This entire week has felt like one long Black Panther release day. The reactions and long ticket lines and the takes, theories, and fanart have been coming faster than I know how to handle. It's a cultural phenomenon in ways we couldn't have imagined, making half a billion dollars in just one week with shows across the country still selling out. Hats off to Ryan Coogler on this being his third film, following Creed and Fruitvale Station. 

For any movie this size, behind-the-scenes shenannigans are almost guaranteed. After some quick digging, it turns out that Black Panther has plenty of fun, painful, and embarrassing behind-the-scenes moments and details ready to bolster your fandom even more. 


1. Letitia Wright Princess Leia buns

There were plenty of inspirations for Wakandan fashion, but one specifically happened to come from a galaxy far far away. Letitia Wright came to the set on her first day with her hair in braids on a whim, but Ryan Coogler loved the look so much, specifically because of the Princess Leia homage, that she wore them through the scenes anyway. Gotta thank whoever for small miracles like these.  


2. How Kendrick Lamar helped create the soundtrack 

We're living in a world where The Walt Disney Company has comissioned a Kendrick Lamar album in the vein of Drake's "playlist" More Life, but he and Top Dawg Entertainment weren't always tapped to do the whole thing. Initially, Coogler approached Lamar and TDE CEO Anthony Tiffith to only make a handful of songs, but when Coogler showed Lamar some of the film, he was so impressed that he just decided to do the whole thing on the spot. 

https://open.spotify.com/album/3pLdWdkj83EYfDN6H2N8MR

He, Tiffith, and in-house producer Sounwave worked on ideas for hooks and production during Lamar's cross-country tour for his critically acclaimed album DAMN. The end result featured artists from across the world, including the U.S. (Vince Staples, ScHoolboy Q, SOB X RBE), the U.K. (James Blake, Jorja Smith) and even South Africa (Yungen Blakrok, Babes Wudomo, Saudi).   


3. Ryan Coogler switched Killmonger's city of origin

Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Black Panther

Like most of the characters in the movie, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens is a character from the comics being given some much needed shine. Created by Don McGregor and Rich Buckler in 1973, Killmonger's original city of origin is Harlem, NYC, but Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, changed it to his hometown of Oakland, CA. It might seem like a purely cosmetic change, but considering the personal touches this adds to the story of Killmonger fighting his way back to Wakanda and the connection of the actual Black Panther Party being founded in Oakland in 1966, it all makes much more sense. 


4. The Scarification of Michael B. Jordan  

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Sitting in a chair for hours working with movie makeup is as tiring as it is thrilling. Michael B. Jordan's transformation into Killmonger might have been a bit more tiring than most, though. Accoridng to an interview with makeup designer Joel Harlow, each and every "scar" (basically giant mounds of glue and sillicone) was laid with a sheet and blended into his body with makeup, a process that would take hours. 

But that's not even the worst part. On top of the general wear and tear that comes with wearing clothing over mounds of glue on your body, taking everything off was its own challenge. Jordan would have to spend hours in a sauna so he could sweat them off and a team with oil remover would come and completely remove the makeup from his skin. How badly do you want to be a movie star? 

5. 3D printed green dress on Lupita Nyong'o?

Ryan Coogler's Vanity Fair breakdown of the casino scene is a video packed with great details, but there was one bit that jumped out the most. After a lengthy talk about the colors used in the scene (T'Challa's black suit, Okoye's red uniform, and Nakia's green dress represent the colors of the Pan-African flag), he lets slip that Lupita Nyong'O's dress isn't made from cloth. The dress was actually 3D-printed to suit her body.  


6. Rap battles on set

Having fun on a movie set is one thing, but kicking game during business hours is another thing entirely. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira mentioned how the two of them would break out into freestyle battles during down time on the set. Gurira even managed to trick Wright when she started rapping lyrics to LL Cool J's "Around The Way Girl." Wright never lived that down. 

7. Lupita/Michael B. Jordan push-up challenge 

The Black Panther press tour has been something to behold, but it looks like Lupita Nyong'o and Michael B. Jordan have been having the most fun. Jordan lost a bet on the set of the movie, so Nyong'o can force him to do one push-up whenever she wants. He's had to do them in dressing rooms and in the middle of New York Fashion Week, and with two left, who knows where she'll make him do one next? 


8. Cool king

The Black Panther suit looks lightweight and comes out of a necklace in the movie, but it's hotter and heavier than you probably realized. In an interview with Desus & Mero, Chadwick Boseman revealed that the suit was actually rigged with a cooling system that kept him as comfortable as possible while he was bouncing around the set. Anything to keep from overheating while you're on the job.