One of the most interesting points going forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is how Wakanda will factor into the future as a state with a more open approach to cooperation between countries. It looks like someone from the United States Department of Agriculture is either a big fan of Black Panther or has a great sense of humor. The department had listed Wakanda as a free trade country in their Tarrif Tracker on the website. A spokesperson says that the selection was likely present to test the features and should have gotten removed after the testing concluded. Instead, it was a fun easter egg for people using the service earlier this week until increased attention to the error led a lot of people to post about it on social media. According to NBC News, the option was first discovered by Francis Tseng, who is currently a fellow at the Jain Family Institute. Tseng noticed the weird inclusion on Wednesday morning while doing some research and immediately googled the fictional nation to double check what he found. But, yes, somehow Wakanda made the cut alongside some decidedly more real destinations.
Mike Illenberg, a spokesperson for the USDA commented, “Over the past few weeks, the Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly. The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."
For his part, Tseng said, “I definitely did a double take. I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”
“I was trying to figure out whether this is someone at the USDA making a joke or if it’s a developer who accidentally left it in, but I’m not sure,” he concluded.
So, just like that Wakanda’s borders are once again closed to the United States. Not by some obscure economic policy, but as a matter of computer error. Luckily no real damage occurred, but there were likely some stunned faces at the Marvel offices this morning. Sorry everyone, you will have to go elsewhere to get that Vibranium.
Other upcoming Marvel Studios movies include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.