While Wakanda may be a fictional country from a Marvel comic, audiences are happy to call it home. After 17 entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther has finally made its debut. Starring Chadwick Boseman in the title role, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, and this year's Oscar nominee for Best Actor in Leading Role Daniel Kaluuya, the hype behind this movie has propelled it to epic heights. Not just a movie, but a motion picture event, Black Panther represents the beginning of an era where racial inclusivity (finally) goes mainstream.
So, to celebrate King T'Challa's standalone debut, fans aren't just lining around blocks, but dressing up in equal parts traditional African garb and Black Panther-specific cosplay. To see how the costumed celebrating went down, keep reading to check out Black Panther: 21 Most Marvel-ous Outfits And Cosplays From Opening Night.
21 When MC Hammer Is Randomly In Your Theater
As if the release of Black Panther wasn't a big enough deal already, some theater-goers in Oakland got a celebrity surprise at their opening night premiere. None other than MC Hammer showed up to enjoy the show (though knowing perfectly well that fans would no doubt flock to snag a picture with the late-'80s/early-'90s hip hop legend). Rocking traditional African attire was just one way of showing that Hammer and Co. couldn't be happier to see T'Challa make his way to the big screen as the lead star.
Judging by the detail in this photo alone, it's clear that—no matter how psyched the they may have been for the movie—audience members weren't going to let this "2 Legit 2 Quit" moment pass them by.
20 Family Night Out
Maybe the beautiful thing about Black Panther is that it represents such a wildly positive step towards racial equality. To some, it's just another superhero movie, but to others, it's a movie that helps them feel as though they have a character with whom they can personally identify. (And it's about time.) One great example of this is a particular family who didn't just show up at Black Panther premiere to celebrate the movie, but to celebrate traditional African culture.
This family didn't hold back, showing off a brightly colored display of authentic dashikis before getting in line for the movie.
T'Challa may be slaying it on screen, but this family has the slay game down in the movie theater seats, thank you very much.
19 'WIN FOR THE CULTURE'
The pride that is stemming off of Black Panther's release is palpable. And what's great is that fans aren't just showing off their pride by simply showing up for screenings, but but showing off visual representations of said pride. Take this fan, for example. Donning a traditional, multicolored kufi hat, he makes a specific point on his Instagram to address the fact that Black Panther is "a WIN FOR THE CULTURE." (And in case passersby weren't entirely sure that his spark of excitement was stemming off of the Black Panther premiere, he carried around with him the movie's IMAX poster just for good measure.)
If you're not shaking with excitement over this movie—especially with how fans are responding to it—you might want to have a one-on-one with yourself and check your pulse.
18 Wakandan Disguise
While some fans were showing off their excitement for Black Panther by donning traditional African garb for the premiere, others were simply taking inspiration directly from the film. This fan—seemingly sporting typical daywear—has Black Panther's mask at the ready, as well as some of the makeup design seen on some characters in the film's promos.
However, as rad as it might be rocking T'Challa's very own crime-fighting mask during the premiere, it's definitely in this audience member's best interests to keep it propped over her head like that, and not over her face, during the movie. One could certainly bet money on the fact that watching the movie through those eye holes might not make for a positive viewing experience...
That said, though, the mask is awesome.
17 Mom & Pop
There's a common misconception among people who consider themselves to be diehard fans of a given fictional property. And this misconception has to do with age. For example, some people might argue that you can only enjoy something like Pokemon if you're under the age of 12, while some other people might argue that you can't be a legitimate Star Wars fan unless you were a during the '70s, back when the very first movie premiered.
This is all BS. And to prove that this is all BS, just take a look at these fans who had a photo of themselves snapped before heading off to see Black Panther on opening night. This mom and pop are showing off both their geek pride and cultural pride, and their daughter couldn't be happier or more excited to see them do so.
When this group of fans showed up to see Black Panther, they weren't just treating it like some run-of-the-mill, casual night out. No, they treated this like an event (and rightfully so). Wearing traditional African apparel, they made sure to capture the moment on camera, showing the Twitter-verse that they were more than happy to see a movie and a character that represented their culture, that broke barriers, and that opened the door for more mainstream representation of black men and women in the near future. The dedication here from these guys is on point.
Seriously, though, the excitement for this movie is overwhelming (in a good way). How can you not want to see Black Panther after such epic build-up? *runs out and gets in line, then cries from excitement/happiness*
15 The Black Panther Momentum Is Ripe
Now, if you're still fanning yourself from that previous post—apologies all around, because this is some more of the same. These guys took a similar approach to their night out at the premiere of Black Panther, showing off traditional African garb with smiles and pride.
