Preview to Marvel’s new movie: Black Panther


James Rudolph , Opinion's Editor

As we approach the hallway point of Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Oct.16th brought us the second trailer for Black Panther. Starting in 2016, Phase 3 sees popular Marvel characters, like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk in the movies like Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and, more recently Thor: Ragnarok. Alongside the more popular superheroes, Marvel introduced its lesser known heroes that only comic fans would recognize. Heroes like Doctor Strange, Ant Man, Star Lord (Peter Quill), and Captain Marvel are getting their own films and, in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy and Antman, multiple sequels. Now, T’Challa, known as the Black Panther, gets his own film.

Black Panther, originally making his screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, is played by Chadwick Boseman, who played the lead roles in movies like 42 and Marshall. He is joined by fellow prominent actors Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, the director and co-writer of Creed.

The first trailer revealed very little of the plot, giving only a glimpse of Wakanda, the fictional nation in North-Eastern Africa that is concealed and protected by a force field, an interrogation between Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman and a few actions sequences with Black Panther that depict him as Wakanda’s guardian. However, the second trailer shows Wakanda as the technologically advanced city that it is in the comics and shows Black Panther in leadership roles, as he is King of Wakanda. Whitaker and Basset are seen as companions, while Serkis and Winston Duke, making his motion picture debut, are depicted as villains. However, both trailers had the voice over of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, the previous King of Wakanda and Black Panther, during the actions sequences saying, “The world is changing. Soon there will be only the conquered and the conquerors. You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be king.”

Black Panther has been a part of the Marvel universe for more than 50 years. Created by Stan Lee, Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #54 in July 1966. The mantle of the Black Panther is passed down from one King of Wakanda to the next, and they are the protectors of Wakanda and it’s people. Wakanda itself is considered to be the most technologically advanced nation in the world, deriving its technology from an unearthed meteorite that crashed years ago, which contains the fictional mineral vibranium, the vibration-absorbing metal that Captain America’s shield is made of.

Without revealing too much of his origin, or potential film spoilers, T’Challa in the comics gets his powers from his connection with a Panther deity. He has augmented physical strength, speed, stamina, and agility. His senses are heightened to the point he can track people like prey. He wears a vibranium suit, shaped in the guise of a Panther, that is bullet proof and armed with vibranium claws. He possess a vast array of magical artifacts, has access to the Wakandan military technology, and a huge amount of wealth. T’Challa is also a politician and a scientist. He has a PhD in physics from Oxford and is considered one of the smartest people on the planet.

Black Panther shows how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is really exploring the complex comic universe that has been part of America since 1938. These stand-alone films about superheroes that aren’t big in Pop culture open audiences to a new part of the Marvel Universe. Black Panther will hit theaters on Feb. 16th, 2018.