The highlight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been seeing such iconic characters and locations from the comics come to life on screen. However, it seems that the comics haven’t been the only influence for the big screen adaptations. Recently Hannah Beachler, the production designer for Black Panther revealed one movie that significantly inspired the look of Wakanda, the original Blade Runner.
The reveal came in response to a fan who asked Hannah Beachler on Twitter if Blade Runner had inspired her, or director Ryan Coogler, in their vision of what Wakanda would look like. Beachler responder that the Ridley Scott film was very much an influencer for her. Specifically, she says that the density of the city, as well as the way that tech was forward thinking, were the primary ways that the film guided her design.
It’s not hard to see the influence. A look at this image of Wakanda from the Black Panther trailer shows a city very much like the version of Los Angeles we see in Blade Runner. The only real difference being that we Los Angeles is in almost perpetual darkness, while Wakanda at least gets some sun.
We certainly see how the density of the city influenced Wakanda as all the buildings, including some pretty impressive skyscrapers, are all very close together. We also have similar modes of transportation as flying vehicles seem to be the method of choice for getting around the city. If the city is this dense, one assumes it has a pretty massive population as well, making the need for verticality, both in the buildings and the transportation, important.
Of course, there’s another movie that also took Blade Runner’s aesthetics as a major influence, the sequel which is hitting theaters on Friday. Blade Runner 2049takes all the technology from the original and advances it by 30 years.
Blade Runner inspired a lot of futuristic looks in popular culture so it’s far from surprising that it influenced Black Panther. The one interesting difference here is that Wakanda is a modern city, simply one that is more technologically advanced than the rest of the world. It’s essentially the future but one that modern people could potentially visit.
We’ll get to see more of Wakanda when Black Panther arrives in theaters in February. Blade Runner 2049 is in theaters on Friday.