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Is the age of the jam-packed, overstuffed post-credits Marvel movie experience over? After “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” director James Gunn unspooled not just one, not two, but a full five post-credits scenes in his latest film, the rest of his Marvel Cinematic Universe brethren has kept it relatively short — “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and now “Black Panther” have only unleashed two scenes apiece. But where will fans get all-important information about what’s to come, as aided by a humorous cameo and an extra jolt of fun? Looks like it’s back to the actual film itself. Mostly.
Ryan Coogler’s first MCU film includes a pair of post-credits scenes, one of which feels like an interesting coda to the more serious elements of the Chadwick Boseman-starring film (read: this thing really could have been included in the actual feature itself), the other that seems like the kind of thing all but required by the MCU these days (essentially a little tease at what’s to come in the next film, the massive team-up undertaking that is “Avengers: Age of Ultron”).
Still, one of the elements of Coogler’s debut foray into the wide world of the MCU is how well it works on its own, serving as a full-scale introduction to the wonderful world of Wakanda without requiring much in the way of prior knowledge. It’s less beholden to other MCU films than the majority of its predecessors, and it’s truly exciting to see how that kind of thing can work in a film that is part of the world’s biggest franchise. But even something as refreshing as “Black Panther” has to offer some links to the rest of the movie universe it inhabits, and that’s the primary aim of both post-credits scenes.
Here’s what they are and how they tie back in the rest of the MCU (and its very big future).
(Spoilers ahead for both “Black Panther” and its post-credits scenes.)
1. The New Wakanda
The central conflict of “Black Panther” is both an emotional and a political one: since its inception, the country has guarded its most precious resource, the super-metal Vibranium, believing that interlopers would raid the country of the resource and leave them with none. Wakanda has spent the intervening years using its hefty Vibranium stores to advance its technologies, to guard its stunning main city, and to build a reputation as a cutoff third-world country will little to offer the rest of the planet. It’s a scheme that’s worked — and that it was put into place makes sense, especially when many of the events of the film start to play out — but it’s one that’s become increasingly untenable.
Courtesy of Marvel
Many of the characters in “Black Panther” — from King T’Challa (Boseman) to big bad Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) to T’Challa’s love Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) — are forced to grapple with this choice and the future it holds. By the time the film concludes, it’s become clear that Wakanda can no longer obscure its greatest gift, and the first post-credits scene shows the political ramifications of this hard-won decision. Set at a UN meeting in Vienna, it sees T’Challa, Nakia, and general Okoye (Danai Gurira) arriving with the intention to finally reveal what Wakanda is really about.
King T’Challa (AKA Black Panther) announces to the assembled members of the council that Wakanda is now prepared to offer aid to anyone — any person, any country — in need of help, a statement met with indifference by a confused pack of people. When one UN member asks T’Challa how a third-world country that, to their knowledge, has no technology and less money, can help others, the superhero answers with a sly smile. In the audience, CIA operative — and new Wakanda fanboy! — Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) grins.
It’s a nice moment, to be sure, but it’s also one that opens up T’Challa, his people, and his country to new scrutiny and new threats. Turns out, once you tell the world you’re a hyper-advanced superpower in the making with a massive store of the world’s most precious super-metal, some stuff is going to change. The first full-length trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War” doesn’t hold back on that front, either, making it very clear that a large-scale battle is coming for Wakanda.
2. The White Wolf
The last time we saw Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes (AKA The Winter Solider), it was in a “Captain America: Civil War” post-credits scene set in Wakanda. The superhero (or supervillain? ah, that’s the rub) had traveled there with best pal Captain America (Chris Evans) and, oh yeah, T’Challa himself, all the better to partake in Wakanda’s wondrous technology. Eager to finally kick Hydra out of his brain, Bucky offered himself up to the Wakanda tech wonks, putting himself back into cryogenic sleep until he can finally be cured.
And, yes, Bucky is still in Wakanda. He emerges in the final post-credits scene — most definitely no longer in a sleep tank, he’s basically out in the countryside — to a gaggle of curious Wakandan kids, who still seem transfixed by the strange man they refer to as the White Wolf. Also present: T’Challa’s science genius kid sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who has clearly used her prodigious brain to finally cure him. We know Bucky would be back in action for “Infinity War,” but this scene indicates that he’ll rejoin the team in fine shape indeed.
“Black Panther” hits theaters on Friday, February 16.
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Irish animator Nora Twomey didn’t need Angelina Jolie to make the Oscar-animated “The Breadwinner.” The production was already fully financed by Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny, Ireland, Aircraft Pictures in Toronto, and Melusine Productions in Luxembourg.
However, Twomey didn’t want Jolie’s name; she wanted her mind. This would be Twomey’s first outing as a solo director, and she recognized early on that she could use Jolie’s expertise on Afghanistan, where the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador has built schools for girls. Twomey wanted to tackle a sensitive drama about political oppression with adult sophistication and style; the story is based on Deborah Ellis’ 2000 YA novel about a tough 11-year-old girl who dresses as a boy in order to feed her mother and sisters when her father is captured by the Taliban.
So Twomey reached out to Jolie through mutual friends Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, the Egyptian filmmakers behind Oscar-nominated documentary “The Square.” Said Jolie, “We knew each other from working on refugee issues.”
