We are just days away from the premiere of BLACK PANTHER! Because we at ComicsVerse are so excited, let’s a take a look at the journey T’Challa has had so far from the comics to the big screen.

We’ll also look at what we can expect to see from the king of Wakanda in the upcoming film.

T’Challa in the Comics

T’Challa, the Black Panther, and all of Wakanda first appeared in FANTASTIC FOUR #52 in 1966. Created by legends Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, T’Challa was Marvel Comics’ first superhero of African descent. He is also the first African descended superhero in general.

As his origin is told in the comics, the African nation of Wakanda lies hidden from the outside world. The chief of the Black Panther clan rules over the whole nation. As is their tradition, the king holds the mantle of the Black Panther, serving not only as a ruler but also a warrior and defender.

T'Challa

Due to their valuable and rare resource of vibranium, access to their country and the rare metal is highly coveted. It is for this reason that T’Challa’s origin begins with his father T’Chaka’s death. T’Chaka, then the current king and Black Panther, is killed during an attempt to steal stores of Vibranium by the criminal Ulysses Klaw. T’Challa, the next in line for the throne, trains and then later passes the trials needed. He then becomes the new king of Wakanda and next Black Panther.

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T’Challa’s Career and Abilities

Throughout the character’s 52 year run, T’Challa has faced many threats both within and outside his borders. He splits his time as the Black Panther between ruling and defending Wakanda and having a place on various teams such as the Avengers, Defenders, and the Ultimates.

T’Challa wears a suit made out of a Vibranium alloy, with vibranium tipped claws. He also utilizes several other advanced technologies in his suit made by Wakandan science. A highly trained warrior, the Black Panther is in peak physical condition.

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It’s also interesting to note that he did have a brief stint where he changed his name to Black Leopard, in order to disassociate himself from the real-life Black Panther civil rights group.  T’Challa himself says in the comics that he neither condemned nor condoned their often aggressive actions.

It’s Not Easy Being King

In 2016, Ta-Nahesi Coates began writing a BLACK PANTHER series for Marvel Comics, and it provides one of the more profound and in-depth looks at T’Challa’s character. In it, Coates exposes the heavy crown that T’Challa wears. Readers have been able to witness the true struggle it is to rule honorably as T’Challa strives to do.

Furthermore, Coates creates a Wakanda that has lost faith in their king as a result of his failings to protect them from recent threats. T’Challa himself struggles with his failings and has to regain not only his confidence as the Black Panther but also the trust in his people.

Unlike other BLACK PANTHER series of the past, this story takes T’Challa and his kingdom into a realm that more closely parallels real modern issues than ever before, and it’s definitely worth the read.

T'Challa

Civil War: Vengeance VS. Justice

The Black Panther’s origin in the MCU somewhat differs than that within the comics, which is typical. The origins of our favorite heroes get slightly altered when they are translated from the source material to the film medium. We first meet T’Challa as a young man in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.

He is in Vienna with his father T’Chaka, who is still alive and well. They are there to ratify the Sokovia Accords, and to start a campaign for Wakanda to join the rest of the world. The Accords are legislation that will help oversee and regulate the Avengers. T’Chaka, a large proponent of the Accords, is giving a speech when a bomb explodes, killing him.

Believing that the Winter Soldier is responsible for the attack, T’Challa embarks on a quest for vengeance. He joins Iron Man and his allies to intercept the Winter Soldier and Captain America. When they escape, the Black Panther follows close behind. He discovers the truth about the bomber, being part of a plot Helmut Zemo devises to get vengeance himself on the Avengers. Zemo’s plan was to set Captain America and Iron Man against each other to tear them apart.

T'Challa

T’Challa then makes a compelling observation and decision.  When speaking to Zemo, he says, “Vengeance has consumed you. It’s consuming them. I am done letting it consume me. Justice will come soon enough.”

Resolving not to kill Zemo for the death of his father, he actually saves Zemo from killing himself. While this is undoubtedly a hard choice to make, T’Challa makes the right one, showing his ability not only to be a great warrior but a great future ruler as well.

T’Challa Is Now King

With his father’s death in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, T’Challa now serves Wakanda as the Black Panther and king. From the trailers, T’Challa returns home to Wakanda, and will most likely face several challenges.

For instance, how will T’Challa handle his new title as king? Will he embrace it? Will his people? New threats come to Wakanda in the form of villains such as Klaw, M’baku, and Erik Killmonger. They will seek to tear down that which T’Challa protects.

T'Challa

The film will also see Wakanda step out of the shadows, continuing the intentions T’Chaka had in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Wakanda will reveal itself as a prosperous and advanced nation. It appears that T’Challa will be at the forefront of this change, leading the way.

T’Challa’s character is one that has a special significance. Very few superheroes’ everyday identities and lives involve ruling an entire nation. This creates a unique character, one that is consistently trying to do good. Not only for the greater good but for the good of the people he has pledged to lead. This leads to an intriguing display of a man attempting to balance intentions, hopes, and desires between two titles: The Black Panther and King.

BLACK PANTHER premieres in theaters on February 16th.

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