A newly released Black Panther featurette explores the world of the concealed Wakanda, the regal and technologically advanced African nation overseen by King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
"The film is about Panther, but the film is equally about Wakanda," says first-time Marvel director Ryan Coogler, fresh off the critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station and Creed.
"Wakanda's walls have been up since its inception," says Martin Freeman, who reprises his Captain America: Civil War role of CIA agent Everett K. Ross.
"It's the best kept secret in the world, because they have something the world wants."
"They have this natural resource that Wakanda thrives off of," says Michael B. Jordan, who plays T'Challa's rival for the throne, Erik Killmonger.
"They mine it, they use it in technology. It's very sought after by anybody who's ever come in contact with it."
That coveted natural resource is Vibranium, an element used almost exclusively by Wakanda. The nearly indestructible metal is one of the ingredients of Captain America's (Chris Evans) near-invulnerable shield, and comprises T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) jungle cat-inspired superhero suit.
"Black Panther has to look out for an entire nation and also consider that nation's place in how they affect the rest of the world," says Boseman, who debuted as the superhero-slash-diplomat in Civil War, where T'Challa's father and former Wakanda leader T'Chaka (John Kani) was assassinated in a bombing at the Vienna International Center during a signing of the Sokovia Accords.
"To see an African country with kings and queens and warriors, it's so inspiring," says Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Wakandan diplomat and romantic lead Nakia.
"It's just an incredible world to occupy."
The Marvel production features over 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress, and high fashion, with costume designer Ruth Carter turning to artifacts and styles from Ghanda, South Africa, and real African tribes for inspiration in designing the colorful world of T'Challa and his people.
A shoulder piece sported by T'Challa's regal mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), for example, pays respect to "specific tribal inspirations that we came up with while creating a look that was entirely unique," says Coogler.
Wakanda steps into the spotlight in Black Panther, out February 16, before playing a big role in Avengers: Infinity War, out May 4.