No matter how bad we want to believe it is, Wakanda, the East African nation central to the story of Black Panther, isn’t real. Nope. It doesn’t exist IRL, and you can’t just pack your bags and travel to the Afrofuturistic and very much fictional country. But hey, you know where you can book a ticket to? Wauconda (pronounced the same way as Wakanda), a small village just outside of Chicago, Illinois.
Just don’t ask them if they have vibranium. Because, spoiler alert: They don’t.
In the days since Black Panther pounced onto the silver screen, Wauconda has been getting some newfound attention from Marvel fans. Alise Homola, executive assistant to the village administrator and mayor, told The Hollywood Reporter that their phones have been ringing nonstop, with people yelling, “Wakanda forever!” or asking if the town is secretly storing a bunch of vibranium.
The caller later admitted that he had called Wauconda just for kicks.
Homola also says that someone asked for vibranium handouts, but to be clear, the small town isn’t in possession of the rare (and fictional!) metal. Vibranium, as we all know, only exists in Wakanda. But then again, Waucondans might just be extremely secretive about it, just like Wakandans…
But the gags go beyond the Wauconda/Wakanda connection.
For instance, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport jokingly offered flights to the fictional country:
So if you’re not entirely up for exploring Wauconda, which BTW, is known for its natural bog preserve, you know where to go.