The Dora Milaje: Get to Know Black Panther‘s Elite Protectors in new Video

Just who are the Dora Milaje? For the uninitiated, you can think of the Dora Milaje as Wakanda’s version of the Secret Service, an elite protective force that is sworn to watch over whoever dons the mantel of the Black Panther, selected from all over the country. The massive excitement surrounding the film includes the thrill for millions of people, especially young women, seeing the incredible (and incredibly cast) Dora Milaje, an all-female force of warriors who embody bravery, strength, commitment and skill. They also kick serious butt. Representation in a movie this size matters a great deal, and it’s absolutely astonishing to see the outpouring of joy over the film’s primarily African American cast, and specifically over these fierce female fighters. Once Black Panther becomes a commercial juggernaut (it’s already a critical smash), no more proof should be needed that films about and by women and people of color are not creatively crucial, they’re as good for business as films by anybody else.

In a new video uploaded by Marvel, we’re given a quick “Dora Milaje 101” course, introducing us to Wakanda’s bravest, and explaining their origins and purpose. Wakanda is a secretive country with the most advanced technology in the world (it’s the home of vibranium, the super alloy that has played such a huge part in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe—and also in Captain America’s shield), but it’s also a place with a deeply spiritual, tribal history. The Dora Milaje represent a crucial part of Wakanda’s peace keeping effort. Every new ruler selects female warriors from rival tribes to serve as both his personal protective unit and in ceremonial roles throughout the kingdom. In this way, every tribe is represented and has a position close to the king, and in turn, the king gets the very best and brightest from the country’s varied tribes.

In Black Panther, the Dora Milaje are led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who approach their respective roles with very different skill sets. Okoye is a tactical and military genius, while Nakia has the skill set of a super spy. Yet when they fight, the Dora Milaje are a brilliantly organized force, battling enemies in a flurry (and fury) of single-minded purpose. They are a huge part of Black Panther, but will also factor into the battle to come, against Marvel’s big bad, Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War

Check out the video below, and get to know the fiercest warriors in all of Wakanda, and, perhaps, the MCU. Black Panther opens on February 16.

Featured image:  L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) with the Dora Milaje. Ph: Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2018


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.