If you’re like me and only get your superhero fix from the movies and not the comics, then you probably had no clue who Black Panther—real name T’Challa—was when he showed up in Captain America: Civil War. But after a great debut and an amazing performance from Chadwick Boseman, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who can’t wait to see more Black Panther in his feature film debut! So, before Marvel takes you to the wondrous land of Wakanda, read up on some facts about its King!
Black Panther Facts
27. Expanding the Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has taken its audience all over the universe, with films centered in space, on different planets, and in different realms. Marvel will be adding another location to that list with the release of Black Panther: The film takes place in the fictional, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda.
26. Small Screen
Black Panther may have recently made his feature film debut, but he’s no stranger to the small screen, having appeared in both the Fantastic Four and X-Men animated series in the 1990s as well as Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He even had his own animated show on BET for a short time.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are the minds behind nearly every Marvel superhero, so it should come as no surprise that they created Black Panther as well. Black Panther is also credited as being the first ever black superhero in mainstream comics.
24. Fantastic Debut
It’s common for superheroes to make their debut in established comics, and Black Panther was no exception, debuting in issue #52 of the Fantastic Four comic in 1966.
23. Starring Role
After years of being a featured player in other superheroes’ comics, Black Panther finally got the chance to star in his own when he headlined Jungle Action #5 in 1973.
22. Got There First
Black Panther wasn’t inspired by or named after the Black Panther movement that came in 1966, but actually debuted a few months before the group appeared. There was even a brief period when Marvel decided to change the character’s name to Black Leopard to avoid any assumed affiliation with the group, but neither Marvel nor the fans were too keen on the name, and Marvel changed it back.
21. Everyone Wants to Be the King
Like any role in Hollywood, several actors auditioned for the role of Black Panther. Among them were Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Mackie, Djimon Hounsou, and John Boyega. Other than Boyega, these actors all still managed to land a role in the MCU, with Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Hounsou having parts in Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy, respectively, and Mackie playing Sam Wilson—aka Falcon—in numerous films. Don’t be sad for Boyega,though: he’s got a little thing called Star Wars.
20. Power Couple
Black Panther became one half of a true power couple when he married X-Men member Storm in his homeland of Wakanda. Unfortunately, after Wakanda was attacked, T’Challa realized he needed to focus more on being a king than a husband, and the marriage was annulled.
19. New Era
Just before Black Panther made his official big screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Comics released the first issue of the new Black Panther comic, written by MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates.
18. Punching Racism in the Face
Following in the footsteps of Captain America, who punched Adolf Hitler, Black Panther traveled to the American South–Georgia, to be exact–and took on the KKK.
17. Passion Project
Before Chadwick Boseman became the King of Wakanda, Wesley Snipes did his best to claim the throne. Back in 1992, he expressed his intention to bring Black Panther to the big screen, and even had the backing of Lee. He fought hard for over a decade, but wasn’t able to get the deal done.
16. Finding the Right Fit
Before Ryan Coogler was hired as the director of Black Panther, Ava DuVernay was in talks to direct the film and even met with Kevin Feige and Boseman to discuss it, but parted ways after creative differences. Other plans included a version directed by John Singleton–who wanted Chiwetel Ejiofor as the titular character–and F. Gary Gray.
15. Tagging in
When Daredevil decided he needed a break from protecting Hell’s Kitchen, he got Black Panther to fill in for him. During this time, whenever Black Panther wasn’t patrolling the streets, he went under the civilian name of Mr. Okonkwo, an immigrant from the Congo, and was the manager of the Devil’s Kitchen diner.
14. Building a Nation
Coogler brought in experts on African history and politics to help set up and establish Wakanda and add legitimacy to the nation.
13. Authentic Accent
Boseman decided that an African accent was not only appropriate, but also necessary for T’Challa. He believes that because Wakanda is a technologically advanced nation that was never affected by colonialism, Black Panther would keep his native tongue and not have a European accent.
12. Film Influences
Executive Producer Nate Moore is cited as saying that Black Panther feels like a crossover between The Godfather and the James Bond franchise, bringing the family drama and competition for power to a world of espionage. Blade Runner has also been cited as inspiration for the design of Wakanda.
11. Change for the Better
Marvel decided it was best to change the name of a key character from the Black Panther comic who is featured in the film. The character of M’Baku is actually named Man-Ape in the comic, and is often covered in fur and wears an ape mask. I think it’s pretty clear why Marvel thought some viewers might have an issue with that.
10. More Than a Name
While most superheroes hide behind a secret identity, this isn’t the case for T’Challa. Black Panther is a title, not an alter-ego, and it’s passed down from protector to protector.
9. The Dark Knight
Black Panther is considered Marvel’s answer to Batman, and he shares similar abilities, intelligence, bank accounts, and costuming with Bruce Wayne. They both also stick mainly to the shadows, and generally work alone unless needed by their respective groups.
Vibranium is a rare–and fictional–metal that can only be found in Wakanda. It’s the same metal that was used to make Captain America’s shield, and it’s what Black Panther’s suit is made entirely of.
7. Magical Herb
Black Panther gets his super strength and heightened senses and abilities from a heart-shaped herb found only in Wakanda.
The Dora Milaje, also known as the Adored Ones, are an all-female group of Warriors that help protect Wakanda and look after the King. They were a late addition to the Black Panther comics, appearing in 1998, and will be featured in the film as well.
Black Panther will mark the first time Marvel Studios has a film staring a black superhero. On top of that, Coogler will have the honor of being the first black director to direct a Marvel Studios film.
4. Coal Tiger
Sometimes creators have to go back to the drawing board to get a character right, and thankfully Kirby knew that. The original concept for Black Panther saw him with his face exposed and no mask on, but the main issue was the name: he was going to be called Coal Tiger.
3. Unique Style
Coogler has said that he feels like the majority of the Marvel films generally look and feel the same, which is why he insisted that Marvel Studios allow him to use the same crew he had on his previous projects to make it feel like more of a Coogler movie than a typical Marvel movie.
2. Sticking Around for a While
Boseman signed a five-picture deal with Marvel Studios to play Black Panther. So far, he has appeared or will appear in three films–Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War–leaving many to speculate that another appearance will happen in a Black Panther sequel.
1. Brains and Brawn
Everyone knows Black Panther has superhuman strength and reflexes, but only real fans know that his greatest power is actually his brain. He has a PhD in physics from Oxford University and he’s considered to be one of the eight smartest people in the entire Marvel universe.