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A village in Illinois has started to get some love from fans of Black Panther.
Pronounced the same way as the fictional African nation of Wakanda — the backdrop of the blockbuster Marvel film — Wauconda has already received a request for vibranium (a fictional metal known for being the strongest of any others).
Alise Homola, executive assistant to the village administrator and mayor, told Heat Vision that since the Chadwick Boseman-starrer opened last weekend, she has received communications from fans via calls and email.
“At first, I was like, is there a full moon out?” said Homola, who is aware of the Black Panther film, but knows nothing of the plot.
Wauconda is a village in Lake County, Ill., with a population of around 13,758, according to the United States Census Bureau. In the superhero film, Wakanda is a fictional East African nation with vast advanced technologies, hidden from the rest of the world and home to the king and protector, the Black Panther.
Admittedly not much of a superhero film buff, Homola said she was taken aback by the request for vibranium and another unusual phone call she received.
“Someone called and asked how we pronounced the village name and when I told him, he began yelling, ‘Wakanda forever!’ which I am guessing is from the film,” Homola said.
Wauconda High School Principal Dan Klett told Heat Vision the school’s mascot would remain the bulldog despite an inquiry over it being changed to a black panther.
Although her office has certainly not been inundated with calls or emails, they will likely keep coming as Black Panther continues its dominance at the box office, and discussions on the importance and significance of the film continue to be covered in the media.
The Illinois village has no plans to play up the shared name, but others are having some fun, such as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, which (jokingly) offered a flight to Wakanda in celebration of the film.
Black Panther, which also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya and Andy Serkis, debuted to a record-shattering $242 million at the Presidents Day box office.
The Marvel installment surpassed last year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($241.6 million) to earn more in its first four days than any movie in history at the North American box office other than 2016’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($288.1 million).
Black Panther also marks the biggest opening in history for an African-American director. The film also holds the highest Rotten Tomatoes critics ranking of any Marvel film: 97 percent.
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