Black Panther Actress Danai Gurira Offers Up New Intel On Her Character Okoye

From complex dynasties to a forgotten kingdom, the Wakanda lore can be a difficult one to parse.

Thankfully, since Entertainment Weekly anointed Black Panther as cover star of its special SDCC issue, the outlet has relayed a smattering of story clues for Ryan Coogler’s 2018 standalone pic, including new intel on Winston Duke’s villain M’Baku and how the film is shaping up to be a “big, operatic family drama.”

So far, so promising. But the latest tidbit to emerge from EW’s ongoing coverage is more concerned with the Dora Milaje – specifically its ruler, Okoye, who will be played by The Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira. She’s an “extremely proud Wakandan,” according to Gurira, who shed light on her character and how she fits into the politics of Black Panther.

“She’s very proud of her people, her country, and her heritage. She is a traditionalist. She is rooted in what is, what has been done, how we do things as Wakandans. How we have done things, and how that must be preserved. She is a lover and protector of her people and of the throne. To protect the throne, you are protecting the core institution of the nation, which allows it to thrive. She has a deep passion and connection to her country, to her people, and to the very special nature of who and what they are. Preserving that is something that is at the core of who she is.”

Perched on the throne in place of his late father, we know that Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa will face opposition from M’Baku and Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), but make no mistake, Okoye is a loyal ally. And with trouble brewing in Wakanda, Boseman’s newly-appointed king will need all the help he can find.

She’s not in conflict with him. They work together. She works with him and she cares deeply for the royal family. She is from the border tribe. [This is the group that maintains the disguise that Wakanda is a modest, agrarian nation.] She is not someone who rolled out of bed and got where she is. She is someone who is purposeful. She has been purposeful all her life.

Beyond the release of Thor: Ragnarok in November, Marvel fans can look forward to Black Panther making a beeline for theaters on February 16th. And after that? Avengers: Infinity War, an ensemble movie that is said to be unlike anything else that’s come out of Marvel Studios to date.