Black Panther is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comic character of the same name. Directed by Ryan Coogler, this movie was the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It was produced in 2018 by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The movie stars many great actors, such as Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o alongside Angela Basset. But, the fans have gotten confused; is Viola Davis in the Black Panther, too?
In the Black Panther, Okoye is the General of the Dora Milaje and the head of the Wakandan armed forces. This character has left many fans wondering which actress was she really played by. Even though many have been thinking the role is awarded to Viola Davis, it has actually been confirmed that Okoye is played by Danai Gurira. According to Black Panther’s full cast and crew list on IMDB, Viola Davis is not playing any roles in the said movie. Not only have the fans been mistaken, but several photo agencies at The Acadamy’s Governors Ball have also mistaken Danai Gurira for Viola Davis.
If you’re curious to find out more about Viola Davis’ role in the Black Panther, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to debunk whether Viola Davis was actually starring in the Black Panther, all while explaining her other roles. Most notably, the role she plays in The Woman King. Keep on reading if you want to know more about these culturally interesting movies and the successful actresses that are starring in them!
So, is Viola Davis in the Black Panther?
In Black Panther, Okoye is a fierce female General of the Dora Milaje and the head of Wakandan intel and armed forces. In the movie, we can see her alongside T’Challa as she is tracking down Ulysses Klaue. Yet, after Erik Killmonger overther T’Challa, she finds herself confused and conflicted between her close friendship with T’Challa and serving her new king.
But, just like Okoye, the fans have been left confused, too, as they couldn’t figure out who exactly was playing her. After all, it wouldn’t be shocking in the least if Marvel really decided to hire Viola Davis, who is already well-known for her successful roles and who has already established herself as an acclaimed actor.
But, what the fans thought was Viola Davis, has been Danai Gurira all along! What’s even funnier, even the official stock photo agencies at The Academy’s Governors Ball have mistaken Danai Gurira for Viola Davis.
Undoubtedly, these two actors are very physically similar. What’s even better, they’re both also well-respected in the movie industry. Danai Jekesai Gurira is best known for her starring role in the horror drama series The Walking Dead where she played Michonne, and her role as Okoye in the MCU superhero movies (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame).
Viola Davis, on the other hand, has been a recipient of various awards, including an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards. She is also the only African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.
Viola Davis and her role in The Woman King
Viola Davis is a critically revered actress, so it doesn’t come off as a surprise that she has starred in many well-acclaimed movies and TV series. One of her most famous roles was as Annalise Keating in the TV series named How to Get Away with Murder (2014-2020). She has also starred in many popular movies, such as the Fences (2016), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), and The Suicide Squad.
Viola Davis is also playing the lead role of General Nanisca, in an upcoming American historical epic film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, which is scheduled to be released on September 16, 2022. According to IMDB, the movie was based on the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The kingdom is said to exist until 1904, sporting an all-female military regiment (Agojie). Apparently, it was located in West Africa, modern-day Benin. Due to their similarity to the mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia and the Black Sea, Western observers and historians named them the Dahomey Amazons.
In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Davis shared light on her training routine for the role of Nanisca, an African commander who led the Agojie. Apparently, Davis trained four hours a day, five days a week, incorporating all kinds of exercise.
“Weight training, sprinting, martial arts, and weaponry training for the machete. I like to say that I was the OG warrior. [Laughs.]-Viola Davis
Davis is no joke! But, as an actress of color, she says, the choices are very limited. Especially in the movie industry. Unfortunately, even though things have slowly been changing for the better, equal black rights are still something we all need to fiercely fight for. And, this is exactly what The Woman King is portraying; astonishing black, female warriors, fighting for their freedom and lives. “I knew what it would mean to us as Black people”, Davis said, “and what it would mean for Black women sitting in that movie theater. The responsibility is really high.”
But, what do The Woman King and Black Panther have in common?
In conclusion, even though the Black Panther was based on the character from a fictional story in the Marvel Universe, both of these movies contain strong themes of ethnic and tribal wars within the same race. They are also very culturally specific; the traditional clothes the characters wear, the hairstyles, etc. And, undoubtedly, both of these movies have sparked numerous discussions and theories, as the most fierce warriors were female.
Again, the movies are not directly related, as the Black Panther was released by MCU and is based on a fictional character, while The Woman King was released by Sony Pictures Releasing, and based on a true story of the Dahomey all-female warriors. Nevertheless, these movies are closely connected, as both of them include aspects of slavery, colonialism, and black rights matters. What’s most important, The Woman King is also uncovering the buried history of Agojie warriors. Just like Dora Milaje in Black Panther, both of these movies are based on real warriors. If that isn’t badass, then we don’t know what is.