Jolie not only offered advice about story beats and hiring voice actors, but also the intricacies of Afghanistan culture and navigating the country’s infrastructure. “Who better?” said Twoney. “She’s like a diplomat. She had a long interest in Afghanistan and an understanding of the issues we tried to explore in ‘The Breadwinner.’ She was someone who didn’t take anything lightly, she thought deeply, it was evident in everything she does. That was something we could use.”
“When we met, we just both saw the same film,” said Jolie. “We want people to respect what these young children go through and understand this magical culture with a rich, deep history. With the Afghanistan people, you only think about oppression. You don’t think about how a father loves his daughter, and what a daughter will do to risk her life for her daddy. People don’t think of those things, especially for Afghanistan after all these years of war.”
Twomey and Jolie also agreed to not pander to young viewers, but be willing to show them the realities of conflict. “We make big mistakes when we speak down to children on these issues,” said Jolie. “I’ve been surprised by the children I’ve brought to see this film — I thought my own would understand this — but others may see a woman in a burqa being beaten by the Taliban for the first time, or see why a little a girl would have to go to work to feed her family or change her gender in order to do that, what this is for women… They are able to absorb that and walk away feeling that they would be friends with Parvana, that they like to see themselves in her, that they are proud of Parvana and believe they are capable of more as children, that their voices matter.”
Twomey and Jolie were closely involved in the casting of the Afghan voices. Jolie listened carefully to tapes “to find the soul of the person,” she said. “This voice is too funny, or too old, or this person doesn’t sound as gentle.”
“She has an actor’s ear,” said Twomey, who credits Jolie with helping her cast an actress with a bubbly personality as Parvana’s best friend to counterbalance her heroine’s gravity. “She can’t be happy, as she is mourning her father who is missing.”
One way to modulate the terror was to keep the audience connected to the characters and show the stark beauty of the landscape and the power of a young girl’s fantasies. Twomey used an Afghanistan color palette to show “Parvana’s imagination and capacity as a storyteller and connection with her father and culture,” she said. “We wanted it to be a celebration of a young girl’s imagination, her love for her father and family, and her innocence and wisdom and flaws. We wanted her to be quite real: Imagination allows you to do that.”
Added Jolie, “I’d give little hints here and there for the early boards and the music,” she said. “The biggest discussion was about how do you end this: You cannot say, ‘Here come the planes and everything was better.’ You can’t do that to this country. And yet you want to give hope and say there’s a moving forward and yet have to be realistic that there is a future for Afghanistan.”
Twomey screened the movie for the First Lady of Afghanistan as well as an Afghan educator who also dressed as a boy to go to a secret school; the woman now runs schools for girls in Kabul. Older relatives of the film’s voice actors have been moved to talk about their own experiences for the first time after seeing the film. The filmmaker also screened “The Breadwinner” for the U.N. representative from Afghanistan, where the dubbed movie will be shown on television. “They have embraced it,” she said.
Jolie can’t wait to go back to the country and screen it as well. “They have ‘Sesame Street’ with Afghan characters,” she said. “Art has made its way. The Afghan people are an extremely creative people. They love this film because of all of their own that they recognize, from the way they have dinner to the music.”
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Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite, Jr. describe the fraudulent identification of a Civil War photograph of United States Colored Troops as members of the Confederate army’s First Louisiana Native Guard:
“The actual 1st Louisiana Native Guards, consisting of Afro-Creoles, was formed of about 1,500 men in April 1861 and was formally accepted as part of the Louisiana militia in May 1862. The Native Guards unit (one of three all-black companies) never saw combat while in Confederate service, and was largely kept at arm’s length by city and state officials; in fact, it often lacked proper uniforms and equipment. “The Confederate authorities,” James Hollandsworth has written, “never intended to use black troops for any mission of real importance. If the Native Guards were good for anything, it was for public display; free blacks fighting for Southern rights made good copy for the newspapers.” The unit apparently was never committed to the Confederate cause, and appears to have disobeyed orders to evacuate New Orleans with other Confederate forces; instead it surrendered to Union troops in April 1862…”
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‘The Lighthouse’: Robert Pattinson to Star in ‘The Witch’ Director’s Fantasy Horror Film Based on ‘Old Sea-Faring Myths’
Robert Pattinson would like to live deliciously. To prove it, he’s starring alongside Willem Dafoe in “The Witch” writer/director Robert Eggers’ sophomore feature “The Lighthouse,” described as “a fantasy horror story set in the world of old sea-faring myths.” A24 will distribute the film, as it did “The Witch,” in partnership with RT Features.
“We are beyond excited to be partnering again with Rob Eggers, a true visionary and one of the great filmmakers of his generation,” A24 said in a statement. “This new script blew us away—it creates a totally unique and ambitious universe and manages to somehow feel scary, suspenseful, wondrous, and beautiful all at the same time. We can’t wait to work with Rob and his team, and our partners at RT Features, Parts & Labor, and New Regency, to help bring this story to life.”
Pattinson has been a staple of the festival circuit since the “Twilight” franchise ended, most recently working with Claire Denis on her upcoming “High Life,” the Zellner Brothers on “Damsel,” and the Safdie Brothers on “Good Time.”
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