As “Black Panther” mania sweeps the nation this week, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has joined in the fun, tweeting a picture of a mystery flight to Wakanda that’s put Wakandan Twitter in a frenzy.
On Monday, the airport’s Twitter account shared a picture of a departure gate for flight ATL 1234 to Wakanda, the Black Panther’s homeland, with the simple caption, “The bags are packed.”
In “Black Panther,” Wakanda is the most advanced nation in the world. Considering it’s never been colonized, it represents an Afrofuturist, unapologetic blackness rarely seen on screen.
From the looks of their fevered tweets, social media users were beginning to pack their bags for the fictional nation, too.
Flooded with requests for more details, the airport played along. One person asked what the menu on the flight looked like, and the airport responded, “Sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra.”
Another person inquired about connecting flights to Zamunda ― the fictional African nation from the 1988 classic “Coming to America” ― and of course, ATL had them.
Even “Black Panther” star Lupita Nyong’o joined in, asking if the in-flight movies would include titles such as “T’Challa’s Angels” and “Killmonger Bill.”
The reactions highlight how African culture is celebrated throughout “Black Panther.” Since the movie’s release, Wakanda has come to represent the possibilities of a fully decolonized continent.
Director Ryan Coogler, production director Hannah Beachler and costume designer Ruth E. Carter teamed up in envisioning Wakanda, making sure to represent a specific aspect of the continent’s culture in every step.
To do so, Beachler created the Wakandan Bible, which ensured the movie stayed true to African traditions. Wakandans speak the Bantu language Xhosa, while each of their five tribes represents a real African people. For example, Carter fashioned the Jabari tribe in the movie after the Dogon people of West Africa.
And while ATL’s flight isn’t real, that doesn’t mean future Wakandans aren’t still hoping to book one-way flights back to their fictional home country.