Marvel Studios, Disney, whoever’s in charge of licensing Marvel properties nowadays, come, let me bend your ear for I have a proposition that is guaranteed to increase your already-incalculable fortune. Are you ready to hear my 1000% foolproof money printing idea? Here goes: Dora Milaje video game.
If that declaration wasn’t enough to sell you, here’s some fast facts that’ll sweeten the deal. Black Panther, the Marvel comic series turned movie the Dora Milaje come from, is the 13th highest-grossing film of all time and the fourth highest-grossing film in the United States. It made $1.3 billion dollars and it ranks as the fifth highest-grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which, I’ll remind you, you’ll own the copyrights for until the heat death of the universe.
More than that, there are millions of Black consumers who are sick and tired of subsisting on a diet of Black trauma as their only meaningful representation in today’s media landscape. I know they are willing to support a project that imagines Black life as more than suffering and death at the hands of white people. The Dora Milaje aren’t victims, nor are they sidekicks. What I’m proposing is a video game that stars powerful, beautiful Black women fucking shit up. That’s it, that’s all. I’ll even write the whole goddamn game for you free of charge.
The erstwhile named Untitled Dora Milaje Project is a third-person action-adventure platformer in which you play as the newest member of the Dora Milaje—an elite group of all-female Wakandan soldiers. The plot centers on the new initiate coming into her own as a valued member of the Dora Milaje as she works to reclaim pieces of stolen Wakandan tech from around the world while uncovering a conspiracy to attack the secretive African nation.
The game begins with character creation, and it is important to note that while players will have the option to customize hairstyle, accessories, and body modifications, they will only be able to play as a Black woman. Considering the length and breadth of video game history predominantly stars white men, I don’t foresee this being an issue.
After players create their character, they’ll get teamed up with various notable members of the Dora Milaje from the comics and movies. NPCs like Ayo and Okoye—voiced by Florence Kasumba and Danai Gurira of course—will guide the player through a tutorial mission showing them the combat and movement tech they’ll need to progress through the game. Players’ primary weapon is the traditional Dora Milaje vibranium spear, which can be thrown and recalled at will.
There will also be extensive skill trees to customize how they use their spear to fit their desired combat style. One tree will represent a brawler style of fighting that focuses on spear-to-hand combat, tanking, and dealing heavy amounts of damage. The second tree centers on agility, enhancing the spear’s ranged fighting capabilities, while the third tree is technology based, allowing players to upgrade their spear to deliver electric, fire, or ice attacks.
Those are the broad strokes and I trust whichever studio you employ to bring this to life to fill in the rest. As for why this and why now—why not? As those of you with a Disney+ subscription can probably guess, this whole pitch stems from the most recent episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (light spoilers will now ensue). I can’t remember the last time I felt good watching a TV show. Friday’s episode of Falcon and The Winter Soldier was the first time in a while that I felt so good watching a TV show that I shouted so loudly and carefree that I scared my dog. Watching Ayo and her Dora Milaje comrades absolutely dismantle every obstacle in front of them was just so healing to my weary spirit. It is so rare that we get images of Black heroes winning. That’s why Black Panther became such a cultural force. We were so hungry for heroic images of Black people that we showed up to movie theaters by the church busload in whatever African-inspired clothing or Black Panther cosplay we could find.
And we are still so hungry that we’d snap up any piece of media—like the Untitled Dora Milaje Project—that promised us powerful, heroic, or magical Black people with nary a cop, colonizer, or racism allegory in sight. So, Disney, Marvel, whomever, if you’re hurting for ideas on how to spend your infinite money, consider funding the Untitled Dora Milaje Project. Frankly, a video game starring these powerful Black women—or a powerful Black woman in general—is long overdue.