Character Insights: Black Panther

Character Insights: Black Panther

I must admit, my glowing friend, that I do prefer the company of lions and leopards! They're much more trustworthy than the predators one finds in so-called civilization!

His country’s namesake has been in the MCU for years. His country was named last year in Age of Ultron, but now Black Panther has finally made his appearance on the big screen! Of course, he’s had a lot of attention for being a newcomer to this eight-year-long game, but what do we really know about him?

In the comics, Black Panther, or T’Challa to you and I, hails from Wakanda, an African country with closed borders to the outside world. A meteorite containing vibranium crashed into their village and King T’Chaka made sure the outside world wouldn’t overpower them for this valuable resource. At the time, he held the mantle of Black Panther, for it is also a title and rank of office. In order to become the next Black Panther, you needed to be of the royal line, and able to pass the associated trials.

Black Panther ComicsWhen T’Chaka was killed by Ulysses Klaue, T’Challa wasn’t ready as next in line, so his uncle S’yan took up the mantle instead. This was when T’Challa fell in love with a very young Ororo Munroe, otherwise known as X-Men’s Storm. Although they would later end up marrying, their romance didn’t lead anywhere at this point. T’Challa was still in the process of finding himself and making sure he would eventually be able to take up the role of Black Panther. He was eventually able to do this by defeating champions of various tribes in the Wakandas (as they are collectively known). He then sold off small portions of vibranium around the world to amass funds with which to arm himself with advanced technology.

One part of the initiation of the Black Panther is to ingest a herb in the shape of a heart. It is somehow poisonous to anyone outside of the royal bloodline, but this brings the individual increased stamina, superhuman strength, attuned senses, you name it. It has a special connection to the Panther God of their tribe. After a couple of encounters with Doctor Doom and others, he has lost this connection a few times but has always come back with another, stronger version. His sense of smell is so good, for example, that he can remember your sent even if you’ve only met him once and can probably track you across a continent if he so wished. He is also extremely competent in his martial arts and with most fighting styles.

The Black Panther suit itself is woven with vibranium, which gives him more manoeuvrability than Iron Man’s MK. XLV, which is also made from vibranium. This difference grants him an extreme amount of acrobatic skill as well as being lighter and able to move completely silently. The costume itself is a sacred emblem of the Wakandan Panther Cult, passed from one generation to the next. As King of Wakanda, T’Challa also has access to several mystical artifacts of their country, his scientists, impressive military and powerful mystics.Black Panther Fighting

T’Challa has also spent a lot of time in New York, leaving the Wakandan Council to lead the country for a while, as well as his sister Shuri. His time away from Wakanda has allowed him to suss Daredevil’s alter ego, Matt Murdock (a fact which he reveals to the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen). He also served as a replacement for Daredevil, when certain events led to Matt Murdock being unable to fight himself. With the help of Foggy Nelson, T’Challa established a base of operations for himself and gathered information as an everyday man. This also helped him to discover more about himself. Eventually, he returns to Wakanda and marries Storm.

Black Panther is actually a very intelligent man, with a PhD in Physics from Oxford University. He has a brilliant mind, being an excellent strategist, inventor and politician. Considered one of the eighth smartest people in the world as well, although he has been granted the knowledge and power of all previous Black Panthers, so you can’t help but feel as though this might be a curve ball somehow. However, I bet he’d love to come up with some new gadgets with Stark at some point, being an avid inventor and all.

Black Panther has been a member of the Illuminati. He initially didn’t want to form the group, but when they eventually did, they met in their own secluded building in Wakanda. T’Challa has been the point of tension within the Illuminati as well, over rivalries with Namor heating up over dead Wakandans.

Black Panther MCU

In the MCU, Chadwick Boseman takes on the mantle of Black Panther. We see him with his retractable claws and woven vibranium armour, kicking absolute ass. He has shown us amazing acrobatic skills, flips and tricks, and we’ve even been teased the Wakandas in the post-credit scene. With Ulysses Klaue already in the MCU, will any of his other villains crop up in his up-and-coming film, or do you think there might be more to it than that?

Black Panther is set for release in UK cinemas on 9th February 2018.


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