On November 11, 2022, “Wakanda Forever”, the sequel to “Black Panther,” came out in movie theaters.
On February 12, 2023, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu tweeted a statement. He condemned the “false and misleading representation” of French troops in the movie.
Why this sudden outrage against a movie that came out three months ago?
A French journalist recently watched “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Because of the Oscar nominations, “Wakanda Forever” returned to the movie theaters. At least, in the United States. “Wakanda Forever” started streaming on Disney Plus this month.
The journalist paid close attention to the United Nations in Geneva scene.
Queen Ramonda confronts the French ambassador for trying to steal vibranium from a Mali outreach center. A metal found only in Wakanda that made the small African nation the most technologically advance society in the world. The Dora Milajie escorts the captured mercenaries into the chamber to the French ambassador.
The journalist noted that the mercenaries wore camouflage uniforms similar to those of the French troops deployed in Mali. Would the Ministry of Defense care to comment?
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu tweeted on February 12, 2023.
France, a former colonial power in Africa, spent ten years defending Mali from Islamist terrorists. After a military coup against the Mali government in 2020, the French pulled their troops out in 2021. The idea that modern-day French soldiers would try to steal the resources of another nation was outrageous.
Why are the French the bad guys in “Wakanda Forever”?
With Wakanda revealing itself to the world at the end of “Black Panther,” the United States and Europe became second-tier superpowers. The only way they can shift the balance of power back in their favor is to acquire vibranium and build futuristic weapons. Similar to how the nuclear bomb in World War 2 created superpowers and wannabe superpowers.
The French government still maintain diplomatic relations with French-speaking African nations. That made them the logical choice to be the European representative at the United Nations in Geneva scene. Making the confrontation with the queen of an African nation never conquered by colonial powers even more dramatic.
The movie did make a mistake using the camouflage uniforms. The French government would have wanted “plausible deniability” if their mercenaries got caught. The uniforms should have been all black and the mercenaries should have been local people.
That would have made the link between the French government and the mercenaries less explicit in the movie. A link that would have been lost on the audience.
Was the French outrage against “Wakanda Forever” justified?
Within the context of the real world, yes.
Within the context of the movie, no.