Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film will mark the first solo outing for the character and the first live-action depiction of his home, Wakanda. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Wakanda imagines an isolated African nation whose borders have never been penetrated by colonizers or conquerers—at least none who can live to tell the tale. It’s also famous for its large vibranium reserves, which contribute to its technological advancement. Tasked with bringing this world to life is production designer Hannah Beachler. After a production designers’ autograph session at this year’s Comic-Con, Beachler discusses working with director Ryan Coogler, and the challenge of combining technologically advanced design with a country whose African traditions were never influenced by colonization.

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