Danai Gurira Used Her Spear From Black Panther 2 To Kill A Black Widow (Yes, Really)

In Ryan Coogler's 2018 film "Black Panther," the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, actress Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of an elite royal guard called the Dora Milaje. It is her job to protect the leaders of the country of Wakanda, a seemingly unassuming African nation that is secretly located on Earth's only source of a miracle metal called vibranium. Shielded from the world underneath a holographic projection, Wakanda is a high-tech paradise, and the people live in peace. The kings and queens of Wakanda, while protected by the Dora Milaje, are also traditionally warriors themselves, and the last king T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) wore a super-advanced, paper thin, bulletproof bodysuit and fought injustice as the titular Black Panther. 

Throughout "Black Panther," Gurira was typically seen armed with a long Wakandan spear, a wicked and deadly-looking prop that, it seems, was quite dangerous. Gurira had previously appeared on the hit TV series "The Walking Dead," and had collected practice versions of the katana that her character Michonne frequently toted. After shooting "Black Panther," she also kept practice versions of character's spear. One might assume that Gurira is slowly constructing her own movie prop arsenal. 

She certainly seems to have found good use for the weapons, and she has appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on several occasions to talk about what she has done with the sword and with the spear. The latter, it seems, has been useful for slaying animals that have invaded her neighborhood. 

Danai Gurira, coyote slayer

On a 2019 episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," Gurira, originally from Zimbabwe, admits that she was intimidated by the thought of Los Angeles' native coyotes. She had never seen one before, and was terrified of the thought. One night when she was walking her dog, she finally saw a wild coyote. Gurira had read that the best way to deal with a coyote is to simply stab or bludgeon it. As such, she ran to her home and grabbed one of her prop katanas on the off chance that she would need to do battle. She continued to carry a prop sword — make of wood or plastic — on her excursions ever since. Typically, for those outside of L.A., coyotes are pretty timid animals, even if they do tend to snack on outdoor pets.

In 2022, Gurira appeared on "Kimmel" a second time, this time with her "Black Panther" co-stars Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright to tell a similar story. This time, the weapon in question was a spear, and the invasive animal was a black widow spider. Unlike her "Walking Dead" katana, though, the spear wasn't just a prop, but the actual weapon used on screen in the upcoming sequel "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." In joshing with the host, she said: 

"[N]ow I've found a purpose for the spear, a household purpose which I never expected. Of late, I was in an outdoor stairway at my house and I found a black widow waiting for me at the base of the stairs."

She immediately clarified that the black widow in question was a spider and not the MCU character of Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson.

Danai Gurira, spider slayer

Knowing that black widow spiders can be identified by the red, hourglass-shaped marking on their bellies, Gurira knew what she was dealing with. She eagerly armed herself and sent into battle against the beast. She said: 

"I knew it was a dangerous one, though, because it had the red thing, I found out later that's what it was — I can't. So now, I have my spear, because I need something of long length to get it out of the way, push the web out of the way, and I have Raid in the other hand. So now it's a spear and Raid as I go up and down my stairs. That's the use of it now."

Kimmel joked that if she could spear a black widow from a distance, then she is a batter handler of the spear than anyone might realize. 

Gurira has spoken previously about her spear training, and how rigorous her regimen was when preparing to play Okoye. She started out practicing alone, but ended up teaming with a personal trainer who had her commit to a full pillar-based, step-by-step practice structure. Like all superhero characters, physicality is a hugely important part of the performance, and actors are typically required to bulk up their muscle mass and learn some rudimentary fight moves required by the genre's trappings. Gurira was no exception, and she delved deeply into weapon use to prepare. 

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" will mark the fourth time Gurira has played Okoye. The film will hit theaters on November 11.