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Black Panther-inspired WakandaCon set to take place in Chicago

Chadwick Boseman stars in "Black Panther." | Marvel Studios/Disney

Chadwick Boseman stars in "Black Panther." | Marvel Studios/Disney

The fictional and futuristic African kingdom that served as the setting of this year’s biggest blockbuster “Black Panther” will be the inspiration for the three-day WakandaCon this summer in Chicago.

Taking a cue from other nerd culture conventions, WakandaCon is being billed as a celebration of Afro-Futurism, technology, gaming and other facets of nerd culture, according to siblings and organizers Ali, David and Matt Barthwell.

The Barthwells, also Chicago residents, hope the event will draw at least 4,000 people to the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Aug. 3 to Aug. 5. The convention will be held 40 miles from the northwest suburb of Wauconda.

“To see something on screen and see something like Wakanda and to see the world the way they did it. I lost myself in the film,” said David Barthwell, 35.

Ali Barthwell said the family came up with the idea as a way to “come together and be nerdy about this film” and be “nerdy about whatever you love.”

The details of the event haven’t been finalized, but the organizers expect to set up a number of panels and workshops around pop culture, gaming and technology. They may also have an overnight hackathon session.

They’re also looking to have sessions featuring African culture as well as connecting attendees with short filmmakers who can help people “write and create their own Wakanda,” according to Ali Barthwell.

“The event not just a gaming thing or a comic book thing,” David Barthwell said. “Tech and gaming could be toxic communities. We are looking to have a space that’s open to all. not just race, but abilities.”
Tickets are on sale now.