Chadwick Boseman nailed it as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and fans are desperately awaiting to see more of him in action. After the introduction of the Black Panther in the MCU and the new Black Panther movie on its way, I think it’s an appropriate time to get educated on Wakanda and its heritage.
Check out Black Panther in action in a scene from Captain America: Civil War:
In the comics, Wakanda is a small nation in Africa. It was inhabited by a group of primitive tribes around 10,000 years ago. During this time, a vibranium meteor fell in its vicinity. One of the tribes, led by a man named Bashenga, investigated it, believing it to be a gift from the gods. The tribe decided to forge the metal into weapons, however the radiation it emitted mutated some of the tribesmen, altering their DNA and making them lose control. Bashenga prayed to the gods to grant him the strength to defeat these "Demon Spirits," thus becoming the first Black Panther. He closed the vibranium mound from outsiders and formed the Black Panther Cult, whose duty was to guard it from intruders. The radiation also affected the flora there, creating the Heart-Shaped Herb that grants its consumer with enhanced strength, agility, and perception.
The Wakandans’ religion can be classified as African primal-indigenous. The leader of the Panther cult is called the Black Panther. He is the ruler of the country and the chief of its various tribes. A chosen Black Panther is also granted the use of the Heart-Shaped Herb.
The people of Wakanda have ties to African gods called the Ennead. They mainly worship the two deities Bast and Sekhmet. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet is the goddess of fire, war and medicine, whereas Bast is the goddess of cats, protection, joy, music and family.
In the comics, Sekhmet has the alias "Lion God." He is a fearsome warrior and owns Khopesh swords and a Totem stick as his main weapons. Bast is one of the eldest of the Ennead and is known as the Panther God. Black Panthers believe that they’re connected to Bast and derive power from her support.
What Does This Mean For The MCU?
The upcoming Black Panther movie could show these spiritual roots — and include several already known MCU characters — while explaining the origin of the Black Panther. With Doctor Strange and Iron Fist coming too, Marvel might be shifting its path from scientific experiments and technology to mysticism and magic. This means that we might get a lot of enchantment and supernatural entities in Phase 3 of the MCU.