Did you all go see Black Panther yet? Well I know you all were amazing by the acting and the storyline, but there is no Wakanda without the women behind it! I got a chance to interview the two women responsible for creative the beautiful world of Wakanda which is  Ruth E. Carter (costume design) and Hannah Beachler(production design). How cool is that?


©Marvel Studios 2018

©Marvel Studios 2018

©Marvel Studios 2018


This is a honorable moment in black history for sure, but we can all agree the there would be no Wakanda coming to life on the big screen without the talents of these ladies. Everything was filmed and designed in Atlanta, and these women took creative to the next level in the Marvel Universe. They brought Afrofuturism to life, made sure a lot of authentic African culture was immersed all in the film, and also made sure each set design and costume manifested Wakanda and the entire film into the beautiful brillance that we all ‘Marveled’ at (pun intended). Check out the interview on how they brought Black Panther to life with a little (or a lot) of Black Girl Magic.

Hannah Beachler(production design)

How traveling for research to Africa helped her with the Black Panther set creation

I come on first. Production designer’s usually on films first after the director, hired by the director and the producers. And, you know, Ryan he kinda just like texted me and he was like, yeah, I’m [UNINTELLIGIBLE] to come in. You know, of course I had seen that it was announced that he was doing it. And come in and do this. So, you know, process was — and he was really good about guiding me — is starting at the macro. And it was really about like where is Wakanda in — on the continent of Africa, you know, because that’s going to then determine everything that goes around.

And we kind of set it in sort of eastern sub-Saharan Africa.  So, basically you can kind of place it on the border of DRC like right above Burundi and Rwanda. So there was like Kibuye was there, Kenya, Uganda, above Uganda, Sudan. So, that’s sort of where we are. And we also took from Omo Valley tribes in Ethiopia. So you go down a little bit, but we wanted to keep it sub-Saharan. We wanted to keep it very specific. We also — I reached into Western Nigeria, so the [SOUNDS LIKE: Efik] people and the Igbo people and their [UNINTELLIGIBLE] dealing, which you’ll see in the film a lot.

So, I did reach into Nigeria, Lagos. Did a lot of research in Nairobi and the bigger cities around — and Kenya and in South Africa, Joburg, Cape Town just for some of the architecture. And I looked at lotta older architecture. So, that’s really where my process started really big. Where are we? And then it was like what is the typography of the land? Next step is where does each tribe live on that land and why? And what is each tribe’s history. So then I go down and dot through each tribes’ history, and like this is why they live here. There is a story and a reason behind every single thing you see [CHUCKLES] on that screen coming from me and coming from Ruth.

Hannah Beachler at Oribi Gorge Photo Credit: MARVEL STUDIOS/Disney

Table Mountain Capetown Photo Credit MARVEL STUDIOS/Disney

Paarl Rock South Africa 2016 Photo Credit: MARVEL STUDIOS/Disney

The impact of creating a set to authentic bring the fictional Wakanda to look like an authentic African nation

Every single tiny, little — you know, I’m gettin’ a little bit of chills, because it really is. Like people — it’s real. Like if I was go into a [SOUNDS LIKE: yombi] like, oh, my gosh. But it is so — intentional. And really meaningful and thoughtful and everything that we did from the colors to the every little thing. I think we were in a couple like really personal spaces. And if you look around, you’re gonna see that character. And I think a lot of the process for me was taking big spaces and making them feel intimate. Because that’s how the continent felt me to when I was there. When I was in South Africa, it’s like you look around and it’s these giant spaces, you know, even when you’re in the city, but there’s an intimacy and that comes from the culture and the people. So, that’s really where I started my whole thing and, you know, just kept, you know, working that research and development for that entire time that we were on there.

Black Panther Casino Scene Photo Credit MARVEL STUDIOS/Disney

Hannah explains the magnitude on collaborating with Ruth on the creative sector of the set

I know Ruth can probably — this is really funny. When I first walked [CHUCKLES] into your so she — I mean it — I went on forever. First of all, I’ve never see anything so big. It was the top of floor of an entire building, and I’m telling you it was ginormous. And I walked in and I — the whole time [CHUCKLES], I don’t even know. I was on another planet.

RC :    She had so much fun when she walked in. That’s why we’re laughing.

HB :    The wall — I mean a wall of just this beautiful collage of, you know, references.

RC :    We did a vision board.

HB :    Oh, my gosh. It was a huge board.

RC :    There was this gigantic world. Maybe it was —

HB :    Masks from all different tribes with just like —

RC :    — ten times the size of — [OVERLAP]

HB :    — everywhere. The level of — like I’ve never seen, you know, seamstresses, leather workers, jewelry — metal workers, jewelry —

RC :    Mold makers.

HB :    This is the woman —

RC :    We had a mold room. We had a jewelry room.

