Dan Sparaco Profile picture
Feb 21, 2018 16 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
At the risk of black folks barking at me, I'm wishing for a different ending to #BlackPanther/1
At the end of the very first Star Wars, Darth Vader is vanquished, and his TIE fighter spins off out of control, but he lives. /2
The Star Wars universe needs Vader to live. He is evil. And the original trilogy, he's evil not because mommy and daddy didn't love him enough, but because evil exists. /3
Not only does Vader participate in the Dark Side of the force, but we all do. Luke, so innocent in A New Hope, is revealed as begotten by a force that is not simply Good in Empire. /4
The is the essential tension of a trilogy that is totally mythical. What I don't understand about #BlackPanther is why it kills off, in the very first movie, a similar tension that isn't mythical at all, but has real-world relevance to the audience. /5
T'Challa and Killmonger present two sides of a similar Luke/Vader narrative coin. T'Challa is as naive as Luke was at the beginning. Killmonger exists to tell T'Challa that he knows nothing about the world as it actually is /6.
We know Killmonger's world too, because we do not live in a vibranium fantasy land. Ours is a world much more like the one Killmonger lived in as a boy. /7
Killmonger believes only he can save those that T'Challa (and T'Chaka before him) have decided to leave behind, no matter the cost. /8
The essential conflict of the film, between two visions of a liberated future, is clarified when the South African is killed halfway through. Whites are ancillary to that conflict. /9
But rather than carry this conflict forward to the next film, Killmonger is killed, and the threat of an alternative vision of liberation is killed with him. In its place is the safe return of Wakanda to the established order. /10
"Good" has won, Wakanda will share its riches, and open up outreach centers no different than those that already exist. Revolution has become humanitarian relief. /11
This ending looks much like another one in which good wins. /12
But we know this is an uneasy peace. Vader will return in Empire because the evil of the Dark Side still exists. /13
Killmonger, however, will not return, thus no one -- certainly no one of T'Challa's own blood -- will be there to tell him that White People exist. /14
This guy will be back to speak some sense to T'Challa, but compared to the political threat of Killmonger, he'll more like the guy selling incense and oils at the farmers market. A vegetarian of course. /15
The ending not only brings Wakanda back into the establishment fold, but points to the future of the #BlackPanther narrative -- more like other comic book movies with only comic book evil. /end

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