Marvel's [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) is rightfully tearing up the box office at present, in no small part to the great buzz generated by one of its newcomers. T'Challa/The Black Panther as played by Chadwick Boseman.
Not only does Boseman manage to give his character a sense of depth but also outshine some of the more traditionally "great" actors in the film.
- Black Panther: Movie News, Rumors, Trailer, Release Date & All You Need To Know
Here we're gonna talk in some depth about his arc, the part he plays going forward and answer the question that everyone is asking... "Is T'Challa now at the mercy of the Sokovia Accords too?"
This means Spoilers... HEAVY Spoilers, so if you've not seen it yet, move on or read on at your peril. At the end of the day, you've more than had an opportunity to see it if it means THAT much... so no hate posts please if you happen to read something you don't like to know.
When we meet T'Challa, he is the Crown Prince of Wakanda and it is clear there is some tension between he and his father, King T'Chaka about the accords and the best way forward. It is clear that T'Challa is ALREADY the Black Panther at this point as his father is clearly too old to fulfil the role, and has some concerns that if identified, he too would be forced to operate under the Sokovia Accords.
Why would this be a problem for him and his father?
Simply put, The Black Panther is a role of protector of Wakanda and her interests traditionally. T'Challa will have inherited this responsibility having being brought up to believe this strongly, as his father did, that Wakanda comes first and the Panther must do whatever is necessary to ensure their nation and people's safety.
In the MCU, things have changed VERY recently for Wakanda, with the events of Age Of Ultron and the use of Vibranium (of which they are the sole legal supplier) in the Sokovia incident causing somewhat of an international incident in itself.
While the Vibranium was stolen, scrutiny would now be brought to bear and very quickly a scenario where Wakanda was sanctioned by the UN could emerge (or a play made by other governments to force the sharing of Vibranium) so King T'Chaka had to change policy.
The Wakandan's inadvertently killed by Scarlet Witch were missionaries, sent to help integrate their nations ways and rebuild trust. Indeed the first time we meet father and son, there is clearly some form of concern on T'Challa's part, that his fathers "diplomacy", while being the path of least resistance, could be setting Wakanda up for a fall.
Indeed, there is very likely a concern that The Black Panther idea itself could be forced into the hands of the United Nations, rather than being the Wakandan hero and this would not sit well with T'Challa.
Yet, he does his duty as Crown Prince and as a son and supports his father visibly at the signing of the accords, and tragically, recognizes the danger too late to save him.
From that moment, T'Challa begins a solo quest for vengeance that clearly would contravene the Accords themselves, to murder Bucky Barnes and very consciously unmasks in front of the world, in effect creating his nightmare scenario.
Yet when he is "arrested" he is offered an office by Everett Ross rather than a "cell", he has the option to ride with Rogers and Barnes rather than, as protocol would expect that all 3 would be "taken in separately".
For a supposed "criminal" T'Challa has an unprecedented freedom? Why is this?
The Black Panther may be considered an "enhanced" or "Costumed Vigilante" yet as a member of a Royal Family and now sitting monarch, T'Challa would enjoy legal impunity in nearly all cases.
It would not be in the US or any other nations interest to criminalize the man who controls supply of vibranium and any attempt to do so by an overzealous law enforcement officer or politician would be shut down. T'Challa is never arrested because he can't be... he's a visiting dignitary in effect and can literally do whatever he likes globally without consequence.
In the world of Marvel and comics in general this is not a new idea. Why is Victor Von Doom never arrested? Because he is ruler of a country, and diplomatic immunity would apply there too. Lucia Von Bardas was also part of this, after all the Americans helped get her elected...that she turned out to be nuts would be on them. It has also applied to Namor The Submariner and Aquaman at various points.
In the MCU, two names come immediately to mind. Thor and Loki. Although Asgard is another planet in effect, they too would in effect have that benefit. It is why Loki was allowed to be taken back to Asgard rather than punished here and why they are so concerned that Thor has "disappeared" around the time of Civil War and the Accords as he's the one Avenger they legally couldn't force the accords to apply to, until T'Challa shows up.
When this is brought into mind, the post credit scene of Steve Rogers and T'Challa talking back in Wakanda makes far more sense, especially T'Challa's "Let them try..." line. As a King, he can offer sanctuary to whomever he pleases, and the only way the Americans, UN or anyone else could try to get the fugitive Avengers would be invasion, in itself a politically suicidal situation.
Where Does This Take The Black Panther Movie?
It is clear some element of origin story will become part of that film, but the most likely plot-line will be some kind of attempt to get those Avengers from Wakanda by the US.
Everett Ross is traditionally a Black Panther supporting character, however in the MCU, it seems he may be the replacement for Thunderbolt Ross.
His baiting of Zemo, almost reversing Bruce Banner shows he's not the most stable guy already, and he's a perfect candidate to put together a team of Thunderbolts to go into Wakanda (and perhaps even become a certain Red Hulk) to get our heroes.
It is clear there will be consequences that affect the whole of the MCU and Wakanda is a hot spot that a war, even one engineered from afar by Thanos could weaken the Earth, ready for Infinity War.
With regards to the Accords themselves, Black Panther is not an Avenger, and the accords seemed to apply only to them. Even if he was however, his regal status would immediately mean he could operate outside of the accords if Wakandan interests were threatened. He might be censured for it, but the UN couldn't actually DO a thing to him, only sanction his country or declare war on it, not an appealing proposition against the wealthiest, most tech savvy and vibranium powered nation in the world.
In Civil War, the MCU has set up it's most intriguing hero yet. He already walks to the beat of his own drum, will fight and show a sense of justice and fairness and will not be bullied or cowed. His solo movie is going to be a lot of fun, but it's likely to also be very political.