Meet the Ohio native who brought Black Panther's Wakanda to life, from super-suits to royal robes

Think of her as the real Princess Shuri.
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2019-02-24 20:49:08-05
Hannah Beachler was already an incredibly accomplished designer when we published this story in 2018, but she won the Oscar for Best Production Design by Sunday night. We're reranking it so you can take a close look at her work.

Want to read this story, but much prettier? Click here.

Production designer Hannah Beachler wants you to know that “Black Panther” is a lot of fun to watch. But it's something more, too.

“This whole movie is about having reverence for African culture and African-American culture,” said the Dayton, Ohio, native, who attended both the University of Cincinnati and Wright State University after graduating from Centerville High School in 1989.

RELATED: Before she designed sets for 'Moonlight' and 'Lemonade,' Hannah Beachler was rock 'n' roll

Beachler also designed Barry Jenkins' Oscar-winning "Moonlight," Don Cheadle's “Miles Ahead” and Beyonce's album tie-in movie “Lemonade."  But "Black Panther" is special, she said.

“We spent the time to see everything was done right. It's not just another movie. It's something we put every fiber of our being into. This is not a one-off, six-months-moving-on kind of thing,” she said. “Every piece of everything we did is part of the tradition in Africa. We really don't want it to get lost in translation.”

Beachler is excited at the prospect of young children finding inspiration in dark-skinned heroes. “Representation matters. You cannot be it if you do not see it. ... It might be political for some people, but there is a message in the images, and it's very clear what it is.

“This is an opportunity to really learn about another culture and see value in other people.”

Her vision for the fictional world of Black Panther, a Marvel comics hero who first appeared in 1966, was forged in consultation with film director Ryan Coogler and executive producer Louis Esposito, both experts in the ever-changing universe of Marvel Comics.

“We used a lot of the source material (comics) for inspiration. We created something I think is pretty stand-alone. There is a lot of homage and nods to the original,” she said.

Seeing is believing. Here is a glimpse of what they created, with commentary from Beachler.