Who Are Wakanda's All-Female Special Forces In 'Black Panther'?

by Mary Kate McGrath

The footage is not yet available to the public, but fans at San Diego Comic-Con got a sneak peak of Marvel's Black Panther on Saturday. According to E! Online, the latest clip revealed new details about the film, including an update on the kingdom of Wakanda's all-female special forces. In the movie, an prince named T'Challa returns home to rule Wakanda, a technologically advanced kingdom in Africa. His father T'Chaka was assassinated in Captain America: Civil War, so even with his Black Panther powers, he needs protection and consult amid his return. For this he turns to a special-forces unit known as the Dora Milaje, which happens to be all-female team led by Okoye, played by The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira.

Okoye and the Dora Milaje are reportedly the stars of the latest clip, taking charge in a casino fight scene. Lupita Nyong'o is part of the forces; she plays Nakia, a special agent who lives outside of Wakanda. According to Time, the Comic-Con exclusive footage began with T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia entering a casino. They're not in Wakanda, and are instead on an important reconnaissance mission. Martin Freeman's character, CIA Agent Everett Ross, meets with Andy Serkis' Klaw, who fans already understand to be a villain from the teaser trailer. Ross is trying to trade Vibranium (the material found in Black Panther's suit) with Klaw, but the baddies suspects a trap, and the two are intercepted. Cue lots of fighting, and in a refreshing take for a superhero film, Okoye and Nakia handle most of the butt kicking.

In the casino scene, Okoye reportedly flings her wig at one of Klaw's henchman to trip him up. She also pulls a golden spear out of her clutch bag, and single-handedly stops a car. The teaser released in June already revealed that there would be plenty of female fight sequences, but if this latest reveal is to be believed, women will have a role in most of the film's major battle scenes.

It's important that T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, has the Dora Milaje, as panels at Comic-Con also offered some new details on the film's main villain. Michael B. Jordan will star as Erik Killmonger, an exile from the kingdom who will challenge T'Challa's claim to the throne. Killmonger will wear a gold version of the Black Panther suit, and wants to rule Wakanda himself. The female heroes of this film - who we already know to be resourceful, powerful guards to T'Challa - aren't likely to allow this happen.

It's no secret that superhero films have historically left out women. This year has been a turning point, with Wonder Woman breaking box office records and other films at least putting effort into featuring exciting dynamic female characters. Black Panther will continue to make progress and bring female representation to the Marvel Universe. While details on the Dora Milaje are still sparse, fans can take comfort that in knowing these women will play a huge role in protecting the throne of Wakanda.

Black Panther will be released on February 16th, 2018. The latest movie poster was released after the Comic-Con Panel, but it might be a bit of a wait until the latest footage is made public.