ByTom Bacon, writer at Creators.co
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

It's an exciting time to be a Marvel fan! Even as we celebrate the box office success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we can look forward to the next thrilling instalments in the ongoing story of the MCU. Take, for example, next year's Black Panther. The story of T'Challa becoming the King of Wakanda and fighting to save his country from a horde of usurpers and international threats promises to be like nothing we've seen from the MCU before.

Indeed, EW have chosen Black Panther as the cover story for their highly anticipated annuel SDCC preview issue. As part of their coverage, they've just released some stunning new images from the film, giving us an in-depth look into Wakanda's key figures.

The Cast Assemble

The ruling class. [Credit: K Alston, Marvel Studios, Entertainment Weekly.]
The ruling class. [Credit: K Alston, Marvel Studios, Entertainment Weekly.]

This image shows some of the greatest heroes of Wakanda — and perhaps its greatest threat. Captain America: Civil War saw the tragic death of T'Challa's father, and now it's his responsibility to take the throne. Unfortunately, the members of the royal family pictured are about to go through a time of great instability. Wakandan insurgents are launching a dark, dangerous conspiracy that will threaten T'Challa's rule, and will pit the Black Panther against members of his own household.

A Ritual Duel

A duel in 'Black Panther' [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]
A duel in 'Black Panther' [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]

This photo shows Warrior Falls, a holy place in Wakanda, and we can see Chadwick Boeseman's T'Challa in what seems to be ritual combat against Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger. In the comics, there's an annual tradition that the Black Panther should host a sort of "trial by combat," with any Wakandan given the chance to face him in battle; if the challenger is victorious, they can take up the mantle of the Black Panther. It's possible this scene shows Killmonger in the arena, explaining why the Dora Milaje are stood watching.

The Mystery Of Killmonger

Killmonger [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]
Killmonger [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]

Look closely at Killmonger, and you can see that his torso is covered with strange scars. Executive Producer Nate Moore told EW that this is a mystery he'd like to keep for now, suggesting they're an important part of the character's MCU backstory. EW notes that the raised pattern resembles the scar tattoos of Ethiopia's Mursi and Surma tribes.

One of the most exciting things abut Black Panther is that the film embraces diversity in so many different ways. Women are figures of power in the Black Panther comics, and that's especially true of the Dora Milaje, T'Challa's fierce warrior guards. Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia promises to be a particularly important character, as she's essentially an undercover operative travelling the world to protect Wakanda and hunt the nation's enemies. Several of EW's new images show her joining the Dora Milaje in ceremonial garb.

EW reports that there are romantic sparks between Nakia and T'Challa, but her globe-trotting has always come between the two. She seems to be a close friend of the family, standing in guard of his sister Shuri.

A Mystical Aspect To The Film

Zuri [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]
Zuri [Credit: T. Kennedy / Marvel Studios, via EW]

Every Marvel movie has a subtly different style, and Black Panther looks set to be a political thriller — a genre Marvel's already seen real success in, given fan and critic reception for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. For all that's the case, Forest Whitaker's Zuri promises to add a mystical element to the movie, acting as a shaman and trusted adviser.

These images give us a tantalizing glimpse of the world of Wakanda, an African nation that has been hidden from the rest of the MCU for generations. Now, the secrets of Wakanda are about to be unveiled. We can safely assume that we're going to learn a lot more about Black Panther in Marvel's panel at SDCC, and we here at Movie Pilot will keep you in the loop!

Are you looking forward to Black Panther? Let me know in the comments!

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

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