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Welcome to Wakanda: Why Hollywood needs more utopias

Hollywood has been saturated in dystopian fiction – 'Black Mirror', 'Westworld', 'The Handmaid’s Tale', and many more skeptical imaginings of the future have taken over our screens and hearts. But is it possible that viewers are growing tired of such dystopian fictions?

Welcome to Wakanda: Why Hollywood needs more utopias

Over the past decade, Hollywood has been saturated in dystopian fiction – Black Mirror, Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead and many more skeptical imaginings of the future have taken over our screens and hearts. With zombies, vampires, and creepy AI-filled alternate worlds bombarding both the big and small screens, is it possible that viewers are growing tired of such dystopian fictions?

It certainly doesn’t seem that way, with dystopian-esque visions coming to the forefront once again this year in the form of Ready Player One and A Quiet Place. Despite providing for pretty gripping viewing, it might just be time for Hollywood to explore other more optimistic ventures.

In spite of the very real political tensions our world is currently facing, one film managed to deliver to audiences a utopian world to satisfy the masses. Marvel’s Black Panther premiered earlier this year to rave reviews and box office success. (As of March 2018, the film has grossed $1.2 billion.) It’s no surprise the film was a hit with its all-star cast featuring Angela Bassett (Strange Days), Chadwick Boseman (Avengers: Infinity War), Danai Gurira (The Visitor), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), and Letitia Wright (also a Black Mirror alumnus).

Could this be a sign that utopias may be on the uprise again? If Black Panther is anything to go by, we sure hope so. While we love to watch robotic dogs gradually destroy humanity as much as the next person (see Black Mirror episode “Metalhead”), a sunnier outlook might not go amiss when it comes to the world of TV and film. After all, don’t we have enough cynicism in our own lives?

Who knows what the future may hold in life or in Hollywood, but fingers crossed we’ll get to see some more visions as hopeful as Wakanda from here on out.   

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Steph Newton is a self-confessed film geek who spends her time annoying friends and family with useless film trivia. Her favourite pastimes include overindulging in John Hughes films, binge-watching Gilmore Girls and trying to convince people that the Saw films are actually half-decent.

snewton@filmdaily.co