With Disney’s buyout of 20th Century Fox and the promise of the X-Men coming to the MCU, Black Panther 2 could finally mirror the comics by uniting T’Challa with Storm. Though many of Marvel’s heroes and villains exist in one sprawling comic book universe, the world on the page is ful of communities stretching across nations and galaxies. But while New York is home to most of the costumed criminals and crimefighters, corners of the Marvel Universe such as Wakanda have their own unique history and pantheon.
As the MCU continues to expand on the big and small screens, next month will finally see the action shift to the reclusive African nation. T’Challa and his alter-ego were introduced in Captain America: Civil War, where audiences got the first glimpse of his kingdom. Black Panther, however, will be something entirely different in not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but blockbusters as a whole.
Though T’Challa’s solo film has yet to arrive, Black Panther is poised for huge opening and a sequel is all but guaranteed. While the first film will spend much of its time establishing the kingdom and its inhabitants and Avengers: Infinity War will bring conflict to its shores, Black Panther 2 has the opportunity to set up a radically different superhero franchise by following the many paths the comics have taken over the years. And when it comes to pulling from the source material, introducing Storm to the Black Panther series might just be the best way to subtly brings mutants into the MCU.
The Secret Origin of Storm & Black Panther
Black Panther has the luxury of already having been introduced in a massive film. What’s more, his first solo film will be quickly followed by more screen time when Thanos and his forces come calling in Avengers 3—and make Wakanda a front of the titular Infinity War. As such, by the time Black Panther 2 comes around the door will be wide open for the franchise to head in any direction it chooses. And with Marvel Studios relying more and more on sequels featuring cameos and team-ups, the follow-up to this year’s highly anticipated film could be a great way to bring one of the most popular X-Men into the MCU.
Black Panther’s debut in 1966’s Fantastic Four #52 made him the first black superhero in a mainstream comic, and the character has remained an icon since then given his Africa-centric story. Storm, meanwhile, was still fairly monumental when she debuted as the second major black female superhero in 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1 (just a few months after Misty Knight arrived). Between their decades-long history on the page and their strong ties to Africa, T’Challa and Ororo Munroe shared much in common even before their stories were linked together.
For 1980’s Marvel Team-Up #100, Chris Claremont decided to tell the tale of Ororo saving the life of T’Challa from racist thugs. The two characters thus had a lifelong connection established that would remain in the background for the next few decades. When the mid-aughts rolled around, this idea was revived and retconned, this time placing T’Challa as Ororo’s savior. Despite the disappointing sidelining of the young Storm’s heroism, the story quickly established that the two characters once shared an intimate evening together before heading their separate ways. All of this, however, was to set up one of the biggest events in Marvel Comics history: the marriage of Storm and Black Panther.
Storm, Queen of Wakanda
In the midst of 2006’s Civil War, superheroes from around the world put aside their differences and convened in Wakanda for the marriage of the century. During Reginlad Hudlin’s Black Panther #18, T’Challa and Ororo were betrothed and Wakanda was effectively opened up to the world. Though Black Panther’s grandfather and father had both begun exposing the isolated nation here and there, T’Challa’s time as king saw the Black Panther becoming an international hero and his reclusive kingdom being put on the map. With the high-profile marriage of the king of Wakanda and one of the leaders of the X-Men—not to mention an audience of the entire superhero community of Earth—a new age began.
T’Challa and Ororo spent time traveling the stars, serving with the Fantastic Four, and ruling Wakanda together. Though many of the Panther’s people viewed Storm as an outsider, still others embraced the African queen and her mastery of weather. Sadly, the outbreak of the Avengers vs X-Men event proved to be the undoing of their relationship. It wasn’t the two fighting on opposite sides alone that did it, however, but rather Namor’s invasion of Wakanda and the destruction and death he caused. In the wake of this event, T’Challa coldly cut off Storm and annulled their marriage, leading to years of tension between them.
Over time, the rift would slowly heal and recent years have seen Black Panther and Storm team-up here and there. The relationship has been a key part of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Black Panther and the short-live spin-off Black Panther & the Crew saw the two grow even closer. Superhero comics rarely allow characters to remain in committed relationships, with even the best examples of comic book couplings usually having multiple separations. But the pairing of Storm and Black Panther brought the best out in both characters and combined the might of two of Marvel’s most powerful heroes. With the X-Men destined to enter the MCU in the coming years, the time is right for Storm and T’Challa to finally meet in live action.
PAGE 2: Will Storm Come To The MCU?
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