‘Black Panther’: What You Need To Know About The Dora Milaje, Including Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia

Marvel’s Black Panther movie might only be set for release on February 16, 2018, but ever since the introduction of the titular character in this year’s Captain America: Civil War, we’ve been eagerly waiting for more tidbits of information coming from Wakanda, the mysterious country home to the Black Panther and his people.

Luckily, this year’s Comic-Con delivered on that front, bringing forward the main members of the Black Panther cast and . While we’re already familiar with Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther, we now know that Michael B. Jordan will play — hopefully without the skull belt buckle/skintight briefs combo we’ve seen him flaunting in the comics.

But what’s really getting me excited are the two main female characters, respectively played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira: Nakia and Okoye, both members of one of Wakanda’s most elite teams, the Dora Milaje, although with a very different outcome to their training.

Who Are The Dora Milaje?

The Dora Milaje / Marvel Comics

The Dora Milaje / Marvel Comics

It’s quite simple: the Dora Milaje, the Wankandian term for “Adored Ones,” are a highly skilled elite team surrounding the King of Wakanda. They’ve kicked Doom’s ass, among other highly powerful bad guys, and you’ve spotted one standing in Black Widow’s way in Civil War. Her face said essentially one thing: A Dora Milaje is not to be messed with.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ / Marvel Studios

They carry multiple roles, as their group was created as much as a political gesture to appease different clans of Wakanda, bringing together a daughter of each clan, as a way to surround the King with trusted partners — and potential wives.

But T’Challa, son of T’Chaka (who in the MCU died in an explosion at the UN headquarters) doesn’t really view them as love interests in waiting, preferring to treat them instead as little sisters. For the two main figures of the Dora Milaje, Nakia and Okoye, this attitude has two opposite consequences: Okoye doesn’t make too much of it, but Nakia is heartbroken at the realization that she’ll never get a chance with T’Challa.

And what happens when a very powerful woman has her heart broken, do you think?

Nakia: The Dora Milaje’s Rogue Member

You do NOT want to break this girl's heart. / Marvel Comics

You do NOT want to break this girl’s heart. / Marvel Comics

Nakia will be played by Lupita Nyong’o in the upcoming Black Panther, and she’s probably one of the most multifaceted characters of the movie. One of the original members of the Dora Milaje, Nakia falls madly in love with T’Challa, who meanwhile is busy elsewhere. So madly, actually, that she attempts to kill his former girlfriend Monica Lynne. Naturally, she’s exiled once T’Challa finds out the truth.

Obviously, that’s not the end of her relationship with the young King of Wakanda: In short, she gets lost and tortured only to be saved by the Black Panther’s longtime enemy, Killmonger. That’s right, the revenge-thirsty foe played by Jordan in the movie. He even gives her superstrength, and she returns to fight the Black Panther under the alias of Malice.

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

While she might not be one of the main antagonists in Black Panther — seeing as those might be — her closeness to T’Challa and his allies will certainly make her a pivotal character in the film. Can we expect a fight over the Black Panther between the two Dora Milaje, one his ally and friend, the other desperate for his love?

It’d be a great contribution to the character development we can expect to see in Black Panther, which is centering around T’Challa’s new role as king and his path to determining his true allies and enemies. Clearly there’s no better way to get us attached to the character!

Which character are you looking forward to seeing on the big screen in Black Panther?


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