We Think Donald Glover Helped Write These Jokes In Black Panther

Photo: Courtesy of Marvel Studios.
Since it's premiere, Black Panther has exceeded all of our expectations. Over the weekend alone, Black Panther was able to make $242 million at the North American box office, making it the fifth highest grossing film opening of all time. Not only has the film has broken box office records, but it exceeded our expectations with its complex themes, fresh representation, and inspiring heroism. Could there be anything better?
Apparently, there is.
Enter Donald Glover, who is a force to be reckoned with. Over the last few years, we’ve seen his popularity grow as a musician, comedian, and actor with Community, Atlanta, and the upcoming films like Solo: A Star Wars Story and starring as Simba in the live action Lion King remake. But there are some roles that Glover has taken on that aren’t in the spotlight, but are just as awesome. As Esquire writes, Glover used his talents to help make the wildly successful Black Panther movie even better by doing some script doctoring.
As it turns out, the opportunity to help with Black Panther fell at Glover's lap. He was reached out to personally by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, who both wanted Glover to look over the script and give them notes. With the help of his brother Stephen Glover, Donald was able to tackle the task.
If I had to make a guess on which jokes Glover helped write in the film, my money is on him working out Shuri (Letitia Wright)'s amazing one-liners. When T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) makes his first appearance in her lab, where she unveils the Black Panther suit's capabilities, she throws in jabs at T'Challa that could only come from a sibling. Punchy jabs ("What are those?") like that could have easily come from the Glover brothers.
Or, who could forget the part of Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)'s big reveal that he was T'Challa's cousin, therefore making him a rightful contender for the throne? What gave that scene the extra shock factor to me was the way that humor was used to deepen the dramatics, a.k.a. when Killmonger looks at Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and says, "Hi, Auntie."
Glover recalled the incident in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where he shared his thoughts about the experience, saying, "Ryan [Coogler] was gracious enough to be like, ‘Will you take a look at this script?' Which was really cool. Marvel locks things down, so we had not as much time as I would’ve wanted. We had a couple of hours to punch up some jokes and stuff like that. It was already there anyway. They had already done a great job, so it was really cool to just get our fingerprints on there a bit.”
Viewers are often drawn into the way that a film can tackle important themes and weave them seamlessly into the storyline. And we often don't acknowledge it, but the people that write those jokes (as well as the rest of the script) matter. For a film as important as Black Panther, knowing that Black talent was helping on-screen and off made all of the difference.
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