– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Not all is super great in Wakanda in Black Panther. Sure, the place may have more technology than any other nation on the planet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own internal problems. With T’Chaka’s death, there are some groups who feel that T’Challa isn’t the best one to take the throne.

On one end, you have T’Challa, the son of T’Chaka, a man who was opening up Wakanda for the first time to the rest of the world. On the other end, you have the likes of M’Baku and the Jabari tribe, who feel the need to go back to their isolationist ways. It’d be easy for the film to take a character like that and paint him purely as the bad guy. Considering the comic book roots of the character, that could have been a real possibility.

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Speaking with our own Nancy Tapia at the Black Panther press junket, actor Winston Duke discussed just how beloved and admirable M’Baku really is in the film, despite having conflicting views.

“I think he’s a guy who has a lot of self-awareness. He’s a leader and we also needed to tell the story that he’s a guy whose beloved. He’s not a despot, he’s not some crazy man in the mountains, his people love him. He actually wants the best for them, and in turn he wants the best for Wakanda, so he is a Wakandan. The other thing is that this movie is a Wakandan story, so really what everyone is fighting about is where and how is Wakanda going to move into the future? How do you move into the future? Where does that take us? What are the results of staying isolated? What are the results of opening up and going out into the world and how do you do that? These are all the things he cares about and he’s attached to, but he might come from a places of, these are my people and I need to secure their futures first. He’s a beloved strong charismatic leader with great integrity, he just has different ideas about how to get to the same destination.”

While M’Baku isn’t the main villain of this film, I do like the idea that they’re setting the foundation for future potential conflict between him in T’Challa. There’s real rift between the two of them, and it’s sure to come out sooner or later.

However, that doesn’t mean they have to portray him as some mustache-twirling villain, and in the grand tradition of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it really feels like the studio is trying their best to start creating much better antagonists for the future.

Keep an eye out for our full interview with Winston Duke in the near future!

What do you think of Duke’s comments? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.