By now, we know that the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the setting for Marvel’s latest smash hit “Black Panther” is not real. But, that doesn’t mean that people have accepted this fact. The next best place? America’s own Wauconda, Illinois. They’re spelled differently but pronounced the same, for the record.
The spelling is just the beginning of the differences between the two. In the movie, Wakanda is an African nation of several united tribes that is filled with vibranium, a rare element from an asteroid that has allowed the country to develop super futuristic tech. Despite this, Wakanda portrays itself as a third world country to the rest of the globe, because colonialism. It’s all ruled over by a king, T’Challa, aka the Black Panther. Black Panther gets superpowers from a heart-shaped herb that grew from the vibranium. He also has lots of crazy advanced vibranium tech to help him out, too. Wakanda itself is an incredibly well fleshed out world, and the film’s portrayal of it involved loads of detailed research into African culture and history.
Wauconda, Illinois on the other hand, is kinda neat, too. The town is just north of Chicago. It’s named for an Indian chief and was originally spelled ‘Wakanda’ (aha! The missing link.) Settlers moved in, and the town of Wauconda was organized in 1849. Despite the fact that you’ve probably never heard of Wauconda, you’re probably familiar with a few things that it has given the world. Namely, Wauconda’s local Small Town Brewery, which produces Not Your Father’s Root Beer among other things, and Bangs Lake, where a scene from Blues Brothers was filmed.
Of course, people have caught on to the Wauconda, Illinois’ name’s resemblance to Wakanda, and have been calling and e-mailing the town to say hilarious things like, “Wauconda forever!”. And while Wauconda might not have vibranium tech that allows for spaceships (at least, not that we know of…) it’s still pretty cool. You know, in its own way!
Our guide to Wauconda, Illinois
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