HB :    Yeah, the department have all of this. And I’m walking around with [CHUCKLES] Ruth and she’s showing me stuff. Every time she’d show me somethin’, I’d be like yeaggghhhhhh. [LAUGHS] Yes. Yes. My edges got snatched. My edges. So, I mean that is the — everything. Ruth laughed the whole time. The whole time she was laughin’ because it was really that. You had never seen anything like it in your life. Either — I’ve never been in a store in this country where it is represented — complete black culture. Not ever.

Ruth E. Carter (costume design)

How she felt being selected to do the costume designs for Black Panther cast 

A warm feeling. You know when you’re in the right place and in the right space. That’s what I felt like when I left. And I knew that Marvel takes a while to make their decisions. So, I made sure I said to Ryan, you know, let me know, you know. Somebody else could be knocking on the door behind you. But they did. They made the decision and there I came.

Ruth E. Carter behind the scenes on set with Ryan Coogler (director) and Winston Duke as M’Baku Photo Credit: MARVEL STUDIOS/Disney

Ruth explain how working in collaboration with Hannah brought Black Panther creativity together

It was really a matter of me starting out being a really good listener, really getting into what they had done, understanding what they had done. I was in Hannah’s office sitting across from her like let me see everything. And she said, hey, I’ve got this manual. [CHUCKLES] I did. And it outlines everything. [LAUGHS] And I open it up and there’s like a map of Wakanda. It has a royal palace in the middle.

It has districts of — that are explained to the hilt. I was like how long did it take you to do this manual? Everything is written out. The Insivity language is in there and you know what it means. So, I bring the manual back to my team and I’m like, everybody, study this. [LAUGHS] Study this. Study this. I’m not — we are going to call these districts by the names that they made up [OVERLAP] in the office. I want boards. I want images.

We were looking at Afropunk. We’re looking at modern fashion. We’re moving everything forward. Everything has to be beautiful. We are not going to lie in any stereotypes at all. Whatsoever. And we wanna [APPLAUSE] this present this world as a kingdom. What if Africa was not colonized?

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
Dora Milaje Conceptual Character and Costume Design Sketch
Costume Design: Ryan Meinderding and VisDev Team
Concept Artist: Anthony Francisco
©Marvel Studios 2018

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER Nakia Conceptual Character and Costume Design Sketch Costume Design: Ruth Carter Concept Artist: Keith Christensen ©Marvel Studios 2018

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER T’Challa Conceptual Character and Costume Design Sketch Costume Design: Ruth Carter Concept Artist: Keith Christensen ©Marvel Studios 2018

Ruth E. Carter explaining her enthusiasm on creating the costumes

I thought, wow, this is like really cool how you can mix ancient indigenous tribal culture with modern. We don’t want to make a documentary. This is a futuristic place. This is a place that has the richest mineral known on earth, Vibranium. And, you know, they’re aware of it. They’re aware of their richness. So, let’s just move that forward. Looking at Afropunk, those images that you see on your phone, going through your Instagram, you see that beauty. And that’s some of the beauty that we wanted to infuse. And when you see the Dora Milaje, you see the Maasai tribe, you see the Himba.

The same drape that that girl in the grocery store pushing the cart had in front of her body with the little ringlets on the end of the leather, I put that on the back of the Dora Milaje so that when they walked in the room, Ryan Coogler said I wanna hear them.Can we put stuff on their ankles so that we hear them coming? And hearing them coming on set, I didn’t hear them coming in the — I mean arriving in the movie. But on set you can hear them.

And I felt like the color, we upped the ante on the color. If you go to Africa, you see people walking around with color. You see a brown guy with a yellow shirt [CHUCKLES] and red pants. That’s just the norm. So, we’re not reinventing anything. We’re just bringing it out. And we’re just honoring it and holding it up. So, you know, that’s how we started.

So when you look at this movie, please give these women all the praise for making Wakanda come to life. I felt the African energy, even though I have never been. All of the clothing and little details came from real African countries, tribes and traditions that were purposely embedded in the set and costume. So creative and full of life. This is the Africa we deserved to see! The beauty of a country, different Pan-African cultures mixed in to bring Wakanda into fruition. I literally wish I can book my ticket to Wakanda now, this is how real it felt. Look I am close enough, they filmed the majority of the movie in Atlanta (many in Tyler Perry Studios) so I do get to have a little credit that I am part Wakandian!

Please go see the movie if you haven’t and Marvel at the beauty on how all of the production design and costume came to life!

Synopsis Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Black Panther is in theaters now!


BLACK PANTHER official website: https://marvel.com/movies/movie/224/black_panther
BLACK PANTHER on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackPantherMovie
BLACK PANTHER on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theblackpanther
Marvel Studios on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marvelstudios/

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip, sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Have You Seen Black Panther?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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