Considering that the Black Panther movie is still two years away, it's probably not the first movie on your radar, but it should be up there for sure. The Black Panther movie is slowly churning from ideas into reality, especially after the confirmation that Ryan Coogler will direct the movie. Coogler is most recently known for his work as the writer and director of Creed.
There is ultimately very little known about the solo movie for Black Panther, but we know that Chadwick Boseman will reprise his role as the titular character, T'Challa, after making his official cinematic debut in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) this May. We will likely begin seeing reports about casting calls and character descriptions start to filter through our newsfeed.
So who is Black Panther?
Black Panther has a long and rich history in Marvel Comics, spanning nearly 50 years. The Black Panther is ultimately a title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe, in the highly advanced African nation known as Wakanda. Ultimately, the Panther is hereditary, but it still must be earned through combat.
Wakanda, in the comics, is known for its vast storehouse of the vibration-absorbing mineral, Vibranium. The king at the time, T'Chaka, decided that outsiders would seek to exploit Wakanda for the resource, so he concealed his country from the rest of the world. When T'Chaka was murdered by Ulysses Klaw in an attempt to seize the vibranium, T'Challa (still young) used Klaw's own weapon against him. The sound weapon shattered Klaw's right hand and forced him to flee.
T'Challa, being too young to lead the nation, waited for his chance to earn the title. He trained himself for years with one purpose in mind, revenge against Klaw. Until he was ready, his uncle S'yan had passed the rituals and became the Black Panther. While his uncle reigned, T'Challa left Wakanda to study abroad in Europe and America, gaining a Ph.D in Physics from Oxford University. After returning, T'Challa earned the title and attributes of the Black Panther by defeating several champions of the Wakanda tribes. During this test, T'Challa had the juice of an herb (mutated by the vibranium) applied to his skin which ultimately enhanced his body to near superhuman levels.
T'Challa saw the need to establish his country as a global leader in technology, so he pushed for more knowledge and power and technological advancement, leading Wakanda to become a powerhouse nation that chose to remain neutral through many conflicts. T'Challa himself is considered one of the eight smartest people on the planet, which only aids Wakanda in being known as one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.
What stories could we see in the movie?
Throughout the comics, The Black Panther has teamed up with the Fantastic Four, married Orora Monroe (Storm) from the X-Men, partnered with Daredevil in Hell's Kitchen, fought with Namor and all of Atlantis, faced off against Iron-Man in the Civil War, joined the Avengers and formed the Illuminati. So, saying that there is a plethora of stories to pick from is a slight understatement. Black Panther has been involved in so many stories over the years, but some of the stories involving the X-Men or the Fantastic Four are off the table due to the various film rights held by other studios, which likely means we won't see Namor pop up in the film either.
Most likely we will see this movie stick to the solo-adventures of Black Panther, which makes sense since we will have already seen him pop up in Captain America: Civil War. We should see a great deal of the movie focus on the advancement of T'Challa as well as Wakanda itself, seeing as it could potentially have a large part to play in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity Wars films, if they follow the story line that I think they will.
So, if they're going to focus on Wakanda and Black Panther's story, it leads us to wonder:
Who is the main villain in the Black Panther movie?
There are a few characters that stick out in my mind, as being big enough to take a large antagonistic role in the Black Panther movie. I'm sure we will see a bit of Ulysses Klaw as he truly is a large part of why and how T'Challa becomes the Black Panther. Aside from Klaw though, who else could we see?
My Suggested Casting: Kevin Grevioux
Man-Ape, previously known as M'Baku was one of Wakanda's greatest warriors, second only to T'Challa. While T'Challa was away, M'Baku defied the throne in an attempt to usurp the title from T'Challa he revived the White Gorilla cult which had been outlawed. M'Baku personally stalked and killed a rare white gorilla before bathing in its blood and eating its flesh, which imbued M'Baku with the great strength of the white gorilla.
M'Baku challenged the Black Panther for the right to rule Wakanda, deploring the technological revitalization that T'Challa had brought. M'Baku sought to return the nation to its 'natural' primitivism. The pair fought countless times in the comics with neither gaining a defining victory.
My Suggested Casting: Scott Adkins
The adoptive brother of T'Challa, Hunter, grew to love Wakanda after his parents died in a plane crash early in his life. After the birth of T'Challa, Hunter grew to have a deep jealousy for his younger brother, knowing that he would be the one to claim the throne and the mantle of the Black Panther. Hunter was driven by his jealousy of T'Challa and tried to be the best Wakandan he could be; regardless of his white heritage.
His fervor was noticed by T'Chaka, and Hunter was appointed as the leader of Wakanda's secret police (Hatut Zeraze), and from that point on Hunter was known as White Wolf. After the assassination of T'Chaka, when T'Challa took reign of Wakanda, his first action was to disband the Hatut Zeraze because of their brutality and exile them from Wakanda. Although the two never actually battle in the comics, it would be an easy shift to alter their relationship for the sake of the movie.
My Suggested Casting: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
N'Jadaka was exiled from Wakanda after his father was pressed into working for Klaw. When Klaw fled, N'Jadaka and his family ended up in Harlem, New York where he developed a hatred for Wakanda. N'Jadaka legally changed his name to Erik Killmonger and became highly educated, earning a Ph.D in Engineering and an MBA at M.I.T. Eventually N'Jadaka feigned remorse and was welcomed back to Wakanda. Once he settled back into his village, he began his plot to undermine T'Challa's government, seeking to usurp the entire kingdom of Wakanda.
Killmonger supplied his village with advanced weaponry in his attempt at a Wakandan revolution and independence. He also took a synthetic version of the same herb that gave T'Challa his superhuman abilities which endowed Killmonger with similar attributes. Adding Killmonger would be an easy way to tie the movie together considering his hatred for both T'Challa and Klaw.
Ultimately, the movie is two years away, so there is a lot still to be speculated on, but it's slowly gaining momentum and looks to be a blockbuster hit when it does finally arrive.