(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit entirely theoretical - SPOILERS for 2018's Black Panther solo movie, as well as definite ones for past movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Proceed with whatever level of caution your panther god-heightened senses suggest to you is wise...)
Now, for a pointedly interconnected cinematic universe, the MCU sure has embraced a whole lot of genres in its eight years of existence. From the Star Wars-like space-adventure of Guardians of the Galaxy all the way through to the heist comedy stylings of Ant-Man, the conspiracy thriller-like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the supernatural acid-trip that is this fall's Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios has always been willing to push the envelope of what a superhero movie can be.
That, though, inevitably begs the question of which genres are coming next for Marvel. Spider-Man: Homecoming, for instance, looks certain to be a teen comedy hidden beneath a veneer of superheroism, while Thor: Ragnarok has the appearance of a light-hearted buddy comedy... with a Hulk. What, though, of 2018's pre-eminent panther-related superhero adventure?
What New Genre Is Marvel Set To Explore In Black Panther?
After all, with an increasingly ridiculously talented cast, the possibilities for what Black Panther could throw at us are seemingly endless.
Want to read more about Black Panther's insanely talented cast? Check out:
- The 'Civil War' Character We're Probably Going To See In 'Black Panther' (Is Not Who You Think)
- How 'Black Panther' Could Redefine Superhero Movies Forever
- 'Black Panther': What You Need To Know About The Dora Milaje, Including Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia
Here, then, are five of the most intriguing genres that Black Panther's remarkable cast could soon bring to the MCU. First up?
5. Pulp Adventure Panther
Now, while Black Panther may have first appeared in the pages of the loosely-science-themed Fantastic Four, many of T'Challa's earliest solo adventures took on more of a 'pulp' theme, having as much in common with the classic pulp novels of the 1930s as with the superhero comic-books of the 1970s. Heck, his first solo comic was even named Jungle Action. One of the most intriguing arguments in favor of such an approach, though? BP's first solo story was a thirteen issue epic featuring the leopard-befriending Erik Killmonger as its lead villain. Which, seeing as Michael B. Jordan will be bringing Killmonger to the screen in Black Panther, might just be the exact plot-line that Marvel (and director Ryan Coogler) are already planning on adapting.
Alternatively, though, we could well see:
4. Family Drama Panther
After all, much of Black Panther's comic-book history has been defined by his relationships with his family, and in particular his step-mother Ramonda, his sister Shuri, and his adopted brother Hunter, The White Wolf (above). Should those characters all turn up in the movie, then it's entirely possible that we'll see Marvel Studios embrace a far more intimate tone than has yet been seen in the MCU. That, after all, was a large part of what made Coogler's Creed so appealing - it's ability to blend frenetic boxing action with genuinely affecting family drama.
Another option, though?
3. Hard Sci-Fi Panther
Wakanda, after all, has always been a far more technologically developed country than any other in the world - which opens up the possibility of us seeing a very different sort of sci-fi movie in the MCU. Where Guardians of the Galaxy is 'soft' sci-fi (i.e. the sort Star Wars now exemplifies), we could perhaps see Black Panther head down a 'harder' route, one preoccupied with the science lying behind the fiction, and not simply the adventures it enables. With the Black Panther-starring comic-book Ultimates doing exactly that over with Marvel Comics as we speak - and much of the Panther's modern comic-book appearances flirting with a similar approach - it's certainly an option, albeit perhaps more a wild card pick than anything else.
A more crowd-pleasing option, then?
2. Super-Spy Panther
Captain America: Civil War may have positioned BP as a vengeful son out for revenge at any cost, but it also suggested that he had spy skills the match of even Natasha 'Black Widow' Romanoff. Should Black Panther's narrative force T'Challa back into the world of espionage, then, he'd surely be well prepared for it. What's more, it could well actually give Bucky Barnes something to do in the movie other than look handsome while frozen in a stasis chamber. Plus, who doesn't want to see Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan compete at high stakes espionage, with the ultimate goal being the throne of Wakanda? That sounds amazing.
In fact, the only genre that might just top that for sheer nerdy magnficence?
1. Political Drama Panther
Y'see, while Winter Soldier flirted with politics, and the Iron Man franchise has visited Congress on a handful of occasions, the MCU is still lacking a truly 'political' adventure. Black Panther, with its ridiculously accomplished cast and politically aware young director (check out Fruitvale Station for proof, if needed) could well be the perfect staging point for that to change, though. T'Challa has, after all, always been a politician first and a superhero second - so why not allow his solo adventure to be true to the spirit of its source material? Just think The Wire, only with more explosions and... roughly the same amount of Michael B. Jordan.
Heck, maybe we'll even finally find out where Wallace is (a hint: It's Wakanda).
Honestly, it wouldn't be the most out-there post-credits sequence we've seen...
What do you reckon, though? What genre do you think Black Panther will end up introducing to the MCU? Let us know below!