The BLACK PANTHER film hits theaters in a week. With that being said, the MCU audience is going to receive a lot of new information. We see T’Challa make a splash in CIVIL WAR, but it’s always helpful to ‘learn up’ on things before a film release. Who exactly is T’Challa? And what should we know about his native country, Wakanda?

A Speedy Recap

In the opening battle of CIVIL WAR,  eleven Wakandans were said to have died via a news report. And although the Avengers win this battle, King T’Chaka puts his two cents in on the matter:

“Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all,”

When T’Chaka and T’Challa attend the Sokovia Accords, a bomb goes off that kills T’Chaka. T’Challa becomes the new King of Wakanda, vowing to kill the bombing suspect: Bucky Barnes. Shortly after, a battle between Cap, Bucky, Falcon, and T’Challa ensues. After it ends with their arrest, T’Challa reveals that the Black Panther has been Wakanda’s protector for many generations.

black panther film
Black Widow and T’Challa at the Sokovia Accords. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

T’Challa takes Stark’s side in the iconic battle of heroes that follows. During a one-on-one fight, Bucky tells T’Challa that he didn’t kill his father. As we later learn, the real man responsible is Helmut Zemo, whose wife and son was killed in a former battle of the Avengers’.

“Vengeance has consumed you. It’s consuming them. I’m done letting it consume me,”

T’Challa says moments before he stops Zemo from committing suicide. Zemo is sent to a containment cell, where Everett Ross (more on him later) handles the matter.

T’Challa’s Personality

One of the first qualities we recognize in T’Challa is his distaste for politics.

“Two people in a room can get more done than a hundred,”

“Unless you need to move a piano,” T’Chaka interrupts. Despite his father’s great efforts to involve him in politics, T’Challa remains indifferent towards them.

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Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

T’Challa also exhibits a strong sense of rational thinking. While he doesn’t necessarily express forgiveness towards Zemo, T’Challa ultimately makes the decision not to kill him. Stooping to Zemo’s level by seeking revenge would only counteract the very thing that the Black Panther stands for. Overall, T’Challa is an honorable warrior. He chooses his battles wisely and refrains from political involvement when possible.

The BLACK PANTHER Trailer Wows: Can T’Challa Lead Wakanda? [Video]

Vibranium

T’Challa’s native country, Wakanda, is probably best known for being home to Vibranium. It is the world’s rarest (and probably, most expensive) metal. Although most other MCU movies fail to mention Wakanda, Vibranium itself has been a popular topic of conversation. For example, CAPTAIN AMERICA introduces us to the metal when Howard Stark gives Cap the Vibranium shield.

“It’s stronger than steel and a third of the weight.”

Ulysses Klaue, whom we haven’t yet heard of in the MCU, eventually steals mass amounts of Vibranium from Wakanda. This happens some time in-between CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and AGE OF ULTRON because Ultron ends up purchasing the metal. From it, Ultron creates bodies for his consciousness. And as we know, the Avengers steal the synthetic Vibranium body that eventually becomes Vision.

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Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

So this far, Vibranium has been used to create Cap’s shield, Ultron & Vision’s bodies, and now: the suit worn by the Black Panther. This suit is so strong that it’s able to deflect bullets. It comes complete with retractable Vibranium claws and impacts absorbency. Hopefully, in the BLACK PANTHER film, we’ll learn a bit more about the history of Vibranium.

Wakanda and Politics

Wakanda, T’Challa’s home country, is located in east Africa near Kenya and South Sudan. Politically, the BLACK PANTHER film could depict Wakanda in a bit of a shaky state. After all, they do undergo a new ruler after the events of CIVIL WAR.

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The on-screen news report from CIVIL WAR. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Wakanda is an isolationist country: meaning they avoid international agreements, commitments, and alliances, what have you. But despite this, King T’Chaka wanted their country to become more politically involved with the rest of the world.

“We will fight to improve the world we wish to join.”

However, now that T’Challa is King, he might preserve the country’s former isolationist mindset. And maybe for a good reason, seeing as the trailer for INFINITY WAR shows a massive battle brewing on Wakandan turf. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how T’Challa acts as a policymaker.

