Black Panther is the most prominent new addition to the Marvel Universe in Captain America: Civil War, in wide release around the world today.
Some moviegoers might be curious about who Black Panther is going into the film…so here’s a primer on the sensational Black Panther!
This article does NOT contain spoilers for Captain America: Civil War. This information is drawn primarily from the comic lore and may differ slightly on screen.
Who is the Black Panther?
[img via www.comingsoon.net]
Black Panther is actually a ceremonial title for the leader, and king, of the African nation Wakanda. It is not one that is inherited. An aspirant must undertake a series of trials and then defeat the current Black Panther in unarmed combat to assume the mantle of Black Panther.
This victory connects the new king to the panther god and grants access to the heart shaped herb, which brings its bearer enhanced speed, agility, strength, and keen senses.
T’challa, the current Black Panther, was raised during his early years by his father T’chaka, and was a student of strategy, tactics, intrigue, as well as unarmed combat.
T’chaka was killed during his sons teenage years by Ulysses Klaw (played on screen by Andy Serkis in Avengers: Age of Ultron) who wanted to plunder Wakanda’s vast deposits of Vibranium and sell it on the black market.
Klaw killed T’chaka during his raid on Wakanda, leaving his son to eventually become the Black Panther.
Once he assumed the mantle of king (and Black Panther), T’challa began to rebuild his nation as the most technologically advanced on earth.
Using his intellect, which rivals even that of Tony Stark, he was able to create a paradise of technology without losing what made Wakanda special in the first place.
T’challa’s success was helped by Wakanda’s supply of Vibranium, the rarest metal on the planet; it’s so rare that it is ONLY found in Wakanda. The export of Vibranium is strictly controlled. It’s so valuable that it makes T’challa the richest person in the world.
In fact, he has more wealth than pretty much everyone else. Combined.
Vibranium isn’t new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you probably already know that it’s what Captain America’s shield is made of. It’s also what makes Black Panther’s suit deflect bullets and powers many of Wakanda’s technological marvels.
[image via marvel.com]
We aren’t sure exactly how Black Panther fits into the world of Captain America: Civil War (unless you’ve seen it!) but since he is obviously on Team Iron Man, it’s likely that the story parallels his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52.
T’challa began to fear the motives of the outside world of superheroes, having closed the borders of Wakanda as he sought to make it the technological envy of the world. It is because of that fear that invites the Fantastic Four to Wakanda. Instead of a polite chat, however, the Fantastic Four are forced to undergo a series of rigorous and complex trials that pushed their abilities to the limit.
Despite T’challa’s genius, the Fantastic Four were able to overcome these obstacles AND convinced T’challa that their motives were pure and that he had nothing to fear from them. Black Panther even joined the FF to defeat the villainous Klaw in the following issue.
The Future of the Black Panther
T’challa is played by Chadwick Boseman in Captain America: Civil War and the stand alone Black Panther film hits theatres on July 6th 2018.
We aren’t sure if he will appear in any other Marvel films between now and then, but it’s a safe bet that he very well could.
If you’ve seen Civil War, and you want to read everything Black Panther, start with Christopher Priest’s masterful run. It begins with Black Panther Vol. 3 in 1998.
It also introduces Martin Freeman’s Civil War character, Everett K. Ross, to T’challa as well.
[img via comingsoon.net]
Priest’s run hits all the right notes and does an excellent job of highlighting all the reasons why the Black Panther is one of the most underrated heroes in the Marvel Universe.
With the release if Captain America: Civil War he won’t be for much longer.
Haven’t seen Captain America: Civil War? You can read our review here, published at midnight Eastern time.
Featured Image Via [marvel.com]