'Black Panther' Production Designer on Why Circles Play a Major Role
While T'Challa may have debuted in Captain America: Civil War, his upcoming solo film Black Panther will head to an uncharted corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Wakanda. Considered a utopia by its residents, the African nation has achieved incredible heights of technology, while also honoring traditional symbology. Production designer Hannah Beachler shared how she incorporated circles into many of the film's designs as well as what makes them so important during a set visit last year.
"I did a lot of research into what the circular designs mean as far as you look at Stonehenge, a lot of these old designs, and they were actually based on the idea of bringing in plumbing, not electric, but using water as a way to create an electricity, if you will," Beachler shared with ComicBook.com. "Rome did it, but it was all based on these circles. A lot of the cave writings that you see in South Africa, the idea behind it was that whatever was there before, if you ever watch Ancient Aliens, there was always a guy like, 'It was aliens.' Calm down, bring it down 1,000, we don't know what it was."
Instead of relying on aliens, Beachler justified the circular patterns in various other ways.
"The idea behind it was there was always these circles, and it has to do with vibration and sound and a lot of the stuff that we're doing is sonic and based on sound and vibration," Beachler noted. "Vibranium is about vibration and soaking that vibration in. We started with Hall of Kings with the circle because of that and it was interesting, at one point when I was doing Hall of Kings I found one of the ancient structures in South Africa, and you'll have to excuse me, I do not remember the name right now, they had done a plan view layout of it. I took it after we had done the layout for Hall of Kings and set it literally right on top of our plan and it was identical. That was one of those moments where I was like, 'My gosh, this is kismet, I don't know what's happening.'"
After discovering the coincidence, Beachler relied on those circular concepts even more strongly.
"Then we started bringing it in as a design language and a lot of the society is based on that vibration and sound as communication, and sound as life as well as water and air," Beachler detailed. "Bringing that in really was a part of creating its own tradition."
Black Panther hits theaters on February 16th.