France’s Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, took to Twitter on Sunday (Feb. 12) with a scorching message about how the French Army was illustrated in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“I strongly condemn this false and misleading representation of our Armed Forces. I think of and pay tribute to the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali at its request against Islamist terrorist groups,” Lecornu tweeted.
In the beloved franchise, Wakanda is painted as an independent African nation thwarting off colonizers yearning for its natural resources. Lecornu’s response was prompted by a series of tweets from French journalist Jean Bexon where he spotlighted the similarity of the mercenaries’ military uniforms and France’s army from the 1991 Gulf War.
CNN reported that a spokesperson for the French Defense Ministry expressed, “While all the other elements of the film are fictional names and places there is a clear designation of France. The French military is painted as being involved in pillage of resources of the country and of course that is unacceptable. We are not asking the studio to remove the movie or anything, on the other hand it is the role of the minister to defend the French military who were engaged in Mali to defend the country against terrorist groups,” the spokesperson added.
The Hollywood Reporter explained, “the sequel storyline is sensitive for France as its military soldiers in 2022 left Mali and were replaced by Russia’s Wagner mercenary group at the request of that African country’s transitional government. That arrival of mercenaries in Mali is seen as Russia attempting to outflank the Americans in Africa.”
Bexon points out that fans on the Chinese version of TikTok commented on the “parallels between fiction and supposed reality.” The comment reads, “The funny thing is that French soldiers have been doing this kind of s**t (sic) in Africa for years!” However, according to him, “This sequence of the American studios Marvel / Disney has not been noted, neither by the media sphere, nor by the political sphere. However, it forms a serious informational attack which discredits the military presence to [France] and [Mali].”
Neither Marvel nor Disney have issued a statement on the matter.