“Black Panther” introduced Okoye to the world. The best fighter in Wakanda and head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female Wakandan Special Forces, Okoye’s fearless strength was admired by many and for actress Danai Gurira, best known for her immensely popular role of the katana-wielding Michonne in the hit AMC series “The Walking Dead,” playing that character really resonated with her.
“What I love about Okoye is that she is very unapologetic, and she is a traditionalist in the sense that she believes in the sovereignty of her nation. That really resonated with me because I was raised on the continent and seeing a country like Wakanda which has had no history of colonization became so powerful.”
Speaking at the press conference of “Avengers: Endgame,” which follows the remaining superheroes after a grave course of events set in motion by Thanos fractured the Avengers ranks, Gurira talked about being drawn to Okoye’s complexities.
“She doesn’t have rage issues. She loves her life, she loves her country, she loves her people and she will do whatever it takes to take care of what must be done and there is a fierceness that I think she has about her. She unapologetically embraces her femininity and it’s been fun to get to see her in all these different ways and be a part of the Marvel Universe.”
Born in the U.S. but raised in Zimbabwe, Gurira is an award-winning playwright known for compelling exploration of African characters and their stories.
“As a playwright, I write about African stories and try to tell them in the Western context,” she continues, “so to see African characters showcased in an epic platform is exciting. ‘Black Panther’ really brought to light the beautiful components of women from Africa within the context of the power of this prosperous, self-sufficient unseen kingdom that is not affected by all outside influences.”
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo “Avengers: Endgame” also stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd and Karen Gillan and releases in theaters April 26.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios