In a year of some massive Marvel movies, one has gone under the radar for some time: Black Panther. Production recently began on the film, and while not much has been said of the plot, a new synopsis gives a little insight into the upcoming conflict T'Challa a.k.a. #BlackPanther will face in his feature film.
Here's the synopsis for Black Panther:
'Black Panther' follows T’Challa who, after the events of 'Captain America: Civil War,' returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.”
Apart from the recently released synopsis, the confirmation of Andy Serkis reprising his role of Ulysses S. Klaue doesn't come as a surprise. In #Marvel comics, Klaue is one of Black Panther's greatest adversaries, and seeing as how the MCU's version of Klaue had his arm ripped off in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, that maiming will likely set Klaue down a path that sees him become identical to his comic book counterpart.
Klaue (Andy Serkis) And Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) Are The Villains Of Black Panther
Now that we know Klaue (#AndySerkis) is joining Black Panther, we should assume Klaue will find some common footing with another villain: Michael B. Jordan is playing the lead villain.
In the comics, #Killmonger comes to blows with T'Challa on many occasions over reigning control of Wakanda. Killmonger thinks he can do better than T'Challa and challenges him for the right to be king more than once.
The #MCU version of Killmonger is posed as an exile who'll attempt to wrestle the crown from T'Challa. We can assume Killmonger will bring with him resources that he can use to usurp T'Challa, which could inevitably lead to Ulysses S. Klaue being hired by Killmonger. Klaue is a mercenary for hire, so if Killmonger is offering him money to help him break into Wakanda, Klaue probably won't refuse.
Klaue has experience infiltrating #Wakanda, so he would be useful to Killmonger if he's attempting to overthrow the king of Wakanda. There's no certainty of Killmonger and Klaue becoming allies against T'Challa, but considering both are guaranteed enemies of Black Panther, they may find some common ground in their attempt to become the new rulers of Wakanda.
Martin Freeman Returning As Everett Ross For 'Black Panther'
Apart from Killmonger and Klaue, recent Black Panther news also indicated Martin Freeman is returning to reprise his role of Everett Ross. Ross was last seen studying Baron Zemo as he was being locked away in Captain America: Civil War.
Everett Ross probably doesn't have any jurisdiction in Wakanda, which draws into question why he'd be present for Black Panther. Whatever the reason is, he'll likely be there alongside T'Challa as he takes over duties of king and representative of Wakanda.
T'Chaka (John Kani) Returns From The Grave, Sorta
In another surprising announcement, the new press release revealed John Kani would return to play T'Chaka in Black Panther. Kani briefly played King T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War and is reprising his role of T'Chaka despite his early death. T'Chaka will only be present in a flashback sequence so there's no resurrection happening.
On top of the reveal of T'Chaka (John Kani) returning for Black Panther, a number of other characters were recently revealed in the press release, which included vague one-line descriptions for each confirmed character.
Here's the remaining cast list and their character details:
N'Jobu will be played by actor Sterling K. Brown. N'Jobu is said to be a figure from T'Challa's past who'll come to light in the present day. Sterling K. Brown is known for his work on the FX series, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson.
There's no comic book inspiration for N'Jobu, so he could fill the role of any number of known characters from Marvel Comics. The most plausible identity will like be someone along the lines of N'Baza. In the comics, N'Baza is a witch doctor and close confidant of past king, T'Chanda, grandfather to T'Challa.
Some might remember the fight that almost happened between Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Black Widow during Captain America: Civil War when Black Widow attempted to get an audience with T'Challa. Ayo stepped in and offered to move Black Widow — and would have probably been one of the best scenes in the film — but that didn't happen.
However, Florence Kasumba is returning as Ayo in the upcoming Black Panther. She'll once again be standing by T'Challa's side, only this time she'll have the duty of protecting the King of Wakanda when he's not in his Panther suit.
Okoye will also be alongside Ayo as part of the Dora Milaje. The Dora Milaje are a harem of valets / bodyguards for the King of Wakanda. Okoye will be played by The Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira.
As another member of the Dora Milaje, Nakia will also have a role in the upcoming Black Panther — Lupita N'Yong'o is playing Nakia in the film. N'Yong'o was recently in Queen of Katwe.
As for her part in Black Panther, details on her character indicate Nakia is a member of the Dora Milaje alongside Ayo and Okoye. This means T'Challa is going to be surrounded by a group of female bodyguards, whom we can expect to be a major help to T'Challa when he comes face to face with Erik Killmonger, Ulysses S. Klaue, and M'Baku, otherwise known as Man-Ape.
Winston Duke is sidelining as the co-villain of Black Panther alongside Erik Killmonger. Man-Ape will be leading a rival faction in Wakanda, attempting to oppose T'Challa's rule, so he'll likely have similar endeavors to Erik Killmonger.
Killmonger will be busy attempting to overthrow T'Challa, meaning M'Baku a.k.a. Man-Ape probably has his own interests in mind, so we could see M'Baku, T'Challa, and Erik Killmonger enter a fight to the death for reigning control over Wakanda. Two of them want control while one fights to retain the throne that rightfully belongs to him, so a competition could be exactly what's in store for them.
Another surprise addition to Black Panther came in the form of Angela Bassett. Bassett will play Ramonda, T'Challa's mother. What's unclear about Ramonda is her current status in the MCU. We don't know if she's currently dead or alive, but in the scenario of Ramonda being dead, her presence in Black Panther will likely be limited to the flashback sequence with T'Chaka (John Kani).
On the other side of that, Ramonda's presence could be exactly what T'Challa needs to help him stay calm in a time of many conflicts. We should remember that T'Challa just became king so the reassuring presence of his mother would definitely be a key motivator in T'Challa's fight to save Wakanda.
Forest Whitaker was also recently added to the cast list of Black Panther as Zuri. Zuri is said to be an ally to T'Chaka — the previous king of Wakanda — but now Zuri will lend his counsel to the new king, T'Challa. Zuri's assistance will definitely come in handy when T'Challa fights both Killmonger and Man-Ape on two different fronts.
Who Else Might Join The Cast Of Black Panther?
Those are all the confirmed cast for Black Panther, so far. Stay tuned for more updates and new reveals, though the news of Sebastian Stan making an appearance shouldn't be far off, either.
Sebastian Stan is known for playing Bucky Barnes in the MCU and was last seen being cryogenically frozen in Wakanda during Captain America: Civil War. Barnes might not have a reason to enter the conflict-ridden Wakanda during Black Panther, but T'Challa may resort to waking Bucky up prematurely if he's surrounded by adversaries he can't take on by himself.
Bucky's release in Black Panther could also play into his impending appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. Bucky is going to have come out of cryogenic stasis eventually, why not in Black Panther? For now, let's hope there'll be an epic team-up between Black Panther and a newly armed Bucky Barnes.
Black Panther premieres February 16, 2018. What do you think of this all-star cast?