T’Challa’s Allies

Most of T’Challa’s allies are people we have yet to meet. That is, besides one. CIVIL WAR introduces us to Everett Ross, a CIA agent who works closely with the Black Panther to apprehend Zemo. Ross resides in America, but he often associates with foreign ambassadors. He’s very well known in the comics as T’Challa’s ally.

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Everett Ross in CIVIL WAR. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

New faces joining T’Challa’s side will include:

  • Nakia: a Wakandan spy (and Dora Milaje member) who previously dated T’Challa
  • W’Kabi: T’Challa’s best friend, and also Wakanda’s Head of Border defense.
  • Shuri: T’Challa’s tech-savvy sister; leader of the Wakandan engineering front
  • Zuri: A type of spiritual healer who acts similar to a mentor for T’Challa; being that he was a close friend and advisor of the late T’Chaka

It’s interesting to note that Shuri is the only one announced to reprise her role in INFINITY WAR. However, these five aren’t T’Challa’s only form of help; which leads me to…

The Dora Milaje

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Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Dora Milaje is a female-led group of warriors who act as protectors of the Black Panther. In English, Dora Milaje means, “adored ones.” The comics include different members of the force over time. But it seems that the BLACK PANTHER film will employ the characters Ayo, Nakia, and Okoye as the current group.

Okoye is the leader of the Dora Milaje. Therefore, it’s no surprise that she comes back for INFINITY WAR alongside T’Challa. I guess this means Ayo and Nakias’ futures aren’t as certain as Okoye’s. Regardless, they’ll still play a major role in the BLACK PANTHER film. Let’s not forget that confrontational run-in Ayo had with Widow during CIVIL WAR. These women definitely aren’t afraid to throw their weight around if it means protecting Wakanda and T’Challa.

T’Challa’s Enemies

T’Challa has three notable opposing forces in the BLACK PANTHER film. One of these is the aforementioned Ulysses Klaue. In addition to stealing Vibranium, Klaue leads an attack against Wakanda in the comics. This brings me to our second villain, Erik Killmonger.

Killmonger’s father supposedly aids Klaue in this attack. As a result, their family is exiled from Wakanda. Erik Killmonger goes to America and joins the army. Once there, he trains in martial arts and weapon combat – all while harboring a deep hatred for Wakanda. Killmonger then returns to Wakanda to start a revolution against T’Challa. Since neither Killmonger nor Klaue are cast in INFINITY WAR, T’Challa will most likely settle these conflicts in the BLACK PANTHER film.

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Michael B. Jordan cast as Erik Killmonger. Courtesy of FHM.

M’Baku is the last antagonistic force in the BLACK PANTHER film. Although, I wouldn’t necessarily consider him an enemy. The leader of the Jabari Tribe, M’Baku is said to be the second strongest warrior in all of Wakanda (only to T’Challa). The Jabari Tribe does their own thing, choosing to remove themselves from Wakandan society.

When it comes down to it, M’Baku cares about Wakanda. He becomes conflicted when Erik Killmonger attacks. In the BLACK PANTHER film, I think we’ll see M’Baku and T’Challa butt heads. But I would be willing to bet that they join forces in order to protect their country. Oh, and M’Baku remains cast in INFINITY WAR, too. Hopefully, he’ll be fighting alongside the Avengers and not with the bad guys.

BLACK PANTHER Villains: The 3 Foes of T’Challa’s Wakanda

Expectations for the BLACK PANTHER Film

While there are many new names to learn (and difficult ones, at that), knowing the comic book background makes it a little easier. We can more easily tie characters down in our brains if we’re able to recall their interconnected relationships.

The cast BLACK PANTHER film looks like a strong one. Chadwick Boseman will reprise his role as T’Challa, and the well-known Michael B. Jordan will lend his acting chops to the villainous Erik Killmonger. As if the cast isn’t enough, Kendrick Lamar is curating the soundtrack. If you’re not excited for this movie, then what will you get excited for?!

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6 Comments

  1. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

  2. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

  3. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

  4. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

  5. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

  6. Wil Elliott Peña

    Wil Elliott Peña

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you don’t know who black panther is you don’t deserve to go see the movie.

    Reply

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