When planning ahead towards Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it took Robert Downey Jr.’s signing on for more movies before the studio could really greenlight what would ultimately be the live-action adaptation of Marvel’s Civil War storyline from the comics.

Captain America: Civil War will tell its own, more relevant, take on the political-fueled conflict between Captain America and Iron Man but the story needed a third party (outside of the background villains) to sort of play both sides. In the comics, that was Spider-Man’s role but Marvel Studios didn’t get the rights to the web-slinger until the last minute partnership with Sony Pictures. Spider-Man is still going to be in the movie, but the new character that will take the spotlight in Civil War is Black Panther.

Black Panther (real name: T’Challa) definitely lived up to that mantle with his brief yet memorable introduction in the first Captain America: Civil War trailer where he pursues (and drop kicks) The Winter Soldier. Black Panther’s costume was revealed last October alongside the announcements that Chadwick Boseman will play the character and have his own movie, but not before having a key part in Civil War. The trailer however, was our first complete and official look. Here’s another:

chadwick boseman as black panther Marvels Black Panther Details: Costume, Vibranium & Role in Civil War

The new image comes from EW who revealed their Captain America: Civil War cover issue imagery earlier in the day which featured Black Panther (Boseman) standing appropriately in between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).

Black Panther’s Cinematic Universe Costume

We know what it looks like, but there’s more to the unique and dangerous looking outfit worn by the defender of Wakanda. Co-director Anthony Russo talks about the costume design and how it differs from the more cloth-like look from the comics:

“Panther is a cool character and he has a toughness, and a sort of intimidation factor with his costume. We’re experimenting with how the light catches the costume… It’s like medieval chain mail, woven extremely thin. It’s not comparable to any other costumes in the universe.”

And as we explained in our Captain America: Civil War trailer analysis feature, the Black Panther field outfit looks the way it does, shiny lines at all, because it’s vibranium metal body armor – the same super strong alloy that Cap’s shield is made out of and that Ultron sought out in Avengers: Age of Ultron“It has a sheen because its a weave of the strongest metal in this fictional universe,” explains fellow co-director (and brother) Joe Russo.

Marvel Fan Event 2014 Robert Downey Jr Chadwick Boaseman Chris Evans Marvels Black Panther Details: Costume, Vibranium & Role in Civil War

Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans onstage during Marvel Studios fan event at The El Capitan Theatre on October 28, 2014 in LA

Wearing the suit isn’t too comfortable for star Chadwick Boseman or the stunt double who wears it in action sequences. Boseman explains that the boots are great to wear, but everything else is cumbersome and slightly claustrophobic, especially when he is required to wear the full, concealed mask since it’s difficult to see through the white eyes. We can only imagine how hot it must be to wear especially while shooting Civil War scenes outdoors in Atlanta during the summer. Boseman continues, talking about the mythology behind his costume and how it’s comprised of the rare metal that’s exclusive as a resource to Wakanda.

“As far as the storytelling is concerned, the vibranium is a metal that is dynamic. It can change how it’s used. It’s not a liquid, but it has the ability to change shape and change form and still have its strength. I think there a lot of things about that in the mythology that I think has a lot of potential in terms of the storytelling… It’s not just about being durable, it has the ability to absorb energy. It’s not just like you hit it and it doesn’t take it. It has the ability to absorb the attack of another person and repel or respond to that attack. That’s part of the power.”

The vibranium claws are retractable and Black Panther will embrace animalistic and ninja-like fighting styles, not just of a cat, but of a snake as well. Deadly and tactical.

Page 2: Whose Side is Black Panther Really on?

Whose Side is Black Panther Really on?

Captain America Civil War Black Panther EW Cover Marvels Black Panther Details: Costume, Vibranium & Role in Civil War

Where Tony Stark sides with the governments of the world to place limits on vigilante justice and regulate the activity of enhanced individuals and where Steve Rogers sides with liberty and his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who’s framed for another international incident, Black Panther isn’t really loyal to either side. He’s on a personal vendetta and is seeking out Bucky as well for his own reasons. Boseman explains that may be true for a lot of the characters:

“Ultimately some sides are taken, but I think the trick of the movie is for no one to be blindly following. Everybody is actually on their own side, in truth.”

Executive producer Nate Moore teases that Black Panther’s role will see him potentially on both sides of the larger conflict:

“He’s someone who hasn’t necessarily made up his mind about either side and whose agenda isn’t exactly what Cap’s agenda or what Tony’s agenda is.  And I think that brings him into conflict weirdly with both characters at different times in the film. He is the prince of an African nation that has so far stayed very much sort of in the shadows. And eventually the film will draw him and his father out of the shadows.”

How Will MCU’s Black Panther Compare to The Comics?

Captain America Civil War Trailer 1 Black Panther Marvels Black Panther Details: Costume, Vibranium & Role in Civil War

As for how the movie version of Black Panther will differ from the comics, at least as far his introduction as a younger prince of Wakanda is concerned (remember: he’ll be around for a while), Moore continues:

“In publishing, he is sort of this very wise and a sanguine figure who seems to know more than he lets on. I think this is Black Panther in his younger years, where he maybe is a little bit more fiery than I think how they write him in the comics because he’s very much in the nascent stages of being a hero. So that means he is probably more fallible than the Black Panther that you read in comics, but for reasons that are completely logical.”

In the books, T’Challa is not only a warrior and a leader, but he’s a genius as well – one of the smartest people on Earth. It goes hand-in-hand with his nation of Wakanda being one of the most technologically advanced, if not, the most advanced society on the planet. It’s also a nation of rich traditions, something Boseman hints will be a part of the MCU legacy of the character:

“There definitely is a sort of tradition that he’s torn between, in terms of how things were done in the past and how things need to happen now in this new world. I think there’s perhaps a bit of a maverick there, and then there’s also a need to live up to traditions and his father’s legacy. And not even his father’s legacy, but the entire nation of Wakanda. I think those are the things you will see.”

Excited to see Black Panther’s debut in Civil War before his own story is told in 2018? Can you already picture him as a future member of The Avengers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Next: Captain America: Civil War’s Superhero Registration Act Explained

Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.

Source: EW