The village of Wauconda, Illinois, is getting a lot of love from “Black Panther” fans following the blockbuster’s record-breaking premiere weekend.
Pronounced the same way as the magical (but fictional) African kingdom of Wakanda, the town, where about 20,000 people reside, has already received a call asking whether they were hiding vibranium, the strongest metal in the world (Wakanda’s fictional world).
Another fan called to ask about the village’s pronunciation. “When I told him, he began yelling, ‘Wakanda forever!’” Alise Homola, executive assistant to Wauconda village administrator and mayor, told the Hollywood Reporter.
"At first, I was like, is there a full moon out?” Homola said, confused about the calls and requests for vibranium. She knew about the film but not the plot.
In the Marvel universe, the Kingdom of Wakanda is a fictional nation ruled by T’Challa, or the Black Panther. Thanks to its massive hidden stash of vibranium, it’s also one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wauconda High School principal Dan Klett even received an inquiry about changing the school’s mascot from a bulldog to a black panther. But that won’t be happening.
While Wauconda, Illinois, has no plans to play up the “Black Panther” connection, other cities are getting in on the fun.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport announced on Twitter that it would be offering nonstop flights to the fictional kingdom, prompting hilarious reactions from some of the stars of “Black Panther” themselves.
The blockbuster’s ties to the metro Atlanta region are a pretty big deal. In fact, almost $84 million of flick’s reported $200 million budget was spent in Georgia, the AJC previously reported.
Several scenes of Wakanda were actually shot at the beautiful rock quarry at the Vulcan Materials Co. in Stockbridge.
According to the state economic development department, 3,100 people working in Georgia’s booming film industry were employed during the shoot, which started in August 2016 and wrapped up in November 2017.