According to this Australian Twitter user, donning this sort of attire wasn't just exciting, but necessary. Along with the photo, he tweeted: "Had to do it one time for the culture!" While some fans rock lightsabers or wands at their movie premieres, these fans are taking a more traditionally-inspired route, proving that people from all over the world are riding the Black Panther wave with equally seismic amounts of pure elation.
Anyone else down to wait in stasis with the Winter Soldier until Black Panther 2 is released?
14 Wakandan Youth
When it comes to inspiring people, major changes in mainstream culture can have rippling effects that some people can't even comprehend. Sure, you might be perfectly aware that Black Panther marks a path for positive change in Hollywood, but be sure to look closer. Where Wonder Woman was an exciting example of how women, young and old, can feel represented in a major motion picture, Black Panther does that as well, not just for the fans who are old enough to drive themselves to the premiere, but to kids as well.
Just look at these kids. They have characters on screen to whom they can relate. If that doesn't fill you with undefinable amounts of joy, then your cold heart needs some serious warming up.
13 Sister & Brother
If ever there was a perfect way to celebrate one's birthday, it's this. Some family members simply get their siblings a throwaway gift or birthday cake, but this brother took things to an epic level. Sporting traditional African attire, he took his sister to see Black Panther (for a second time!) on opening night. Considering it just came out, that is some serious dedication, so they both deserve several pats on the backs.
Also, can we just appreciate how adorable these two are—not just from this photo, but from the caption as well? He points out that his sister got him "through some of the darkest hours of" his life, and as repayment, he's proving his worth as "Best Brother of the Year."
Much respect to this guy.
12 'We Out' -Harriet Tubman
Black Panther makes for an exciting moviegoing experience, but it's important to acknowledge the fact it's release is genuinely historical. Black representation in film isn't common in mainstream movies—let alone major motion picture franchises on the scale of the MCU—so it's important to look back to the past, to see how far society has come, but to also understand from where this journey stems.
When this family went out to see Black Panther, they did exactly that, sporting shorts dedicated to Harriet Tubman's quote, "We out." She was an abolitionist who risked her life to rescue African American slaves from the southern United States, and this family went to the Black Panther premiere to make sure people understand how monumental it is that this movie exists.
11 Wrong Movie, Guys
Now, while some people were happy to wear traditional African garb at the Black Panther premiere, these two audience members may have misunderstood what movie it was they were actually standing in line for. At first glance, you might assume that they were attempting to take inspiration from African culture, but in reality, they're simply cosplaying the two main characters from the 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America.
That said, even though they got the movie wrong, cosplay is all about entertainment, and it's safe to say these two definitely didn't disappoint in that that department. However, there were likely some disappointed fans in their theater who may have patiently waited for these two characters to show up on screen... only to never end up doing so.
10 Charitable Cosplayers
While some audience members wore traditional African garb or even donned Black Panther's mask, these two cosplayers went all-in. One half of this married couple went ahead and saw the movie in a full-body Black Panther costume (which may or may not have been comfortable—who's to say?).
What's interesting about this particular couple is that they're not just your garden-variety cosplayers. It turns out that they are actually part of a group called Atlanta Cosplayers who attend various charity events—while costumed, naturally. Now, in this case, even though they may be accustomed to giving, they got to indulge in the majesty that is King T'Challa and his crime-fighting alias. But who can blame them? It may feel good to help people, but helping yourself to the opening night of Black Panther is also quite satisfying.
9 Look Authentic, Stay Warm
No matter how excited you are about seeing certain highly-anticipated movies, it's never fun to wait in line. You can be with your friends, you can be with your significant other, and/or you can be playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on your Nintendo Switch—doesn't matter. Waiting in line for a movie is hell on cement.
That said, though, if you happen to be this particular gentleman waiting in line, decked in full African attire, there's evidently no reason to be unhappy. Prepped and ready to see Black Panther, this guy is unashamedly all-smiles, giving zero effs to the fact that the movie doesn't start for another four hours (OK, that's not actually the case, but it makes the whole situation seem funnier).
The guy behind him, however, doesn't seem quite as thrilled.
Wakanda may not be a real place, but the pride its receiving seems more potent than national pride aimed at actual countries—which says a lot. And to join the proud fans is Blair Imani, the inspirational author of Modern HERstory. This is someone who has never shied away from showing her pride, so it's only right that she would extend that zeal to something as epic as Black Panther.
On her trip to the movies, she wore traditional African attire, while the rest of her party donned an alternative Black Panther costume. These ones harken back to the revolutionary organization from the 1960s called the Black Panther Party. So, these outfits may not stem from the movie, but you definitely can't argue that they're not on brand.
