As the superhero film took home three awards, the CIA dedicated a Twitter thread to exploring the technology depicted in the film - and how fictional aspects of the film such as vibranium could be used in real life.
The thread was part of the agency’s Reel vs Real series, which compares technology seen on film to technology “available to real-world intelligence officers today,” and began by asking the agency’s followers if they knew what vibranium was.
According to the CIA’s poll, most of the agency’s more than 2m followers knew that the metal that drive’s Wakanda is “total fiction”.
In a follow-up tweet, the CIA confirmed that vibranium isn’t real - after acknowledging that it would be “great for spies”.
The CIA wrote: “The vibranium in Black Panther’s suit protects him from kinetic damage and vibranium sneakers are both super-quiet and amazing shock absorbers for jumping. Those would be great for spies, right?
“Too bad vibranium isn’t real.”
In #BlackPanther, a unique metal called #vibranium helped the fictional African nation of #Wakanda become the most technologically advanced country on the planet.#ReelvsRealCIA #Oscars
Do you think vibranium is:— CIA (@CIA)February 25, 2019
The agency then turned its fact-checking, backed up by an article written by a spy named “Rebecca,” to other aspects of the Marvel film’s technology - including Lesotho blankets, holograms, and Panther Habitat.
One of the least plausible technologies in #BlackPanther, but if you could weave carbon nanotubes into a cloak & add in some hologram effects, you’d have a shield that would be the envy of any intel service operating in a warzone.#ReelvsRealCIA #BlackPanther— CIA (@CIA)February 25, 2019
Rather than suits for superheroes, in the real world people are interested in nanoparticles for biotech & medicine, but the world’s spy agencies might like outfits that could reform on the fly in order to foil surveillance.#ReelvsRealCIA #BlackPanther— CIA (@CIA)February 25, 2019
According to the CIA, Lesotho blankets were one of the “least plausible technologies” in Black Panther - whereas holograms are “real-life hot tech right now”.
As for Panther Habitat, the agency said the technology would be more useful in the real world as nanoparticles for biotech and medicine.
“But the world’s spy agencies might like outfits that could reform on the fly in order to foil surveillance,” the CIA said.
The CIA concluded its Black Panther-inspired tweeting by wishing luck to the film and all other nominees at the award show.
Thanks for joining us for #ReelvsRealCIA #Wakanda. Good luck to #BlackPanther & all the @TheAcademy nominees at tonight’s #Oscars.
For more Reel vs Real CIA, see: https://t.co/ZAdWlIwJfM
To explore Wakandan technology today w/a CIA scientist, see: https://t.co/B0iV7cufqA pic.twitter.com/Z7A8WYF99L— CIA (@CIA)February 25, 2019
Although some people found the CIA’s tweets informative, others were simply confused.
“This is like when your parents get Facebook and start posting things,” one person wrote.
Another person asked the agency: “How do you have time to even tweet?”