Watch Ryan Coogler Break Down One of ‘Black Panther’s Coolest Fight Scenes
About halfway through Black Panther there’s a very fast-paced, precisely choreographed fight scene in the middle of a South Korean casino that kicks the whole movie up a few notches. But a lot more than just fight choreography went into making the scene, and director Ryan Coogler stopped by Vanity Fair’s digital offices to break the scene down and point out some of the details that audiences might not catch.
The costumes of Black Panther are the most striking outfits any character has ever worn in a Marvel movie, and they contain a lot of symbolism towards the characters themselves. Lupita Nyong’o’s amazing green dress (that was was 3-D PRINTED!), Danai Gurira’s red gown, and Chadwick Boseman’s black jacket all correspond to the colors of the pan-African flag, while Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, dressed in blue, represents colonization.
There’s also an emphasis on the black characters having natural hair in Wakanda. The Dora Milaje’s shaved heads are an honor, and it’s clearly irritating for Gurira’s General Okoye to cover it up with a wig — that wig throw, by the way, was in the script since the first draft. When the camera moves up to her swinging her spear against those goons, you can hear in the music a kind of chant that the Dora Milaje use when they fight (you can’t quite hear it in the video, but it’s towards the end of the track “Casino Brawl” on the Black Panther score if you’re curious).
Throughout the scene, Coogler has a dialogue going between tradition and innovation (Okoye’s spear vs Nakia using a gun) and the concept of femininity used as a weapon (Okoye’s wig toss, Nakia pulling off her heel and using it to slash one guy’s face). While the movie itself is about T’Challa’s journey to becoming king, in this scene, as in many scenes in the film, it’s the women’s ferocity and elegance that really stand out.