How The Walking Dead Helped Prepare Danai Gurira For Black Panther

Danai Gurira

After traveling through Romania, Germany and Russia in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa will keep his superhero shenanigans primarily based in Wakanda during 2018's Black Panther. While exploring the young king's home country, moviegoers will meet many members of Black Panther's supporting cast, including Okoye, played by The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira. While both projects are extremely different in the comic book tale realm, it turns out that Gurira's time as Michonne on the AMC series has helped her with the upcoming fighting work she'll be doing on Black Panther.

Danai Gurira was quick to point out in her interview with that while Okoye and Michonne have a lot of differences, their skill sets do share similarities, namely in combat. She explained:

I'm training right now for Black Panther, and, yes, there's a lot of ways that they're extremely different. I'm learning such great, awesome new things. There's a lot of ways that, yes, one helps another. There are things about using combat that help each other. Absolutely. There's a lot of new things to learn and I'm really enjoying. There's so much new. She's a whole 'nother thing.

When it comes to on-screen action, Danai Gurira has plenty of experience. Since 2012, she's been slicing and dicing walkers on The Walking Dead, cementing herself as one of the show's most badass characters. Gurira will continue that streak in Black Panther, as Okoye is the leader of the Dora Milaje, the group of skilled women who are charged with being the Black Panther's personal bodyguards. Whether it's fighting with a blade or a firearm, these warriors are extremely adept at neutralizing opponents and keeping their king safe.

So even though Danai Gurira will be exploring new spaces with her Marvel character, her combat experience on The Walking Dead will help with the movie's big action sequences. T'Challa may be the movie's main hero, but Okoye will ideally have plenty of opportunities to show why she was recruited to protect Wakanda's ruler. As a fun tidbit, Gurira also revealed that director Ryan Coogler cast her not because of her work on The Walking Dead (he hasn't even seen the TV series), but because of her performance in an independent movie called Mother of George.

While no specific Black Panther plot details have been revealed yet, the story will follow T'Challa learning what it takes to be Wakanda's king following the death of his father, T'Chaka, in Captain America: Civil War. Along with Danai Gurira's Okoye, the movie's cast includes Chadwick Boseman reprising T'Challa, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Winston Duke as M'Baku and Forest Whitaker as Zuri.

Black Panther is expected to begin production in January 2017, and will slash its way into theaters on February 16, 2018.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.