On February 16, 2018, the Black Panther will hit theaters in the US. It already has eclipsed all pre-sales of tickets for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, topping Captain America: Civil War within 24 hours. The title character, T’challa (Chadwick Boseman) was introduced to Marvel film fans in that Captain America movie which left us with T’challa cryogenically freezing Cap’s WWII pal Bucky who is a fugitive from the world and needs a new arm as well.
If you are unfamiliar with Black Panther from the comics or simply need a refresher. Here’s what you need to know before taking your seat at the theater. The movie has much to do to set up for Avengers: Infinity War in which Boseman will also star so get your backstory down now.
The character, Black Panther, debuted in July 1966 in Fantastic Four #52. In that book, T’challa, the King of the fictional nation of Wakanda, invited the Fantastic Four to Wakanda in which turned out to be a test of his powers against theirs, preparing for a destined battle against Ulysses Klaue (Klaw), the man who killed his father the former king, T’chaka. T’chaka died differently in the movie universe but either way it made T’challa the new King of a great nation. Together, the Fantastic Four and T’challa defeated Klaw with the Panther doing most of the heavy lifting and T’challa vowed to use his powers to serve mankind.
What powers you might ask? He received enhanced abilities through a secret ancient Wakandan ritual. He has genius intellect, martial arts skills, super quickness. Great strength and he might just be the richest man in the world as well, owing to the natural resources of Wakanda including Vibranium, the substance from which Captain America’s shield was made. When Bucky gets a new arm, I’m thinking it will be made of vibranium as well. Over the years T’challa’s been associated with The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Defenders, Fantastic Force, Illuminati, and the Ultimates. In the comic world, he was married to Storm of the X-men which never could have happened in the movies but since Disney is getting the rights to the X-men characters previously owned by Fox, we may see the two of them kicking it in the near future.
Being King of Wakanda has its privileges, Wakanda is perhaps the most technologically developed nation on earth and he has an all-female bodyguard crew called the Dora Milaje. They serve the King, speaking only in the obscure Wakandan language of Hausa, allowing them to speak in the presence of others without being understood. The film will introduce us to members Okoye (Danai Guriya of Walking Dead fame) along with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Angela Bassett will portray T’challa’s loving stepmother, Ramonda, and Forrest Whitaker will play, Zuri, an elder Wakandan statesman. He also gets a vibranium laced costume which will absorb most of the things that would kill lesser men, and is still, possibly the richest man in the world.
Of course, there are haters as well. We know Klaw will return, no doubt with some lethal enhancement taking the place of the hand that Ultron sliced off in the last Avengers movie. This will make him appear more like the original Klaw who added a sonic-blaster after young T’challa disintegrated his hand after Klaw killed his father. We’ll also meet Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan), a fellow Wakandan with all the physical abilities of T’challa who thinks that it is he that should be king. A former ally of Klaw in the comics, we don’t know if that carries over to the film but both will be coming for T’challa at some point.