Next year's Black Panther isn't interested in employing boring tropes. In a fresh interview with Teen Vogue, Lupita Nyong'o discussed her inspiration for taking the role of Nakia and the efforts Ryan Coogler's film made toward eschewing tropes in favor of something far more interesting.
"My character, Nakia, was a departure from the character you see in the comic books, Nyong'o, who was interviewed alongside fellow Black Panther star Letitia Wright, said earlier this week. "She's this independent woman, super patriotic but also very questioning of her society, and I liked that. With her complicated relationship with T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), I knew it was going to be kind of sexy, and I was like, 'OK, I definitely want in.'"
To avoid what Nyong’o calls the "expected female-rival narrative," Coogler made sure the women in the story weren't pitted against each other one-dimensionally. "In our story, there are so many different women holding their own space," she said. "Women may be in competition with each other, sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean there’s an absence of love or respect. Shuri is the sister to the Black Panther and the leader of technological pursuits, and Nakia is someone who has a complicated history with the Black Panther and is a warrior in her own right. You see them work together, and you see a dynamic that is really encouraging."
The process of making Black Panther, Nyong'o added, "awakened" her. "I walked away from this experience feeling extremely supported, and I felt challenged," she said.
Black Panther hits theaters Feb. 16, 2018.