7 Fierce AF
If you want to call attention to yourself, bright colors never hurt. And while it just so happens that most traditional African attire is loaded with variety of striking colors, these audience members went to town with their visual inspiration. During the opening night of Black Panther, these two sported two different color palettes (as bold as they could possibly get), but represented the same cultural themes.
In fact, these two even incorporated makeup and jewelry into their attire, solidifying the fact that they no doubt took home the unofficial "Best Outfit Award" at this particular theater. (And check out those nails, because OMG yes.)
But before you continue scrolling, let's throw a quick shout-out to the guy in the back with the Black Panther mask. We see you.
The outfits and costumes in Black Panther are next-level inspired. Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter (there are already whispers that she'll undoubtedly earn an Oscar nomination for this movie next year) nailed the design, giving the movie an amazing blend of fantasy and authenticity. What she also pulled off, however, ended up inspiring people of all ages to attend Black Panther in outfits of their very own.
Just take these two, for example. One mother took to Facebook—clearly excited about Black Panther—to write: 'When I eventually go to experience it with my daughters, I’m gonna dress them back up in these Congolese costumes they wore for kiddies carnival last weekend.' When you're a kid going to see a movie on this scale, you'd be lucky to have a parent this enthusiastic.
Her hashtag #extraandlovingit is just the icing on the cake.
5 'The Usual Rangers'
If you want to show off your excitement for a movie, and you also just so happen to be a team of cosplayers, then there should be no surprise that you're going to show off said excitement with homemade costumes. For the Usual Rangers, this was, of course, the case. They showed up at the Black Panther premiere rocking movie-inspired outfits, proving that they don't take cosplay (or this movie's release) lightly.
If you check out their other group cosplays on their Instagram, you'll see that their talent speaks for itself. The level of detail is on point, and their excitement is more than a little evident. That said, if we had to give an award for most comfortable outfit, it definitely goes to whoever that is dressed up as Black Panther himself. Spandex may not be the most breathable material, but it's certainly cozy.
In Black Panther, T'Challa inherits the royal throne from his father. (If you remember back in Captain America: Civil War, his father is killed in an explosion.) So, even though the movie has a lot to do with fighting and being epic AF, it's also very much telling the story of a son doing his best to prove that he is a trustworthy (keyword: worthy) leader.
This angle clearly wasn't lost on this audience member. She may not be donning any outfits directly inspired by the movie itself, but she's well aware of A) the culture and B) the royalty. With the African print skirt and traditional jewelry, she's also here to remind T'Challa that he may well desire a queen someday. So, in case there's any confusion on the matter, she's rocking a shirt that literally says "Queen."
Sometimes, it's best to just get right to the point.
When it comes to certain franchises, some people are casual fans, some people are hardcore fans, and some people just go all-in, becoming one with the franchise. For proof, just check out this group. If you thought the cast of Black Panther was decked out in some epic Wakandan garb, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Compelled to not only "see" Black Panther, but "experience" it, this crew didn't hold back. Everything from their makeup to their jewelry to their outfits is applaudable. Seriously, it takes guts to go out in public rocking looks that aren't "traditional," but they obviously don't seem to care. And when you've got love for something as strong as their love is for Black Panther, maybe then you'll understand.
Also, this crew should feel especially proud, considering that one of the commenters wrote: 'I expected nothing less for all that awesomeness.'
2 Wakanda Forever
If you're going to express your affection for something, you may as well go all out. This even (and especially) applies to someone going to see Black Panther in theaters on opening night. Show pride in what you're going to see, be bold, take inspiration... Will you be the center of attention? Undoubtedly. But does something like Black Panther deserve that sort of attention? *In Snape's tone when he's talking to Umbridge* Obbvvviiiouslllly.
There are certain once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are worth stepping out of your comfort zone. Do you think this woman just casually rocks this sort of Jon Snow-esque cape regularly? Well, it's possible (and more to her if she does), but in reality—no. She did it for the moment; for the experience. And there's a rock solid chance she had zero regrets. #WakandaForever
1 'Experience It For Yourself'
So, if you weren't already sold on seeing Black Panther, hopefully this list of devoted fans inspired you. The MCU is entering its next phase after Avengers: Infinity War (as well as the as-of-yet-untitled fourth Avengers movie), and T'Challa is going to play a major role in it—probably even taking over Captain America as the team leader (but who really knows?). So, whether or not you're willing to brave your way into theaters wearing anything remotely close to a Black Panther-inspired getup, keep in mind that this isn't just another Marvel movie; it's a groundbreaker.
That said, let's not just end this list without admiring the looks that these two individuals are rocking. Simple, but elegant; colorful, but controlled. Can we call this Wakandan Casual? Will that stick? No? OK, whatever. Just go see Black Panther, m'kay?