Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Shuri (Letitia Wright)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

You can feel it whenever a new piece of marketing or publicity material is released. People are ready and waiting for Black Panther. It is the first Marvel Studios film led by a person of color and fans the world over are about to show why the studio never should have waited 10 years to make one. Black Panther is going to be a major pop culture event early next year.

Teen Vogue caught up with two of the film’s stars to have them discuss what Black Panther means to them and what it might mean to moviegoers everywhere. Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) and Letitia Wright (Shuri) actually got to interview each other for the article.

They began by discussing how they each became involved in the film.

Letitia Wright: Well, I never knew anything about Black Panther [before being cast]. All I knew was that it’s about black superheroes from Africa. When I heard about the audition, I read the mock script of the character. I liked how intelligent she was. She’s a teenager, but her age doesn’t define who she is. People think, You’re young; you don’t know what you’re talking about, but she didn’t let that be a limitation. I instinctively picked up [that Shuri] had something meaningful to say. How did you hear about the movie?

Lupita Nyong’o: Well, when Black Panther was announced about two years ago, Chadwick [Boseman] was signed on to play T’Challa, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, snap, that’s going to be a moment!’ So when director Ryan Coogler started to talk to me about being a part of it, I was so excited. He walked me through his idea for the story, and after he was done, I was like, ‘Wait a second, is this a Marvel movie?’ It had social and political relevance. My character, Nakia, was a departure from the character you see in the comic books. She’s this independent woman, super patriotic but also very questioning of her society, and I liked that. With her complicated relationship with T’Challa, I knew it was going to be kind of sexy, and I was like, ‘OK, I definitely want in.’

Wright and Nyong’o then turned their attention to the impact they believe Black Panther will have on the audience and Hollywood.

Wright: I’m excited for what Black Panther is about to do, not just for young black boys and girls, but for everyone. There’s a black superhero, but then we’re going to have more Asian superheroes and more from India. The solution to the problem being: We don’t have enough of this, so we’re going to make more. I’m excited!

Nyong’o: In Kenya, I grew up watching Mexican soaps, Australian soaps, and American stuff. I didn’t feel like TV was so diverse — but I just took it in stride. What’s really exciting about this is if I can project my humanity onto people who don’t look like me, from cultures that aren’t like mine, why on earth shouldn’t it be the same in reverse? What we’re talking about is the prominence of this particular film and how it is entering into a more mainstream cultural consciousness. Superhero movies are our modern folklore—and folklore is important. It informs our sense of oneness. The beauty of cinema is you all go into a room together and agree to suspend your disbelief and share this experience of another world. For that moment, you are all one in that space, experiencing the same thing. It reinforces our sense of community. These big blockbuster superhero films appearing in moments when we’re so polarized are some of the few chances we all get to be on the same page.

I love how Nyong’o called superhero movies our modern folklore. She is absolutely correct and that’s a huge reason why Marvel Studios and everyone else making superhero movies must create opportunities for inclusion so that our modern folklore is a better, more accurate representation of the audience it serves. Here’s hoping Black Panther is just the beginning for Marvel.

Black Panther arrives in theaters February 16, 2018.