The Dora Milaje are an elite group of female bodyguards, and Wakandan special forces.
The Dora Milaje served King T'Chaka during his time as the Black Panther. In 1992, two Dora Milaje accompanied King T'Chaka to the apartment home of the undercover Prince N'Jobu in Oakland, California after arriving via stealth-craft. After confirming N'Jobu's identity, they struck their spears on the ground, causing the lights to go out during a short range EMBurst to allow the Black Panther an entrance. When the light returned, King T'Chaka was standing between them, as N'Jobu knelt per his standing. After removing his helmet, T'Chaka dismissed the Dora back to the Royal Talon Fighter on the roof.
In 2016, following the death of King T'Chaka and subsequent arrest of the Winter Soldier, T'Challa was being escorted by Ayo to his car when he learned from his Attaché that Barnes had escaped from the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre Building. The Attaché informed him their tracking satellites are in full tracking of Barnes, when the group was intercepted by Natasha Romanoff; of whom Ayo ordered out of their way or else she would be removed by force, to which T'Challa mused at as he dismissed her to hear what Romanoff had to say.
Prior to his coronation as King of Wakanda, T'Challa enlisted the aid of Okoye, General of the Dora Milaje, to assist him in recruiting Nakia, a War Dog and T'Challa's former lover. As they tracked her down, T'Challa prepared to intercept the slave convoy Nakia had infiltrated when Okoye reminded him not to freeze when he and Nakia saw each other, which T'Challa refuted before dropping from the Royal Talon Fighter.
As he descended, T'Challa released several EMP Beads onto the convoy, disabling their vehicles. After dispatching the guerillas on the ground, T'Challa hesitated when he saw Nakia, allowing one of the slave traders to get the drop on them, holding one of the women at gunpoint until Okoye appeared, disarming and impaling him with her spear. She then dryly remarked that T'Challa froze as expected, much to the prince's chagrin.
After freeing the slaves, Okoye ordered the group to never speak of the events they'd just witnessed before the Wakandans took off in the Royal Talon Fighter, leaving the group awestruck. Okoye piloted the Flyer back to the Golden City, and by the coming morning had entered into Wakanda.
As the three entered Birnin Zana, they were greeted by Dora Milaje escorts, led by Ayo, accompanying Princess Shuri and Queen Mother Ramonda. After having a brief conversation with Shuri, Okoye dismissed the rest of Dora escorts, leading them away to prepare for the festival. Nakia departed to redress so as to arrive in her traditional River Tribe attire.
Later, as the leaders of the Wakandan Tribes and their warriors journeyed down the river to Warrior Falls, the Dora Milaje struck their spears on their riverboat, activating the drainage system for the waterfall. The falls reduced to reveals a hidden space just below the cusp of the waterfall, which allowed for the Tribal Elders to gather and visitors to bear witness. As the ceremony commenced, the Dora Milaje took their places along the edge of the Falls while Zuri asked for challengers from the Wakandan tribes to face T'Challa in ritual combat to fight for the mantles of Black Panther and King of Wakanda.
When none of the tribes chose to challenge, the Jabari Tribe had then arrived, led by M'Baku. Entering in tribal chant, M'Baku, believing the Golden Tribe had weakened Wakanda's character, challenged T'Challa, who accepted after hearing the Jabari leader speak of his late father T'Chaka. As the ritual combat began, both leaders commanded their warriors to take up position surrounding the combatants, with both Jabari tribesmen and Dora Milaje forming a semi-circle boundary with their spears, drawing closer whenever a combatant was downed or nearing the precipice. Ultimately, T'Challa bested M'Baku, much to Okoye's relief as the Wakandans celebrated their new king.
With the surprise of arrival of Erik Killmonger with the corpse of Ulysses Klaue, Okoye then informed T'Challa of Killmonger's arrival, just as the King also learning at the moment about Killmonger's service record by a recovered Everette Ross. After W'Kabi brought Killmonger before the Wakandan Council, the Dora Milaje stood ready in the Council Chamber to protect the King and Council Members from the potential threat. But upon his revelation as N'Jobu's son, proved by his possession of his father's Wakandan Royal Ring, the Dora Milaje were duty bound not to interfere as Killmonger claimed his bloodright to challenge for the throne and mantle.
