When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each film has its own unique and impressive production designs. One of the most beautiful and complex looks in the MCU is Wakanda, the beloved fictional country in Black Panther (2018).
In a Hollywood Reporter piece on productions designers, the site caught up with Hannah Beachler, the creative visionary behind the Wakanda scenery.
"We really wanted to make sure that we were always thinking about what impact the city had on its natural surroundings," explains Beachler, "and how it is integrated into the ecology and topography of its location in Wakanda."
The designer also credits Zaha Hadid as being a large source of inspiration. The late architect was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize and was known for her "bold and expressive curves."
"The way she used space and form is breathtaking,” Beachler added.
As it turns out, the South African ruins of Mpumalanga were the main source of inspiration for "the palace and much of the design language of Wakanda." Mpumalanga dates back 100,000+ years and is labeled "the oldest civilization known to man."
Another inspiration for Beachler was nature itself. "We looked to nature for the shapes of the buildings," she explains, "for example, using the shape of the twisted horn of the eland as inspiration for a skyscraper."
It was important for the creators to showcase Wakanda as the "technologically advanced society" its known for while still having the sense of its "historical" and "cultural" past.
In addition to her marvelous work on Black Panther, Beachler also served as the production designer on director Ryan Cooler's earlier hits, Fruitvale Station and Creed, which both starred Black Panther's main antagonist, Michael B. Jordan. Beachler also took the design lead on Moonlight, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2017.
In addition to her film work, Beachler worked on Beyoncé's "Lemonade" music videos, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2016.
There's no word yet if Beachler will be working on the Black Panther sequel, but she is signed on to do the production design for Y, the upcoming television adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s hit comic, Y: The Last Man.