Black Panther's Vibranium and the Super Nature of Earthly Materials

This article is part of “Peer Review,” Science & Film’s commissioning project where scientists write about topics in current film.

Earthly materials have been a common plot element in the Marvel universe, as well as in science fiction and speculative fiction more broadly. In Black Panther, Vibranium plays a central role. It occurs in a rich vein deposited long ago by a meteorite beneath the fictional landlocked East African nation of Wakanda. Vibranium is the foundation for Wakandian society’s advanced technologies–the metal is able to absorb sound waves and kinetic energy.