Exclusive: Actor Danai Gurira, who plays Dora Milaje’s leader, Okoye, describes her preparation for Black Panther’s great battle: Wakanda Forever.
With the movie just around the corner, Danai Gurira talks about her preparation for Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverbig fight. After the untimely death of King T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Wakanda grapples with the pain and loss of his leader and struggles to continue his new outreach mission. However, with a new threat at the gates of the fictional nation, the people of Wakanda must band together and battle the forces of Talokan, an ancient underwater city led by the mutant Namor the Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta).
The final Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four movie will see the return of many characters from its popular 2018 predecessor, Black Pantherincluding Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and Okoye (Gurira), the leader of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces. Okoye made her MCU debut in Black Panther and proved a crucial ally to T’Challa in all of the film’s major battles. She returned for Avengers: Infinite War, where she teamed up with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) to take on Thanos’ lieutenant, Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), and later Avengers: Endgame to take on Thanos himself to restore the lives Thanos took with the Infinity Stones.
screen frenzy attended a recent press event where Gurira recalled her intense preparation for a major battle in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The actor details the months-long process behind choreographing a battle with Alex Livinalli, who portrays the Talocan warrior Attuma. She also thanks the stunt and physical training team that helped her get in shape for the action scenes. Read what Gurira said below:
It was a bigger question, and I’m trying to understand why. It was a lot of work, and thank goodness it was Alex [I was fighting against]. He’s a big boy, but he’s so nice. You know he’s not going to really hurt me. But it was a lot of work, and the great thing is you see how we had to find the psychology in it, and you work together. There is much to be told in the story being told. I’m one of those people who from day one says, “Show me my fight. Show me my fight so I can learn it now.” And they say, “Ryan has to approve,” so I say, “Okay Ryan, go check it out!” Come on guys! Seeing him work with the amazing fighting team, and the way they came up with it, was really a very different way of looking at the craft. And then I think, “Okay, so I have to do that?” Then it’s that process, and that was months of work. But the great thing is that working with Alex and the other Talocan was just an amazing collaborative process. There were some minor issues at times; my shoulder was like, “What are you doing to me, man? What are you trying to do here?” So, thank God for the amazing PT. I must give my love and thanks to the women of NeuroSport. It was a very complicated process and I’m just thankful for the team we had.
How epic will the battles against Talocan be?
The action scenes and fight scenes in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are certainly unlike anything the MCU has shown before. Trailers show Wakandan troops fighting Namor’s army of underwater soldiers aided in battle by various ocean creatures. These scenes have drawn comparisons to those of DC Universe Aquarius starring Jason Momoa as the titular superhero. Much of the battle scenes, however, have been shown on land, with Namor taking the sea to Wakanda, flooding the streets, destroying homes and markets, and drowning the royal throne room.
As Wakanda fights for their survival on home soil against a previously unknown enemy, they will harbor a fear of absolute loss that will fuel their determination to protect their country. With their backs pressed against a wall, the Wakandans will likely fight with intense ferocity, likely creating some of the most brutal battles the franchise has ever seen. However, the public won’t have to wait much longer to see Okoye and the Dora Milaje play against Namor when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere on November 11.
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