That Wakanda is hidden is actually pretty important to the story of Black Panther. The nation just so happens to be rich in a particular natural resource -- vibranium -- which generates a lot of interest from the outside world. It's that resource and the interest in it that, according to producer Nate Moore, is part of why Wakanda chooses to be hidden away from the prying eyes of the rest of the world.
"If you think about the way the world works, whenever any country has something of value, it tends to draw a lot of eyes," Moore told ComicBook.com during a visit to the set of Black Panther last year. "It tends to draw you into conflict, frankly. I think Wakanda saw, very early on, that if people knew that they had vibranium, which they do, they were going to be conquered. Or at least at war forever. So, they did the smart thing."
And closing Wakanda off was that smart thing.
"They hid that fact, so nobody knows that they have the stuff," Moore explained. "That's why they've been able to have these advancements, because they don't spend money on war. They don't spend money defending themselves constantly. They just spend money on infrastructure, which again, that will feel topical without being overt, but just that idea."
By turning the focus inward, Wakanda is able to not only create its advanced society, but it also benefits from the rest of the world's narrow view of what being a small African nation is, which, interestingly enough, presents the film with a unique opportunity to portray what an African nation that was never colonized and never interfered with might look like.
"Oh yeah, what happens when you're not 24/7 trying to fend off the rest of the world?" Moore said. "By hiding in plain sight, and being what people think of as a small African nation. Poor, farmers, shepherds, textiles. People leave them alone, and that's allowed them to build something amazing."
It's an idea that one of the film's stars, Lupita Nyong'o previously told Vogue gave her joy, because it has never been done before and, seeing it on the big screen, is an affirmation of African culture.
"The little Kenyan child in me leaped for joy because it's such an affirmation," Nyong'o said. "What colonialism does is cause an identity crisis about one's own culture."
Audiences will get to see Wakanda and how different a world it is when Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.