Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was one of the biggest hits of the year, with its cultural significance driving many to buy tickets and raise money to help children go and see the movie. Actor Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in the Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, has now commented on the cultural significance of the film and the reaction she’s seen to it.
“I have young girls and women come up and say to me, ‘Hey, this is a new kind of representation for us. We’re not in a film where we’re inferior, or we’re below the men, or we have to be just the object of someone’s affection. We’re equal. We can hold our own,’” Wright told Deadline. “Everybody holds their own space in this film.”
“I feel like there was such a need for it in our culture,” she continued, “there was such a need for it in our industry, that when we got it, we grasped it and we ran with it.”
Wright also talked about her early impressions of the script saying, “From the sides alone, the dummy sides that they sent me – to fake the script, so it doesn’t get leaked – I could tell that the women in this film were going to be represented correctly… And from the jump, we had just a love for this story. It wasn’t about box office, it wasn’t about trying to impress anyone. It was literally just a love of telling this story and putting a spin on what we’ve seen of the diaspora of African people. Just bringing something different.”
Black Panther opened to critical acclaim and earned more than $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of all-time, not accounting for inflation. Although T’Challa seemingly died following Thanos’ snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Shuri survived, so it seems likely she’ll play a significant role in Avengers 4. Coogler was recently confirmed as returning to write and direct a sequel to Black Panther.