7 stunning images show how Marvel's 'Black Panther' was inspired by African art and culture

Source: Mic/Getty Images

In the four days since its first teaser trailer aired Friday, Marvel's upcoming Black Panther movie has generated a fair amount of buzz. And as with any comic book property, excited fans, critics and pop culture sleuths have scoured its promotional materials looking for inside references, hidden Easter eggs and influences that might have inspired the project.

Source: YouTube

Of particular interest have been the teaser's eye-popping visuals. Set in the fictional, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther had the opportunity to create a unique world that blended futuristic science fiction with traditional clothing and art from across Africa.

Ruth Elaine Carter, the film's legendary costume designer, was integral to that process. Here are seven visual sources that she said inspired her work for the film, and that other observant Twitter users — like writer Kendra James — have suggested made their way in as well:

1. The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania:

Maasai women sing in Kimani on December 13, 2014.
Source: Carl De Souza/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

2. The Suri people of South Sudan and Ethiopia:

A woman from the Suri tribe wearing a lip plate paints her face in Ethiopia's southern Omo Valley region near Kibbish on September 25, 2016.
Source: Carl De Souza/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

3. The Himba people of Namibia and Angola:

Himba women pose on August 19, 2010 on the road between Ohungumure and Opuwo in northern Namibia.
Source: Stephane De Sakutin/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

4. The Dogon people of Mali:

Picture taken on February 9, 2005 shows two Dogon residents wearing traditional outfits and masks performing a dogon dance in a village near the sandstone cliffs of Bandiagara in the center of Mali.
Source: Francois Xavier Marit/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

5. The Tuareg people of the Sahara Desert, including parts of Libya, Algeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso:

Touareg people celebrate in Niafounke as Malian and French soldiers entered the historic city of Timbuktu, occupied for 10 months by Islamists who imposed a harsh form of sharia, on January 28, 2013.
Source: Eric Feferberg/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

6. The Basotho people of Lesotho:

People queue to vote, at a polling station on June 3, 2017 in Maseru, during Lesotho's general election.
Source: Gianluigi Guercia/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

7. The Ndebele people of South Africa:

South African artist Esther Mahlangu, 81, poses at her home in Mabhoko Village, Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga on March 6, 2017.
Source: AFP Photo/Gulshan Khan/Getty Images

Black Panther:

Still from Marvel's 'Black Panther.'
Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

As you can see, Carter's work on Black Panther was influenced by people, clothing and art from nearly every region of the African continent. Some observers also pointed out that the film's poster — which was released a few hours before the teaser aired — resembled the iconic 1967 photograph of Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Oakland, California-based Black Panther Party, sitting on a wicker throne with a spear and a shotgun.

The Black Panther film — which was directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael B. Jordan — is set for a Feb. 18 release. It is the first new Marvel film to star a black protagonist since Blade, with Wesley Snipes, was released in 1998.



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Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

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