BLINK AND YOU'LL MISS IT

Everyone missed Trevor Noah’s cameo in “Black Panther”

Quartz africa
Quartz africa

Trevor Noah may not have been “in the crowd when Rafiki held Simba over the edge of the cliff, like an African Michael Jackson,” as his Twitter bio says—but he was in Wakanda.

It took some time after the blockbuster release of Marvel’s Black Panther, but fans have noticed the South African comedian and host of the Daily Show’s cameo in the film. Marvel loves an in-joke or random celebrity casting and fans usually go looking for them, but this one was almost completely missed.

It’s not so surprising: Only Noah’s voice is featured in the film, in a brief, action-packed moment. Noah voices Griot, the artificial intelligence system that guides Everett Ross (played by Martin Freeman) as he pilots a Wakandan fighter jet. (A griot usually describes a West African entertainer, storyteller or oral historian.)

Noah has less than 10 lines as a bot with a slightly exaggerated African accent, designed by Black Panther’s tech genius baby sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). His voiceover appears in tense scenes of shooting and flying, which is probably why most people missed it.

A Redditor who had seen the film twice could have sworn he recognized Noah: “Without spoiling anything, the flying jet’s automated voice sounded a heck of a lot like Trevor Noah.” About two months later, another Reddit user confirmed that it was in fact Noah, having scoured the credits.

Noah’s team confirmed to Vanity Fair on Tuesday (May 22) that he was in fact the voice of Griot. There was a lot going on in Black Panther, which was a mix of African cultures, Afrofuturist tech and never-before-seen set and costume design. And apparently there’s still more to discover in the film.

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