Fans of Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster hit, Black Panther, wanting even more of the rich, heavily researched world Ryan Coogler and co. brought to life might want to check out Black Panther: The Official Movie Special. It’s filled with interviews, photos from the film, and concept art. Does it pack enough content to make the Special required reading for fans of Wakanda?
Overall this is a pretty nice book. The biggest selling point for this companion is the gorgeous photos of the cast and film that let you get really detailed looks at the characters’ costumes. Ruth Carter, the costume designer for the film, designed some of the best costumes seen yet in a Marvel Studios film, drawing from various cultures and traditions from all across Africa, and a lot of the more detailed elements of the costumes are hard to spot when the characters are leaping around in the film. This companion book lets you see every tiny detail in T’Challa’s mask or Okoye’s Dora Milaje armor, which is a real treat. Both the photos from the film and the promotional images show off the costumes really well, but I wish there were more photos of the gorgeous sets made for the film as well. Another cool feature is the selection of concept art included throughout the Special. I loved seeing some of the early design illustrations and they’re all so gorgeous — I’d totally want a print of some if they were made available.
Fans looking for tons of behind the scenes info or really in-depth interviews will likely be disappointed. The interviews are very light, and each cast member is asked fairly similar questions, so the most interesting thing that came out of them was which members of the cast were Marvel Comics readers before working on the film. I didn’t learn a ton of behind the scenes trivia from the book and I was hoping for more in-depth information on how the film was made. I did like the brief segment on the Warrior Falls scene and reading about how they managed to build such a massive, complex set made me respect the set designers even more than I did before reading.
I should say that potential readers who haven’t seen the film yet may want to wait until after a trip to the theater before picking up this Movie Special. Though the interviews and written segments don’t include plot spoilers, the photos and concept art cover material from all over the film, including scenes very near the end. Even without context, these are images you may want to avoid if you don’t want to see material from deep into the final act.
Overall, Black Panther: The Official Movie Special is a neat book for diehard fans of the film to pick up to add to a collection of Black Panther merchandise or to see the gorgeous concept art and costume photos. Fans of the film who want to learn more about the making of the film or a deeper look into the actors’ experiences may want to seek out other interviews or published material.