The utopic African nation of Wakanda isn’t real, but the Lake County, Illinois village of Wauconda will do just fine for some fans of Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
Alise Homola, executive assistant to the village administrator and mayor, told the Hollywood Reporter that she has been getting calls and emails from fans since the movie opened last weekend.
“At first, I was like, is there a full moon out?” said Homola, who didn’t know about the movie’s plot or Wakanda’s role in it.
In the film, the wealthy kingdom ruled by the movie’s titular superhero played by Chadwick Boseman is a technological marvel due to it being rich in vibranium — a nearly indestructible metal.
Given that the material is fake, the Illinois community located about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, that’s perhaps best known for its landmark nature bog, has none. But that hasn’t stopped people from asking for it.
Homola told the Hollywood Reporter she was taken aback by the request for vibranium. But then things got even more confusing. Homolo told the Chicago Sun-Times that someone called on Tuesday yelling “Wakanda Forever!” The phrase is a battle cry said often by characters throughout the movie.
“He was joking around about it,’’ Homola said. “He just said that ‘I was searching the Wakanda from the movie, and your village came up, so I thought I’d call you and give you a hard time.’ ”
The village takes its name from a Native American chief, according to the village website, “who’s buried “somewhere on the southern bank of Bangs Lake, back of the Town Hall,” the website says. Translated from its Indian language, Wauconda means “Spirit Water,” according to the site.
Some Twitter users noted the stark difference in appearance between Wakanda and Wauconda.
The Ryan Coogler-directed film has grossed $427 million in global ticket sales as of Feb. 20, the Los Angeles Times reported.