Kevin Feige teased that Phase 3 would open up the Marvel Cinematic Universe in new ways, and so far, he hasn’t disappointed. The path to Avengers: Infinity War is beset on all sides by strange new places such as the astral realm of Doctor Strange, as well as fresh faces like Captain Marvel and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). The latter of which recently stepped out of the African nation of Wakanda and into the MCU in a big way during Captain America: Civil War.
Although the newly crowned king won’t be as rowdy as his FOX-based Marvel counterparts Wolverine and Deadpool, Chadwick Boseman says his Black Panther breaks a little bad. At least, judging by superhero standards, anyway.
Speaking with EW during the Toronto International Film Festival, the star of Marvel’s upcoming Wakandan saga discussed the edgier side of King T’Challa. While certainly not a Tony Soprano or Walter White in a super suit, Black Panther does have a grittier edge. Boseman said:
“This is an anti-hero, sort of. I feel like although he is a superhero, he is a super anti-hero.”
Boseman headed to Toronto in support his latest film, Message from the King. In it, he portrays a South African man tracking down the people who caused his sister’s death. Interestingly enough, the thriller shares something aside from its continental characters. Boseman also mentions that his dialogue coach for Message from the King also worked with him on his Black Panther accent. The MCU star stated:
“I ended up using the same dialect coach I had from Message from a King also, who worked with me personally along with Marvel’s dialect coach on Black Panther.”
While T’Challa and his character from Message share different paths, there are additional similarities beyond the continent and dialect. Boseman said:
“Those are two characters based in continental Africa, so some of that cultural aspect of it, the swagger, parts of the dialect you may use – that cultural exploration is definitely something that transferred over [from one role to the next].”
When asked what it felt like donning the suit and mask for Black Panther, the actor wisecracked, “I’m Black Panther even outside the suit.”
It sounds as though Boseman is more-than-ready to take on the heft of an entire kingdom, much less the mantle of a world-saving Avenger. Director Ryan Coogler, who was recently called “perfect” for Black Panther, is clearly inserting some realistic interpersonal conflict into the otherwise fantastic superhero outing. News of the T’Challa’s antihero qualities should sit well with fans of the source material, since the African superhero has a long history – especially during Don McGregor’s amazing ’70s series and Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ recent run – of struggling with his own power and responsibility in the world.
Having an antihero bent also makes for a more complex character. While Marvel’s Cinematic Universe tends to skew closer to the lighter side of things in general, its characters often wrestle with their own demons. Tony Stark had his drinking and partying ways to put aside before he stared responsibility in the face, while Black Widow was brainwashed to be an assassin before becoming a hero. Even paragon of virtue Captain America wrestled with his principles when the Sokovia Accords went into effect during Captain America: Civil War, especially when long-time chum Bucky Barnes went on the lamb.
King T’Challa’s first outing already proved Boseman was perfect for the role but, understandably, didn’t allow for much character development. Black Panther’s arrival, at the dawn of Infinity War, will not only be a welcome addition to Marvel’s slowly diversifying superhero pantheon, but it also promises to tell a fascinating tale of political intrigue, while exploring the travails of a rare everyman king. And yes, that is ‘a big deal.’
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.