At Warrior Falls, the Dora Milaje stood by as the challenge played out. As the challenge was informal, and Killmonger was of no tribe, the Dora stood to witness. They observed as T'Challa was removed of the power of the Black Panther, to fight as a mortal man, and battle Killmonger to an eventual losing battle. Okoye held back her concern for T'Challa out of her duty as a Dora to serve whoever may be king. But it was Zuri who broke the clause of non-intervention and prevented a killing blow from Killmonger, thus turning the lost prince's bloodlust onto him. After witnessing T'Challa's supposed death being thrown off the edge at Warrior Falls, the Dora stood to serve their new King and Black Panther; however, Okoye allowed Nakia to take Ramonda and Shuri into exile to save them from their cousin's wrath.
When Erik Killmonger was preparing forces to disseminate Wakandan weapons to War Dogs, all were surprised as T'Challa had revealed himself alive by grounding an aircraft. Seeing as he neither died nor yielded, the Challenge for the throne was still ongoing. But finding Killmonger order the Border Tribe to attack T'Challa instead of finishing the challenge himself, General Okoye ordered the Dora Milaje to stand against him, as his hatred and dishonor made him unsuited for the Wakandan throne or mantle of the Black Panther. Okoye stayed with a small squad to fight Killmonger, all while having Ayo lead the remaining members to aid T'Challa against the Border Tribe just on the slope of Mt. Bashenga.
In 2018, the Dora Milaje stood alongside the remaining members of the Border Tribe, the Jabari Tribe warriors, and the Wakandan Royal Guard as they fought bravely alongside T'Challa and the Avengers in the Battle of Wakanda. Riding in troop hover tanks, the United Wakandan Forces rode to the edge of the outer force field blocking out Thanos' forces. The joint Avenger Wakandan forces waged a long war, suffering many casualties before the arrival of Thor and his new friends, which turned the tide of battle in their favor and they had managed to defeat the Outriders. Despite their victory, they were still unable to stop Thanos, who had mustered the strength to simply snap his fingers despite Thor severely wounding him. By his use of the fully assembled Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos activated his intended powers in a blinding flash of energy. The ending of the Battle of Wakanda inevitably belonged to Thanos, as his goal of killing half of all life in the Universe was finally achieved, making many of the Dora Milaje being vaporized by the Snap, with the survivors to watch helpless as their compatriots vanished.
The Dora Milaje, who had perished by the Snap, have been resurrected in 2023 by Hulk using the six Infinity Stones retrieved in the past by the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. They fight with their king, as well as their princess and commander in the Battle of Earth who finishes by Thanos' death and his army.
- In the comics, the Dora Milaje are the personal bodyguards and royal security of the Black Panther, recruited from every tribe of Wakanda. In addition with their protective function, they are also a pool of superior Wakandan women for the King to possibly marry.
Behind the Scenes
- Black Panther producer Nate Moore revealed in an interview with Screen Rant that the betrothal aspect from the comics was deliberately excluded from the Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnation of the group: "You know, that was sort of part of the original Christopher Priest run where they were all betrothed which we felt wasn’t necessary to tell the story of the Dora and in a way we all kind of rejected as being a little creepy. So we will not be exploring that."
- The Dora Milaje costumes drew inspiration from Filipino and Japanese elements in addition to its African roots. According to senior visual development illustrator Anthony Francisco, the shoes were meant to look like Japanese jika-tabi boots, the beadwork and tassles from Ifugao decor in the Philippines, the arm bands and neck rings from Ndebele women, and the rest of the costume from the Maasai. With around 80% of the costume from African sources, Francisco described the breakdown of other influences as "five percent Samurai, five percent ninja, and five percent Ifugao tribe."
|Appearances for Dora Milaje|
In chronological order: