Black Panther

Black Panther may be the best-looking Marvel movie yet. And that’s thanks in no small part to its Oscar-nominated director of photography Rachel Morrison, who recently made history as the first woman nominated for the cinematography Oscar for her work in Mudbound. But it’s also largely thanks to the fantastical costume and set design that its production team whipped up for the comic book movie, including an advanced city that heavily draws on Afro-futuristic influences with a little dash of retrofuturism.

And this new Black Panther concept art released by Marvel gives us an idea of how the designs leapt from the pages to the big screen. It’ll also make you want to pack your bags and move to Wakanda straight away.

In /Film’s set visit with Black Panther, producer Nate Moore told us that the team’s approach to Wakanda toed the line between “amazing” and “grounded.”

“What we were very afraid of was making Wakanda almost too Kirby-esque, and by that I mean making it feel almost like they’re alien and not human. The truth is they’re human. They’re just 20 or 25 years ahead of us.”

That’s how the stunning images of the city came about, which are equally grandiose and sleek. Created by illustrators Till Nowak and Drew Leung, we see images of the warm throne room, Shuri’s white, dimly lit lab, and the city neighborhood of Steppe Town. There’s a modernity to it — like the natural light streaming in through the reflective, glass-filled throne room. But the cityscape art reveals just how technologically advanced the country is, with towering spires and ornate architecture. But it still manages to look like nothing we’ve seen before, steering away from the usual futuristic cityscape influences of Tokyo or Hong Kong.

So how did the illustrators and designers make Wakanda seem like a real place and not like something out of a modern art museum curator’s dream? Costume designer Ruth Carter told io9 that she worked closely with the production designers to differentiate the residents’ fashion styles between different districts within its cities:

“And then I’d say another district was like the Upper West Side, where there’s more families and it’s more settled down, but it’s still New York. I used Manhattan, basically, as my way of remembering how I was going to view different parts of Wakanda. And it kind of did make sense, you know. There’s an area that’s mainly medical, so I was like, yeah, that’s like UCLA medical area.”

Carter’s work with the costuming and fashion design is absolutely stunning, especially when illustrated by Adi Granov, the Marvel Comics artist who is best known for his painted work.

Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16, 2018.

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