As part of its Black Panther coverage ahead of the San Diego Comic-Con International next week, Entertainment Weekly caught up with The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira to discuss her role as Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje, in the upcoming Marvel blockbuster.
“She is an extremely proud Wakandan,” states Gurira. “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.”
Gurira also spoke about the Dora Milaje, the all-female personal bodyguards of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa: “They are not utopic, but what Wakanda has down well is it has honored people by allowing them to function within their strengths. These women are functioning within their strengths. Their strength is to preserve Wakanda in a Special Forces-type way. It’s more like a Secret Service in a sense that it’s also very much about intel. It’s not just military. [Okoye] is head of intel. [Laughs] She is a busy woman.”
SEE ALSO: Chadwick Boseman talks Black Panther, Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
Black Panther sees Ryan Coogler (Creed) directing Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa alongside Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Nakia, Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as Erik Killmonger, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) as Okoye, Winston Duke (Person of Interest) as M’Baku, Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Zuri, Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) as W’Kabi, Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) as Ramonda, Florence Kasumba (Captain America: Civil War) as Ayo, Martin Freeman (Captain America: Civil War) as Everett Ross, Andy Serkis (Captain America: Civil War) as Ulysses Klaue, Letitia Wright (Ready Player One) as Shuri and Nabiyah Be as Nightshade. The film is set for release on February 16th, 2018.