The excitement before the opening of the black panther.

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Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

The excitement before the opening of the black panther.

The film has a black superhero, a mostly black actor, and a future society in Africa. David green and John terry talked about why it means so much to many people of color.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

One of the first black comic superheroes is making a comeback. “Panther” was a product of the 1960s. This is the first time that marvel has presented the king and protector of a fictional African nation. Now, after years of obscurity, he is making his own film.

(movie voice, “panther”)

MARTIN FREEMAN :(just like Everett Ross) you tell me, the king of the third world is wearing a bulletproof suit and running around?

Unknown actor :(as a character) yes.

INSKEEP: the movie opened this week with a written article about Rolling Stone for Tre Johnson.

TRE JOHNSON: I’m a black kid growing up in central jersey. And, you know, I’m really shy, really embarrassed. Comic books are a very safe place for me.

INSKEEP: a little bit safe. When he was a child, Johnson wanted to wear a costume like spider-man, but he didn’t think he could, because the character in spider-man was white. The author tells David green why this is important.

Johnson: all entertainment is escapism. For? Just as we like to see ourselves living in costumes and shawls that we really find our beloved characters. I think, I think there’s a little bit of a problem that I think of, it’s almost there for people, about, why can’t I see myself running away from many of the stories I like? And I think that constant negligence really surprises you, just like — who is actually attached to it?

David Greene: so I know you haven’t seen the new movie yet. But you’ve seen the trailer, right?

Johnson: yes.

Edward green: I know it’s true – I mean, even if it’s emotional for you.

Johnson: I was really moved to look at the trailer. Here, I’m like a 40-year-old black man who has spent decades reading comic books and black characters on or near the sidelines. So like know like on a big screen to see a lot of “black panther” type of story in a major sense of how difficult it is, I think a lot about my niece, nephews and Cousins. For? They are all under 10 years old. These children do not have to stand in the way of the struggle to see these stories, which is what they know.

Edward green: there are other films with super black heroes. Those films have strong black leaders. Why is that? Why is this so special?

Johnson: you know, when you have seen some films that has happened before, such as “blade”, “catwoman” halle berry, even will Smith “Hancock”, I often take these as with the actor’s own name brands combined with the project. You know, you’ll think of will Smith as Hancock. You’ll see Wesley snipes as the blade. I think it’s different, because one of them is almost entirely black. Second, the fact that Africa is happening in places like Britain has not happened to black and African heroes. It’s a completely unique thing to incorporate all of this into a movie.

Edward green: given that you wanted the movie to be a superhero for your niece and nephew, it could be black. Did you put too much pressure on the film to do too much?

Johnson :(laughter) no, I don’t think so. It’s very much like a cultural moment. I looked at various ways of seeing parties in my social media Feed. People are talking about how they dress and prepare and how they will celebrate this moment. Like, I don’t think it’s too much. It’s too time-consuming. I’ve always been puzzled by the reaction of mainstream media to such a huge cultural trend as “panther” movies and movies. It’s like, it’s a reflection of our audience that’s always here, and we’re ready to see our typical stories on the home screen.

INSKEEP: David is talking to writer Tre Johnson.

(” SOUNDBITE OF SONG “, “all stars”)

KENDRICK LAMAR and SZA :(singing) this could be my dream that I know all the stars are closer together and all the stars are closer together.

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