9 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…
BLACK PANTHER After that trailer, here’s everything we’ve got on Marvel’s boldest film yet
1 All aboard for Wakanda! Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther solo film, courtesy of director Ryan Coogler (Creed), is the final standalone title before Avengers: Infinity War. Chances it will prove to be the calm before the storm? Slim to none.
2 The story sees King T’challa (Boseman) returning to his reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his father’s place on the throne, following the events of Captain
America: Civil War. However, he faces challengers for his crown and “two foes” threatening to drag Wakanda into a world war. T’challa must don the Black Panther suit again to fight for his people. Never a day’s peace for a blue-blooded battler.
3 Two foes? The teaser shows that one is Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, who first appeared in Age Of Ultron. An arms dealer who made a fortune smuggling the priceless metal vibranium out of Wakanda, he’s still working with enemies of the country’s royal family. Sadly for Klaue, he’s going to spend a bit of time in custody being interrogated by Civil War’s CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), a regular Black Panther collaborator.
4 But what about that second baddie? If you study Klaue’s prison escape closely, you’ll see that he’s in cahoots with Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, aka N’jadaka. He’s a genius strongman native to, but exiled from Wakanda, who has sworn revenge on T’challa’s family and has his sights set on the throne.
5 This is not, however, going to be another super-sausage-fest. That’s partly because of T’challa’s stepmother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) but mostly because of the formidable Dora Milaje, the all-female warriors who come from the tribes of Wakanda and form a sort of marriage pool/bodyguard corps for the royal family. You’ve already seen one of them in Florence Kasumba’s fearsome minder from Civil War — she will be back.
6 Among that force is Letitia Wright as T’challa’s tech-genius sister Shuri, and The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira as Okoye, a loyal ally of T’challa’s. The final key Dora Milaje warrior is Lupita Nyong ’o’s Nakia. In the comics Nakia overreacts badly when T’challa rejects her and becomes the villain Malice, working with Killmonger.
7 Forest Whitaker plays Zuri, a Wakandan elder statesman and T’challa’s mentor. Coogler says that Whitaker’s character plays an “Obi-wan Kenobi” role for T’challa.
8 Much of the conflict is driven by vibranium, the (fictional) metal on which Wakanda’s fortunes are based. It’s the material of BP’S catsuit and claws, making him largely bulletproof. Could misuse of vibranium be the cause of this potential world war?
9 Which other Marvel characters might appear? We last saw Bucky ‘The Winter Soldier’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan) going into cryogenic storage in T’challa’s backyard, so there’s a possibility he could be thawed out. More likely, however, is a link that builds towards Infinity War — which leaves the MCU cameo field wide open.
BLACK PANTHER is in cinemas from 16 february
King T’challa of Wakanda (Chadwick Boseman). Below: T’challa ready to pounce as the Black Panther.
Cat people (left to right): Black Panther and T’challa (Chadwick Boseman), director Ryan Coogler, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).