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Marvel’s Black Panther hits theaters Friday and judging by the pre-sale ticket numbers (over $180 million) it’s evident that it’s going to be the company’s heaviest hitter to date. The main reason being that in addition to fanatic comic book nerds, Black Panther has caught the attention of an audience that’s unlike the typical Marvel fanbase.

Everyday Black folks are onboard this time around and it’s exciting to see so many of us taking part in a universe that has entertained Black Panther’s core fans for the past 52 years.

Black Panther boasts a predominantly Black cast, another reason why it has resonated so strongly within our community. There’s a mix of young and older Black Hollywood actors, making BP the first superhero film to have Black characters who aren’t just sidekicks or back-up to a dominant White hero.

In fact, the main characters in Black Panther break every stereotypical rule in Tinseltown. Here we have beautiful characters of beautiful talents with beautiful minds. Flaws and all.

If you haven’t already, it’s strongly suggested that you watch the Captain America: Civil War movie. It introduces Black Panther and will catch you up on his character’s history.

The Background

Years ago, a meteor crashed into the earth landing in Wakanda. After an investigation, it turned out that the space rock was made up of an indestructible material called Vibranium. This is the same material later used to create Captain America’s shield in the United States.

The Wakandan discovery of vibranium led to the hyper-advancement of the country’s civilization. In a short amount of time, Wakanda became a society that looked like something out of Star Wars. All this while the rest of the world was continued at its normal pace. Just like in real life, the world’s wolves came out attempting to get their hands on it. Internal struggles emerged and this is where our hero T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) comes in to restore order and protect the homeland.

As far as the other characters in the Wakandan forefront, here’s who they are and how they relate to the Black Panther character.

Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)


T’Challa is the sole ruler and protector of Wakanda. Because of the world wanting in on the vibranium trade, T’Challa must break the country’s self-isolation and regulate Wakanda’s relationship with the globe. Not only is Black Panther a hero of might, he’s also one of diplomacy.

Ramonda (Angela Bassett)

Ramonda is Black Panther’s mom. In the comic she died giving birth to him, but it looks like things have changed in the movie. Maybe, Ramonda will be in a series of flashbacks? We’ll have to see what happens.

T’Chaka (John Kani)

We saw John in the last Captain America movie as T’Challa’s dad. It’s his fate that drives Black Panther to become a superhero.

Shuri (Letitia Wright)

Part of the royal family, Shuri is T’Challa’s sister and next in line to become the next Black Panther in the event the current one isn’t able to. This isn’t an easy task, as becoming Black Panther is no easy feat. Shuri has been training feverishly for when the day comes.

Erik Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan)

The Creed star plays Black Panther’s rival. Erik is an economic mastermind who blames the death of his parents on T’Challa’s lack of leadership. Kilmonger’s plan is to completely destroy the Wakandan economy and take over.

W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya)

Daniel goes from victim in Get Out to Black Panther’s second in command. Think of him as the Vice President of Wakanda and major strategist in T’Challa’s armada.

Okoye (Danai Gurira)

Okoye is part of Black Panther’s elite security team Dora Milaje and designated driver. Highly skilled in warfare and military operations, Okoye is BP’s warhammer and one of his many betrothed.

Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)

Lupita’s complex character Nakia is also a member of Dora Milaje who at an early age, became obsessed with T’Challa. Nakia trained hard and joined Dora Milaje at 14 and grew the rest of her teens in the Royal Palace of Wakanda. Her character may have changed completely for the movie though.

Ayo (Florence Kasumba)

One of the most fascinating characters in the Black Panther universe, Ayo (in the comic) played a pivotal role in Wakandan politics. Ayo left Dora Milaje in an effort to reform the Wakandan laws regarding women. If the movie’s version of Ayo is anything close to the comic’s version, Ayo will surely be the new face of Black Girl Magic.

N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown)

The “This is Us” star’s character doesn’t exist in the comic book series but rumor has it that N’Jobu will be a part of Black Panther’s past. I’d expect N’Jobu to appear in flashbacks but not much in the present-day part of the movie.

M’Baku (Winston Duke)

M’Baku holds the title of the second most powerful warrior in Wakanda after T’Challa. He’s also the biggest hater as he believes that he should be ruler and the country should abandon all of their technological advances. M’Baku wants to go back to the old, iron-fisted ways of government.

As a reminder, there will be changes to some of the character storylines from the comic to make it more Hollywood friendly. Hopefully not so much that the Black Panther characters lose what make their already established personalities great. Either way, it’s a win-win for Black superheroes.

PHOTOS: Marvel Studios









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2 thoughts on “A Viewer’s Guide To ‘Black Panther’

  1. This writer has apparently never seen spawn, hancock or any of the blade trilogy…”making BP the first superhero film to have Black characters who aren’t just sidekicks or back-up to a dominant White hero.”

    can’t wait for shuri to condescend to tony stark in the next avengers movie like she did to dr banner in infinity war. Got to love how much ego black America has right now. they really find it plausible for a country of only black people to have basically alien levels of technology, to where they are laughing at bullets. but still be run in some super fucked up tribal law bull shit that would honestly be the most chaotic way to run a government ever. Could you imagine if America was run this way…you become president by assassinating the previous one?

    But yeah black people if not for all the evil whites you would be able to cure spinal injuries like magic, laugh at bullets and know exactly how to program an experimental one of a kind android you have never seen before. That by the way was made from fusing the most advanced artificial intelligence on the planet to an alien power source inside of a cybernetic body created by the other most advanced artificial intelligence on the planet and the leading biochemist on the planet. by two men who have spent their entire lives one building robots the other dealing with power sources…

    but yeah shuri totally figured that shit out instantaneously. to the point where she says “I’m sure you did your best.”, to the point where dr banner feels like it’s better to just leave it to her RATHER THAN HELP HER! even though he helped create the god damned thing…it’s just ludicrously offensively condescending but she is a black character so people cheer.

    So again, what i’m being asked to believe is she is RIDICULOUSLY smarter then a team consisting of not just leaders in their field. but one of a kind geniuses in the fields of robotics, radiation, biochemistry, and two A.I. connected to the internet…shrui finds that to be childsplay…but then again she can make an entire bullet proof suit come out of a tiny necklace that’s better then the iron man armor to the point where iron man adopts that tech for his suit in infinity war. That’s how full of yourselves you are. I’m just holding up a mirror.

  2. Think about THIS!
    Young children [African American] are relating to this movie in a way that gives them pride seeing characters that are African American be heros. This is all [the more reason] to never again patronize movies that contain the n-word-drug dealing-and even crime in our communities as these movies [are taken] as real and natural behavior of African American people in this [USA] country. FACT!

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