Okoye

Another character from the Black Panther trailer, again one of the feared Dora Milaje…actually, their leader, according to the character’s description: Okoye, portrayed by Danai Gurira. In the movie, Okoye will lead her female-only squad against several threats against T’Challa‘s rule over Wakanda, but apparently she’ll walk away pretty healthy from the many battles, as she’s already confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War (thus confirming that at least a part of it will be set in Wakanda). Now, waiting to know more about her role, or to see her directly on the screen, let’s take a look at the original Okoye.

Okoye was born in an unspecified location in Wakanda, a secluded and technologically advanced nation in Africa. When she was still a child, her village’s elders chose her to be one of the Dora Milaje, the “Adored Ones“, wives in training and bodyguards to the king. The order had been inactive for long, but the new king, T’Challa, reactivated it for solving the rising political discord within his kingdom: the Dora Milaje came from every tribe in the country, and the possibility of becoming queens gave every group a chance to approach the throne. Okoye moved to the Royal Palace, and she immediately bonded with the other girls with her, especially Nakie, a simple peasant who had developed quite a crush on the king. Unlike Nakia, who still dreamt of becoming the next queen, Okoye realised pretty early in her training that the king didn’t feel anything romantic for the girls, quite the opposite, he saw them more as if they were his children: she came to accept this without problems, focusing on her job as a bodyguard and training herself the best she could to be up to the task, but she found out that Nakia didn’t want to give up on her romantic fantasies towards the king, as she even put herself in danger just to attract his attention. Okoye stayed close to her and tried to dissuade her from her delusion, stating that it was obvious that the king wouldn’t have chosen any of them as his future wife, but Nakia was deaf to her friend’s wisdom, and eventually her romantic obsession turned violent, with her trying to kill T’Challa’s American girlfriend Monica Lynne. Okoye couldn’t do anything but to see her best friend exiled from the Royal Palace, but despite her feelings Okoye agreed with her king’s motives, and she remained loyal to T’Challa.

In the following years, Okoye gradually became one of the most apreciated (and skilled) among the Dora Milaje, often accompanying her king into some of his most delicate travels. To the public, she simply acted as T’Challa’s chauffeur, but when the king donned the costume and claws of his alter ego the Black Panther, Okoye was by his side as the warrior she had been trained to be. Not only loyal but devoted to T’Challa, she even abandoned her people language and she adopted her king’s one, Hausa. The most difficult moments, for Okoye, came when she found herself forced to fight against her former friend Nakia, now the villain Malice, but she was present also in a number of other occasions. Once, T’Challa brought her to Chicago to help him recruit a young woman in the Dora Milaje: the girl was of Wakandian origin, albeit she didn’t know it yet, the member of an enemy tribe who had worshipped the White Gorilla, and she had been raised by a warrior loyal to T’Challa, who had monitored her progressesses. With a vacant place in the Dora Milaje, Okoye arrived in Chicago where the girl, Chanté Giovanni Brown, had become the social activist known as Queen Divine Justice, and as soon as she agreed to follow T’Challa, Okoye became first her mentor, then her friend and teammate, with the two of them forming quite a formidable couple. When in New York City a new vigilante appeared, donning the Black Panther’s costume, T’Challa investigated on the matter, and brought Okoye along. It turned out the man was Kevin “Kasper” Cole, a cop who stood up to his corrupt superiors. Intrigued, T’Challa wanted to test the man to see if he was worthy of the suit he wore, so he sent Okoye as part of the trial. Okoye had to seduce Kasper, to see if he would have abandoned his pregnant girlfriend Gwen to stay with her instead, but the man passed the test by rejecting Okoye’s attentions, despite an obvious attraction to her. Later, Kaspar became the heroic White Panther, with Okoye not only serving a Panther, but now being responsible for giving birth to one.

In everything she does, in everything she thinks and says, Okoye is a Dora Milaje, a bodyguard fiercely devoted to King T’Challa, following him like a shadow and protecting him from any possible threat. As an Adored One, she’s one of the finest warriors in Wakanda, a martial artist with a mastership over traditional Wakandan weapons but also modern firearms; she’s also a skilled driver, unmatched in pursuits and races. One of the most dangerous women in her country, Okoye devotes every breath and every step to King T’Challa…may the enemis of the royal family be warned.

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Michonne

Today we’re going to speak of Michonne, the mysterious woman who briefly appeared at the end of The Walking Dead Season 2 saving Andrea from a walker in the Beside the Dying Fire episode, and was properly introduced only in the Season 3 premiere, Seed. Her physical portrayal in the show is almost identical to the one in the comic books, but her introduction is quite different, and her character seems to be too. So, let’s see who Michonne is in the comics, trying not to spoil anything to both the readers and the tv show’s watchers.

Before the zombie apocalypse arrived, Michonne was a lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. She had two sisters and a brother, and she practiced fencing as a child, and also during college, while studying law. She got married, but her family life got ruined by a divorce that took her two daughters away from her. After the separation from her husband, Michonne started weightlifting and gym, using physical activity to face the stress following the loss of her daughters. She spent some time living alone, but she eventually started a new romantic relationship with a good man called Mike. The two of them were living together when the first roamers (zombies, the ones in the tv show they call “walkers”) appeared. She managed to escape by foot to her house, where she found Mike and his best friend Terry (a nice guy, but quite idiotic) unarmed. The three of them barricated themselves into the house, but they were soon attacked by a school of roamers: one of them managed to get in, and before Mike could kill it, he was beaten by the zombie. Now, we all know what happens when a zombie bites you, right? Well, they didn’t, and Michonne just bandaged Mike. On the same night, the woman managed to sneak into her neighbor’s house in search for medicals and supplies. In here, she found the katana that would have become her trademark: her neighbor’s pesty son collected swords, and used the same katana to kill Michonne’s cat and to destroy her fence, just for playing. When Michonne came back home with the sword, she found out that Mike became a roamer, and that he had bitten Terry, transforming him too. Unable to kill the man she loved, Michonne closed Mike and his friend in a closet, waiting for the end, until the day she took a resolve. Studying the roamers from her window, she noticed that they never attacked other roamers, and she figured out a way to escape her house: after cutting Mike’s and Terry’s arms and lower jaw, so that they couldn’t attack her, she chained them and went out with the two zombies on a leash. The presence of the two rotting corpses allowed Michonne to leave Atlanta undetected by other roamers, and she started her own personal adventure for survival.

Michonne is an incredibly skilled fencer and swordswoman, and her time alone made her tough and lethal. As Andrea noticed when Michonne joined Rick Grimes‘ team, Michonne suffers from some sort of delusional state, and despite not being mad, she keeps talking to the dead Mike, a coping mechanism that she uses to stay focused and not to forget who she really is, in a world that has become a living nightmare. With loneliness and fierce-living, Michonne has become quite cynical and disillusioned, but she nevertheless tries to teach herself to be with others again, and has become one of the most valuable members of Rick’s survivors team.