Everything We Know About Marvel’s Black Panther
Captain America: Civil War marked Black Panther’s first live-action adaptation, and as part of the unfolding Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe he will soon be at the center of his very own solo movie. Releasing on February 16th, 2017 The House of Mouse is not wasting any time getting the promotional machine rolling.
Here’s the latest trailer we got today, and while the spot doesn’t provide much in the way of plot specifics, but highlights the dazzling world of Wakanda that the movie is introducing while setting up the conflict between T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) for control of the advanced African nation’s future and destiny.
Here’s what it’s all about, the movie synopsis
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
Long ago, a meteorite made of vibranium crash-landed on Earth in western Africa. This site would eventually become the nation known as Wakanda: the most technologically advanced society in the world, and ruled by the royal family of the Black Panther tribe. After the discovery of the vibranium deposits, the Wakandans became incredibly insecure about their safety from outside invaders who wished to take the precious material, so it was agreed that the country would cut itself off from the rest of the world and live in seclusion.
Because of their isolation and incredible vibranium-fueled technological achievements, Wakanda is unlike any place on Earth. While being entirely aesthetically different, Wakanda should be the visual equivalent of Asgard on Earth, with each new corner offering up something impressive to see. You may also recall a brief mention of the nation in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron coated himself in vibranium taken from mysterious Ulysses Klaw.
Black Panther, known familiarly as T’Challa, is the chieftain of Wakanda, imbued with supernatural powers by the deities of his people. He’s a member of the royal family of Wakanda, and the nation’s sworn guardian. He is the warrior on the frontlines whenever a threat arrives in his country, and it’s a mantle that has been passed down for generations. He wears a suit made entirely out of woven vibranium (the same metal as Captain America‘s shield) and fights not only with incredible martial arts skills and strategy, but also sets of diabolically sharp retractable claws.
In the comics, Erik Killmonger is a villain of Black Panther‘s because of his hatred for T’Challa‘s family. When Erik was a kid — then known as N’Jadaka – Ulysses Klaw was invading Wakanda, and his men forced N’Jadaka‘s father to cooperate with them. When Klaw was defeated, and N’Jadaka‘s father was killed in the battle, N’Jadaka and his family were banished from Wakanda, creating what would become a life-long grudge. When he came of age, N’Jadaka began plotting his revenge — changing his name to Erik Killmonger, getting an education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and going on to try and make T’Challa‘s life hell. We don’t expect the Marvel blockbuster will perfectly copy this origin story, but there are definitely some key elements present.
Nakia isn’t exactly a well-known character outside of Black Panther lore, but she should play a key role in the film. In the comics, she is born part of the Q’Noma Valley marsh tribe, and she was selected as a member of the Dora Milaje — the all-female group of warriors who are assigned as the King of Wakanda‘s bodyguards. She winds up having strong feelings for T’Challa, but he doesn’t return her romantic interests, and this creates its own issues. Nakia is dedicated to her role as protector, though she has been known to be prone to jealousy, and eventually unrequited love drives her to villainy, taking on the name Malice. Of course, it’s unknown if that will be a part of the film or the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Chadwick Boseman will assume the role of Black Panther, giving the MCU its third-ever non-white superhero (War Machine and Falcon were the first two). More than that, we get an immensely talented actor in his biggest role to date.
- Michael B. Jordan as the villainous Kilmonger, who wants to overthrow T’Challa aka Black Panther.
- Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, T’Challa’s former lover and an undercover operative of the Wakanda special forces.
- Danai Gurira as Okoye, another member of the Wakanda special forces.
- Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s sister and the princess of Wakanda.
- Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, T’Challa’s best friend.
- Winston Duke as M’Baku, leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari, who are protesting T’Challa being King.
- Angela Bassett as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother.
- Forest Whitaker as Zuri, an elder statesman of Wakanda.
- Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw, a black-market arms dealer who lost his hand to Ultron.
- Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, member of the Joint Counter Terrorism Center.
Director Ryan Coogler is only 31 years old, and in the last few years has emerged as one of the most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers in the industry. It all began at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where Coogler‘s feature directorial debut, Fruitvale Station (then just called Fruitvale) won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Coogler rode this acclaim to his first franchise gig, writing and directing the Rocky spin-off-esque Creed, and he has since signed on to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe family of filmmakers as the man behind Black Panther.
How Will Black Panther Fit Into The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
There have been Black Panther-related Easter eggs hiding in Marvel movies since Iron Man 2 (where it was shown that S.H.I.E.L.D. had eyes on Wakanda), and because of this, there’s a chance we may see some pre-existing parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe fit into the making of the Black Panther movie. Andy Serkis‘ Ulysses Klaw, of course, is a perfect example, but Captain America: Civil War also introduces us to Martin Freeman as Everett Ross — a government official in the comics who has acted as the United States diplomat in Wakanda. Bringing either or both of these characters back for Ryan Coogler’s film could not only be a good fit, but it would be a move heavily appreciated by the fan base in that it would just continue to make the continuity stronger.
Without knowing more about the plot of the Black Panther movie, it’s hard to speculate how it will add to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one thing that’s very interesting is where the movie currently sits in the Phase Three schedule. As mentioned at the beginning of this feature, the movie is the last solo film before The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – a movie that is expected to include just about every available character we’ve seen introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Given that this is a list that includes Black Panther, we fully expect that the feature will have at least some kind of lead-in to the story about Thanos acquiring all six of the Infinity Stones.