Black Panther is currently showing in cinemas in the Philippines. The character made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. This is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many are curious to know who he is since he suddenly appeared and there was no back story preceding this film. The Black Panther film is set after the events in Civil War.
For those who plan to watch it, here are a few things you need to know (don’t worry, there are no spoilers) to bring you up to speed in case you have not followed the comic books to give you an understanding who he is.
Who Is the Black Panther?
Black Panther is originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of Marvel. He made his debut in Fantastic Four, Issue #66 in July 1966. This time was considered the Silver Age of Comic Books.
He is the first comic superhero of African ethnicity. He preceded other characters, mostly African-American, like the X-Men’s Storm, Luke Cage, Falcon (Sam Wilson), Blade, John Stewart (DC’s Green Lantern) and War Machine (James Rhodes).
Black Panther’s real name is T’Challa, the current ruler of the fictional African country of Wakanda. This country is technologically advanced, thanks to a meteor made entirely of a metal called Vibranium. The Wakandans learned to make good use of it, creating technology ahead of the rest. Fearing exploitation, they have maintained a policy of isolation and created the illusion they are a Third World country.
Black Panther is a title he inherited from his father and those before him in his clan. They have been the guardians of Wakanda, ensuring its secret is protected.
He derives his power from eating the Heart-Shaped Herb, a special plant imbued with the properties of Vibranium that permeated the land. This enhances his physical attributes, making him stronger, more agile and dexterous. He wears a suit made out of Vibranium which makes him invulnerable to any kind of attack. Even without his powers, T’Challa is trained in various forms of combat in addition to being a polymath. Such are the qualities he needs as King of Wakanda.
The film boasts of a powerhouse cast – Chadwick Boseman (who plays the titular character), Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan (who plays the antagonist), Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Forrest Whittaker. Also in the cast are Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, and lending supporting roles are Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler.
The film is mainly centered Africa in the fictional country of Wakanda. T’Challa has succeeded his father who died in Civil War (the circumstances of his death differ from the comics). This film aims to destroy whatever stereotypes exist towards Africans. The usual impression is Africans are backward or primitive. The movie intends to show Africans have the potential to be great.
Its leaders can be transformational and inspiring as opposed to the dictators who have ruled Africa in real-life. It is for this reason why T’Challa is portrayed not just as a warrior-king, but also a diplomat and someone well-loved by his subjects.
With the exception of Jordan who is the villain, the other African-American actors put on African accents to give the feeling of authenticity. Some of the actors went through intense workouts and training to prepare for fight scenes and the result is they gave a very convincing show.
These are reasons enough for you to watch Black Panther. Of course, stick around when the credits start rolling. They will give you an idea what lies ahead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Featured Image Source: Marvel Studios/Disney Studios