Yes, Danai Gurira’s Okoye in ‘Black Panther’ Will Definitely Be Gay

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It’s always interesting to see which bits of the source material superhero movies choose to form their story. In the case of Black Panther, the writers had a wealth of recent storylines to draw from, and it looks like at least parts of the movie will dip a toe into Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, and Yona Harvey’s World of Wakanda spinoff series — namely, the awesome gay female warrior stuff.

Rough cuts of footage from Black Panther screened for critics on Monday evening, and one of the scenes shows what Vanity Fair describes as, “so much more” than Beauty and the Beast’s overblown “exclusively gay moment.”

In the rough cut of this Black Panther scene, we see Gurira’s Okoye and Kasumba’s Ayo swaying rhythmically back in formation with the rest of their team. Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, ‘You look good.’ Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, ‘I know.’

Okoye and Ayo, played by The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira and Florence Kasumba (the woman who told Black Widow to “move” and instantly became our favorite character in Civil War), respectively, are two canonically gay characters whose relationship is what World of Wakanda centers on. They’re part of T’Challa’s personal guard of female warriors, as is Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, and are tasked with protecting him and the nation of Wakanda from any nefarious forces from outside, and sometimes inside.

Of the other scenes screened for critics, one was a shootout in a South Korean casino between Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis, a few centered on T’Challa himself, and another featured Lupita Nyong’o beating up some guards. Apparently, the costumes will also be something to see: I’m particularly a fan of Queen of Wakanda Angela Bassett’s “jaw-dropping coiffure of snow-white dreadlocks.” Visually, at least, Marvel may finally be clawing itself out of its superhero movie rut.

Black Panther opens in theaters February 16, 2018.

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