despot, the dictator, the African needs Jesus, and the heroes are always people from the West. To be part of a movie where we talk about our lives, our kingdoms, our heroes is going to be an incredible motivation and inspiration to the next generation of Africans ... Wakanda can be fictional, King TChaka can be fictional, even the Black Panther can be fictional, but it can also be a metaphor for aspiration, for people believing in themselves, for making the world see Africa differently."

Simone Missick (Misty Knight on Netflix's Luke Cage):

"I think that right now, in the world, we just need to see beauty in darker skin in whatever way that is ... It just allows for us to look at ourselves like 'We are royalty and we are regal and we are in our royal attire.' And all the little girls and little boys that will want to dress up in these costumes for Halloween and walk around their houses and go to the laundromat with [their] mom and their daddy and say, 'I'm Black Panther!' I am so excited for that."

To watch all of our interviews on the purple carpet, check out the video below: