ByEileen McNulty-Holmes, writer at
Movie Pilot Editor. Queen of grammar and graphic novels. Tweets: @eileenamholmes
Eileen McNulty-Holmes

In the cavalcade of characters in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, it was hard to pick one stand-out character — but for many, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther stole every scene he was in. Between his awesome fight scenes and his surprisingly touching character development, by the time Marvel fans left theaters, we couldn't wait to visit Wakanda in the Black Panther movie.

We still have a while to wait until Marvel's Black Panther is released in February 2018 — but in the meantime, here's everything we know out T'Challa's first solo outing. Check back here for regular updates about Black Panter news and our first cinematic adventure into the land of Wakanda!

'Black Panther' News & Rumors

[Updated 04/21/2017] — Thanks to a tweet from Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman, we know that filming has wrapped on Black Panther.

The wrapping on principal photography follows an event earlier this week where members of the press got a first look at some Black Panther footage. Reportedly, highlights of the footage included the costumes, the blend of technology and tribalism, and the Dora Milaje. For those who need a refresher, the Dora Milaje are T'Challa's personal detail of ass-kicking guards, and they'll be brought to life in the movie by the likes of Star Wars's Lupita Nyong’o and The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira.

Speaking of Lupita Nyong'o, she posted a very cryptic photo of herself on Instagram a while back, which might relate to her role as Nakia in Black Panther. The picture features Nyong'o with purple goop slathered all over her; we assume this is so they can make a cast of her face. The only other role Nyong'o is currently prepping for is her reprisal of Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Last Jedi — Nyong'o is hooked up to a motion capture rig to bring Maz Kanata to life, and it's possible that a cast of her face is involved in this process. However, given the CGI-heavy nature of her Star Wars role and the fact that Black Panther is in the midst of filming, it seems more likely that this picture is a behind-the-scenes snap from the latter.

There are number of reasons why the Marvel crew might need a cast of Nyong'o. Chiefly, after being romantically spurned by T'Challa in the comics, Nakia is beaten and tortured by Black Panther villain Achebe. She's rescued by Erik Killmonger, and drawn into his plan to take down T'Challa for good. With Michael B. Jordan bringing Killmonger to life in the movie, it's possible we'll see a version of this storyline — and that this purple cast will be the basis for some gnarly prosthetics of an injured Nakia.

As an early Valentine's Day present for MCU fans, Marvel's Phase 3 preview was released online. Undoubtedly one of the preview's highlights is the plethora of Black Panther concept art, which gives us our first in-depth look at T'Challa's kingdom in the MCU.

'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]

The image feature a selection of different locations, from jungle to city, and all promise Wakanda will be like no other Marvel setting we've seen yet. Given our only experience of Wakanda thus far was the Captain America: Civil War post-credits scene, Ryan Coogler and co. have had almost unlimited freedom in bringing their vision of Wakanda to life — and it looks like they're taking full advantage of it. Check out more of the art below:

'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]
'Black Panther' Concept Art. [Credit: Marvel]

released our first official synopsis for Black Panther in January. In true Marvel fashion, the fate of the whole world will hang in the balance. However, the idea of T'Challa try to negotiate the roles of both hero and King at once promises something new from the House of Ideas:

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.

'Black Panther' Release Date

The Black Panther release date for the U.S. is February 16, 2018; filming began in late January 2017. The next movie after Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, is filming concurrently with Black Panther in Atlanta, but won't be released until May 2018. The double filming schedule means it's been difficult to decipher who from the Black Panther cast will return for Infinity War (but we hope it's pretty much all of them!)

'Black Panther' Trailer

With a full year left to go until Black Panther premieres, we still have a while to wait until we get to see a full Black Panther trailer. We'll likely see a trailer during 2017's summer blockbuster season; with Spider-Man: Homecoming aiming for a July 7 release date, we may see the Black Panther trailer attached to Spidey's theatrical release.

'Black Panther' Characters

- T'Challa / Black Panther - Often credited as the 'first mainstream black superhero', Black Panther has a been a mainstay of Marvel Comics since his first appearance back in 1966. In the MCU, we got our first look Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, which showed us a young ruler torn by grief and a lust for a revenge — complete with a truly badass clawed suit.

- Zuri - In the comics, Zuri was a loyal companion and warrior for T'Chaka, T'Challa's father and the former King of Wakanda. As you may recall, we saw T'Chaka's untimely death in Captain America: Civil War, so we can expect to see Zuri shook by this shocking death in Black Panther.

- W'Kabi -W'Kabi is another Black Panther character who's integral in the comics; he is T'Challa's Head of Security and second-in-command. He also has a pretty sweet bionic arm, which we're dying to see in the MCU. Winter Soldier, eat your heart out!

- Nakia & Okoye - Nakia and Okoye are both members of the Dora Milaje; an ancient order who once served as wives-in-training for the King of Wakanda. These days, the Dora Milaje have evolved to become the Black Panther's deadliest and most kickass warriors. Black Widow's got nothing on these women.

- Everett Ross - First appearing in Captain America: Civil War, Ross is the Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre. In the comics, Ross is an envoy to T'Challa on his Stateside visits, and becomes a dearly trusted friend. Although his job title may have changed, we hope to see Ross get into some comics-inspired hijinks (such as that time in Black Panther #3 where a particularly disastrous day ended in Ross pants-less in a strip club).

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue. [Credit: Marvel]
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue. [Credit: Marvel]

- Ulysses Klaue - Klaue's last MCU appearance saw him lose an arm in a skuffle with Ultron. A shady arms dealer and smuggler, Klaue stole large amounts of Vibranium from the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda — and he has a long-standing blood feud with the Wakandan royal family.

- Erik Killmonger - With a name like that, I probably don't need to tell you that Erik Killmonger isn't one of the good guys. Born as N'Jadaka, Killmonger isn't your average supervillain; indeed, one of his motives for taking over Wakanda is to rid it of its 'white colonialist' influences and restore its ancient culture. Killmonger is both a physical and mental match for T'Challa — he once even managed to best T'Challa in battle, and claim the Black Panther mantle as his own.

- Ramonda - Ramonda is the wife of T'Chaka and the stepmother of T'Challa. Unfortunately, Ramonda was widowed after T'Chaka's tragic death in Captain America: Civil War.

- N'Jobu - Not a name recognizable from the comics, N'Jobu is described as a 'figure from T'Challa's past'. We can't wait to see how this mysterious figure fits into the history of The Black Panther.

'Black Panther' Cast

Perhaps the most critically lauded aspect of the movie so far, the Black Panther cast reads like a who's-who of black acting talent today. Marvel's always been known for seducing A-list talent into their corner (Anthony Hopkins and Cate Blanchett, for example), but the Black Panther cast is there most impressive ensemble yet. Expect big things!

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa. [Credit: Marvel]
Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa. [Credit: Marvel]

- Chadwick Boseman - After his pitch-perfect performance in Captain America: Civil War, Boseman will return to play Black Panther once more. If you want another sample of Boseman's acting chops before Black Panther hits theaters, I'd heartily recommend his turn as a young Jackie Robinson in 42.

- Forest Whitaker - An Oscar-winning Walk of Fame inductee, Whitaker needs no introduction. His performance in The Last King of Scotland won him no less than twenty-eight major awards; Whitaker was most recently seen bringing rebel extremist Saw Gerrara to life in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

- Angela Bassett- Another actor who requires no introduction, Bassett has a long history on-screen, which has won her a Golden Globe, and nominations for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. Best known for biopics, Bassett has played Tina Turner, Rosa Parks, and Betty Shabazz, among others. Recently, Bassett has appeared in four seasons of American Horror Story, most notably taking our breath away as voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

- Lupita Nyong'o - The second Academy Award winner on this list, Nyong'o captured hearts and minds across the world with her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years A Slave. The nerdier folk among you might also recognize her as the actor behind Maz Kanata's giant goggles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

- Michael B. Jordan - Fantastic 4 aside, Jordan has had a fantastic couple of years, starring in Fruitvale Station, Chronicle and Creed. Jordan will be continuing his superhero movie streak when he appears as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther.

- Danai Gurira - Most well-known for playing Michonne on The Walking Dead, Gurira is also a highly decorated stage actress, activist, and writer of the Tony Award-winning play Eclipsed. As her time on The Walking Dead proves, Gurira will fit right in with the deadly and badass ladies of the Dora Milaje.

- Martin Freeman - A name known by every nerd, Freeman is known for playing Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit Trilogy, and Dr. Watson on the BBC adaptation of Sherlock. He also played Lester Nygaard in the critically acclaimed Fargo.

Sterling K. Brown. [Credit: FX]
Sterling K. Brown. [Credit: FX]

- Sterling K. Brown - Fresh from winning an Emmy for his star-making turn in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Brown will be portraying the mysterious N'Jobu.

- Andy Serkis - The man behind 1,000 CGI creations, if you don't know Serkis's name, you've certainly seen him before. He's brought to life characters such as Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movies.

- Daniel Kaluuya - Having appeared in 2015's Sicario and the critically acclaimed British drama Babylon, Kaluuya joins the Black Panther cast as T'Challa's right-hand-man.

- Phylicia Rashad (Rumored) - A household name thanks to her iconic maternal role on The Cosby Show, Rashad has enjoyed an illustrious career on stage and screen — and might be about to add Black Panther to her resume. Sterling K. Brown recently stated:

"I just worked with Chad [Boseman] on a film called 'Marshall,' about Thurgood Marshall. He’s such a talented human being and a deep soul... He’s the perfect personality to fully inhabit T’Challa. So, to rejoin him, and to work with Academy Award winners… to be with Michael B. Jordan after the incredible work he’s done in 'Creed.' Danai Gurira, Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker — like, it’s embarrassing. I’m good at what I do — I don’t try to do any sort of false modesty — but, ‘Wow! I get to be with all of you people!?!'"

Regardless of the verity of this rumor, Sterling K. Brown fanboy-ing all over the place about the phenomenal cast is all of us.

'Black Panther' Theories

Black Panther and Erik Killmonger. [Credit: Marvel]
Black Panther and Erik Killmonger. [Credit: Marvel]

The plot outline's been released, the villains are confirmed, and the stage is pretty much set for our long-overdue foray into the world of Black Panther. Still, there's a few Black Panther theories out there, hoping to clear up some of the more nebulous aspects of the film:

Watch 'Black Panther' Online

Since Black Panther won't hit theaters for another year, we're going to have to cruelly dash your hopes as you won't be able to watch Black Panther online any time soon. However, given the wide range of Marvel movies currently available on Netflix, we anticipate Black Panther will eventually end up joining its MCU counterparts in the streaming behemoth's portfolio.

So, between two major villains, royal drama, some undoubtedly kickass fight scenes and the most award-winning ensemble Marvel has probably ever assembled, Black Panther is shaping up to be one of the most promising films the MCU has ever produced. Be sure to check back here for all of the latest updates, right until 2018 finally arrives and the universe bestows glorious gift of Black Panther upon us all.


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