There’s all manner of speculation as to what heroes will be included in Marvel’s phase 3 movie line up. After the out of left field choice of Guardians of the Galaxy, anything seemed possible. While Ant-Man has already been confirmed, there are two properties most assuredly in development. Dr. Strange, and Black Panther. T’Challa, King of Wakanda and conduit to the Panther God, has been a Marvel staple since 1966, and the first mainstream black superhero.
While Falcon will be the first black Marvel superhero to make his film debut with next year’s Captain America: The Winder Soldier, T’Challa came first in the comics. Making his debut in Fantastic Four #52, the character was a creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (though likely only the latter). T’Challa hails from the fictional African nation of Wakanda (supposedly located somewhere in the middle there). Wakanda is a perfectly balanced utopia that exhibits a surface level primitive quality of life, but is actually a powerful, rich nation, thanks to a large deposit of vibranium.
Vibranium is one of several made up elements in the Marvel Universe. Named due it’s ability to absorb energy, the metal is said to be very rare, most notably comprising Captain America’s shield. It was mentioned in the movie, First Avenger and the reason it didn’t shattered when Thor struck it in Avengers. While the country holds onto it’s heritage, every citizen is apparently a well trained warrior, along with being a super genius. With this the small nation is a strong power in the world; rich while utilizing all manner of technology. This juxtaposed with the tribal life style make for an odd, but interesting pairing.
Panthers origin I’m sure will be the basis for the movie, so I’ll be brief here. Black Panther is a hereditary mantel, that still must be earned. T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, was murdered by a hunter named Ulysses Klaw. Panther eventually passed the trials, establishing a connection with the Panther god, granting him powers. Including, but not limited to: superior strength, speed, agility, stamina, superhuman senses, etc. His suit is made from vibranium, and eventually given energy daggers as well. Including his access to infinite resources and staggering intellect, he’s basically black Batman.
T’Challa married Storm from the X-Men during the Civil War. After the death of Bill Foster, he joined Captain America to fight the registration act. After the nonsense of Shadowland in Daredevil, Matt Murdock left Hell’s Kitchen to walk the earth. Panther took his place as it’s protector, giving him a chance to find himself as well. The book was renamed Black Panther: Man Without Fear. He returned to Wakanda just in time for a Phoenix Force powered Namor to destroy it with a massive tidal wave in Avengers vs. X-Men. Then he divorced Storm just because. It was awkward.
Panther has been coming more to the forefront in comics as of late, particularly in Hickman’s New Avengers as a member of the Illuminati. Along with this, the inevitable war with Wakanda and Atlantis (Namor’s kingdom) started just in time for Thanos to invade the earth in Infinite. Marvel likes to align their comic book line with their movie offerings. I’m sure we’ll see more of Panther in the coming months.
Aside from comics, T’Challa’s most notable appearances has been in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as a recurring member. He’s had a few brief appearances on various Marvel cartoon’s in the 90’s, mixing between voiced and unvoiced. Panther had his own series on BET, but was animated in a hideous stop motion style. It lasted 6 episodes. The character was also a playable character in Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2.
Stan Lee has let slip that Black Panther was another movie being developed, speaking as if it had already been announced. This along with many other rumblings assure we’ll be seeing the character sooner, rather than later. As many fans saw, Wakanda was clearly marked on a map at the end of Iron Man 2, along with Tony rediscovering vibranium. Panther is coming.
Excited to see yet another superhero origin movie? Think they’ll do something different for once? Comment below!
The Panther movie will still mostly take place in New York.