In Iron Man 2, Wakanda famously appears on a map of Africa.Related: "Wakanda is a fictional version of 'the Mutapa empire of 15th-century Zimbabwe.'"
Do you just sort of dismiss that detail? Do you go back and scratch that, start over? You had to make the geographical location work for you.
(Laughter) I had about four of those pictures in my office. We really looked at, “Okay, where is that, exactly, on the map? Where did they have it placed?” Because I knew Marvel fans are amazing, and they look at everything, and I knew people would point to that. That’s something that we looked at. Kevin Feige was really like, “You know, Ryan, you’ve really got to put it where you want it to be. Nobody knows where it is, not even Tony Stark, so that’s not necessarily saying that that’s exactly where Wakanda is.” They allowed us to have some freedom there, and not be penned to the location that Tony Stark had it at. But yeah, I was very aware of that.
I created what we call the Wakandan Bible. By the time it was all said and done, it was 500 pages. It was also packed with references, pictures, about Vibranium, about the tribe. Things that we can all go to, talk about the tribes that we referenced for our Wakandan tribes
So how does the mythical Wakanda compare to the real-life Mutapa?
Stretching from modern-day South Africa into Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia, the kingdom of Mutapa thrived from the early 1400s to about 1760.
Mutapa's equivalent of Black Panther's precious "vibranium"? Gold. And lots of it.