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Wakanda Forever: Black Panther Costume to Go on Display at the Smithsonian

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Wakanda really is forever.

This fall, one of the iconic costumes from Black Panther is going on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where museum officials are eyeing its permanent installation. The display arrives in tandem with the museum’s inaugural film festival, which takes place Oct. 24-27.

The aforementioned costume is King T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) sleek, ashen suit worn in the first half of the film, designed by Judianna Makovsky. Later in the film, T’Chall’s suit gets a futuristic facelift thanks to his innovative sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), a costume that was adapted by Oscar-nominated designer Ruth Carter. The exhibit, which acquired the original suit, will also include a signed shooting script from the film and a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs.

The Wakandan wardrobe is a distinct one, with much cultural meaning, too, says museum curator Rhea Combs in a statement to Smithsonian magazine, “I think the film presented notions of African regality, dignity, modernity and respect for culture and tradition that many people felt proud to see represented onscreen.”

Combs specializes in film and drew parallels between the upcoming festival and Black Panther’s own artistic weight, saying, “The film festival is as much about celebrating and honoring the past as it is about recognizing and representing the promise of tomorrow, which is precisely what Black Panther represented as well.”

Not only did Black Panther accomplish a number of bold artistic statements, it also succeeded economically. Released in February, the film became the highest-grossing ever to be released in that month and also surpassed The Last Jedi in earnings, bringing in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

For more information about the museum’s film festival, visit the Smithsonian website. For more Wakandan lore, revisit our review of the blockbuster film here.

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