Now that 2018 has arrived, most of us are already looking forward to February as “Black Panther” will kick off the onslaught of superhero movies for this year.
Although we were briefly introduced to T’Challa in “Captain America: Civil War“, moviegoers will really get to know him better in “Black Panther”. While Black Panther’s solo outing may not necessary be a traditional origin story, it will be our first opportunity to explore the mythical country of Wakanda.
The plot synopsis of “Black Panther” is as follows:
“Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther’ follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But 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.”
Not to mention, “Black Panther” is the final chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before we head into the massive “Avengers: Infinity War”. Rumoured to be 135 minutes long, it’s time to prep you up on the major characters that will making their debut on the big screen next month.
1. Black Panther aka T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman)
As the new king of Wakanda, T’Challa is struggling to cope with the loss of his father T’Chaka, but is determined to live up to his great legacy. When Wakanda finds herself beset by two enemies intent on the nation’s downfall, Black Panther must use his new suit and heightened strength, speed and senses to defend Wakanda and the rest of the world.
“What makes him different from other superheroes first and foremost is he doesn’t see himself as a superhero,” says director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. “He sees himself as a politician. That’s the first thing on his mind when he wakes up in the morning. ‘How am I going to fulfil my duties as king of this place?’”
2. Okoye (played by Danai Gurira)
The head of the Dora Milaje, an all-female special forces group, Okoya is a fiercely loyal protector of Wakanda who isn’t afraid to question her king, but would defend him with her life. A staunch traditionalist who is as formidable with her spear as she is with her tongue, Okoye finds herself torn between her allegiance to her country and her king when T’Challa begins to challenge ancient Wakandan rules.
“Being the head of the Dora Milaje and losing a monarch in somewhat of a security breach situation is not something that sits well in her soul. The desire to make sure that never happens again is something very intrinsic to who she is,” Danai Gurira tells Entertainment Weekly. “To protect the throne, you are protecting the core institution of the nation, which allows it to thrive. She has a deep passion and connection to her country, to her people, and to the very special nature of who and what they are.”
3. Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o)
A Wakandan spy pulled from her mission abroad by her former flame T’Challa, Nakia consistently gets involved in conflict for the good of others, adamant to use her abilities to help those in need. In the wake of King T’Chaka’s death and the rise of Wakanda’s new enemies, Nakia puts her skills of subterfuge and hand-to-hand combat to use in order to fight alongside Black Panther.
“She is a departure from what she was in the comic book. Nakia is a war dog. She is basically an undercover spy for Wakanda. Her job is to go out into the world and report back on what’s going on,” says Lupita Nyong’o.
4. Shuri (played by Letitia Wright)
Shuri is T’Challa’s younger sister and head of the Wakandan Design Group, where she designs and builds futuristic tech such as the Black Panther suit with Vibranium mined from the Great Mound. She is an innovator, intelligent beyond her years, and always ready to give her big brother a hard time.
5. Erik Killmonger/ Erik Stevens (played by Michael B. Jordan)
Erik Stevens was an American black-ops soldier who earned the nickname “Killmonger” while in the field. However, after disappearing off the grid, he has reemerged with a plan that threatens to put Black Panther and all of Wakanda at risk. Using his charisma, considerable skills in combat and his surprising knowledge of Wakandan customs, Erik Killmonger is a dangerous threat to all that T’Challa holds dear.
“Something we felt was important was that Wakanda wasn’t treated monolithically, meaning everybody agreed to do the same thing all the time. Wakanda has a lot of citizens who have a lot of different ideas of Wakanda should be. Killmonger is a voice of a different side of Wakanda,” says executive producer Nate Moore
6. M’Baku (played by Winston Duke)
Armed with the hardened Jabari wood armor and a battle staff, M’Baku is the formidable leader of the Jabari tribe, a group of Wakandans who have shunned the use of vibranium and removed themselves from the mainstream Wakandan life. In the wake of T’Chaka’s death, M’Baku is faced with the choice of challenging T’Challa for the throne, or joining forces with his would-be adversary to defend Wakanda from malevolent outside forces.
7. W’Kabi (played by Daniel Kaluuya)
“As T’Challa ascends to the throne, he asks W’Kabi to serve as an advisor, trusting his friends knowledge and instincts. They live on the borders of Wakanda and serve as the first line of defense for the country,” adds Moore. As the head of security for the Border Tribe and Black Panther’s best friend, he is fiercely loyal to Wakanda. As such, he is often hostile to outsiders such as Everett K. Ross.
8. Ramonda (played by Angela Bassett)
As the former queen, Ramonda is now the mother of the king and one of his vital advisors. “Her goal in the film is to help T’Challa become king of Wakanda in a peaceful transition of power, serving as a de facto advisor to the throne. However, as things get complicated for our hero, she sets aside any political functions and instead operates as a mother whose sole concern is the physical well-being of both of her children,” Moore shares.
9. Zuri (played by Forest Whitaker)
With his father, King T’Chaka, dead – T’Challa will need a mentor to guide him in his rulership. This is where Zuri comes in. During his younger days, Zuri was a great Wakandan warrior, but now, he is “somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure”.
10. Everett Ross (played by Martin Freeman)
A CIA agent and former liaison with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Everett Ross is reunited with T’Challa when they both find themselves after the same adversary: Ulysses Klaue. A skilled tactician with advanced weapons training, Ross becomes an invaluable ally to the Black Panther.
11. Klaue (played by Andy Serkis)
We last saw Ulysses Klaue getting his arm cut off in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. The Vibranium poacher, who is another outsider that enters Wakanda, now dons a plastic prosthetic containing Vibranium-mining equipment that makes him dangerous.
Watch the trailer here:
“Black Panther” will open in cinemas 15th February 2018.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly (1)(2), Coming Soon.
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