Disney has given us a first look at Black Panther‘s T’Challa in his upcoming solo feature with the release of this teaser poster and accompanying trailer. Having to rely solely on face value, it’s hard to set my predictions dial on a solid hit or miss, but from imagery alone this release from Disney/Marvel Studios looks to finally get it right.
Squaring off with this poster combined with the acting talents of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, annnnd Andy Serkis *takes a breather* – we are in for a bit of a treat.
For those not so familiar with the infamous T’Challa and his mystical homeland of Wakanda, Black Panther was created by comic legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, appearing for the very first time in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). Although, the character predates the founding of the now-famous Black Panther Party by a matter of months (founded circa October of the same year), Stan Lee retains to this day that T’Challa was inspired by a pulp adventure hero who has a black panther as a helper. Unsurprisingly, he was introduced as THE BLACK LEOPARD, so as to avoid political entanglements with a once considered militant political party group. He is the first black character to bear the mantle of superhero with super powers to appear in the comic book medium.
In the beginning, there were real character arcs which introduced him to the worlds of Fantastic Four, Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man and even Daredevil. His first starring role as a character segregated from the mainstay of Marvel’s heroes was the aptly titled “Jungle Action” where he made his name in one of the first Marvel multi-story arcs known as Panther’s Rage. Sadly, sales were reportedly low, with mainly college students picking them up copies of “Jungle Action.”
Hardcore Panther fans would celebrate, when in the 1980s, the character finally scored a mini-series that celebrated the Wakanda King’s own name, Black Panther. This mini-series has since been succeeded by 3 other volumes. Before joining members of the X-Men and Fantastic Four to take on Doctor Doom in 2010’s fan favourite, Doom War.
Though, my favourite incarnation was when Matt Murdock invited T’Challa to America to become the new hero of Hell’s Kitchen, thus becoming the new lead character in Daredevil and with the comic renamed from issue 513 onwards to Black Panther: Man Without Fear. C’mon Netflix and Disney, do your thing and give us a crossover. #itwillneverhappen
Marvel Studios’ and Disney’s Black Panther follows the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, where after the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to his country of fictional Wakanda to take up the mantle of King. We are set to be introduced to the technologically advanced African nation only to be under threat when a powerful old enemy reappears. T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther hits theatres on February 16, 2018.