It's been an exciting time for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ryan Coogler's Black Panther arrived in theaters one week ago, bringing the fictional country of Wakanda to the the silver screen for the first time. The blockbuster has been breaking box office records, and has already become a very significant moment in both pop culture and the world of superhero movies. Just about every aspect of Black Panther has been praised, with satisfied moviegoers known to shout and tweet "Wakanda Forever!" in response. Unfortunately, this popularity is complicating things a bit for the small town of Wauconda, Illinois.
Since the release of Black Panther, the village of Wauconda has been set upon by cinephiles and Marvel fans alike. The name is pronounced the same as the fictional country, leading to an abundance of prank phone calls to the mayor's office and town hall. THR recently spoke to Alise Homola, the executive assistant to Wauconda. After the film debuted, the calls starting coming in.
At first, I was like, is there a full moon out? Someone called and asked how we pronounced the village name and when I told him, he began yelling, 'Wakanda forever!' which I am guessing is from the film.
Despite being inundated with phone calls about Black Panther, it seems that Alise Homola hasn't bothered to try and see the movie. She's just going to keep doing her job, and wait for the excitement around the superhero movie to die down. There's just one problem: it's not clear exactly when that could be.
Black Panther keeps breaking box office records, despite only being in theaters for one week's time. Ryan Coogler's superhero movie blew past the total gross of the DCEU's Justice League in just a few days, and is tied for second as the highest grossing Thursday opening for any MCU movie. Additionally, it's sitting on a whopping 97% on Rotten Tomaotes, the best score of the shared universe. With word of mouth helping to keep moviegoers shelling out cash to be transported to Wakanda, the little town in Illinois is probably going to get plenty of more weird phone calls before Black Panther ends its theatrical run.
While Black Panther's Wakanda is hidden country with vast technological advancements, Wauconda, Illinois is not quite as exciting. Rather than sitting on the world's supply of Vibranium, Waucaonda has a population of 13,758. Vibranium is actually one of things that Alise Homola is most asked about during her phone calls with Marvel fans. Perhaps some of the town's offices could get new numbers, in an attempt to spare themselves from more awkward conversations.