Andy Serkis spoke with us about a few things Black Panther-related, including T'Challa's coming of age journey in the film. The next year will see some dramatic changes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a cataclysmic battle on the horizon in the upcoming superhero epic, Avengers: Infinity War. However, before the MCU faces off against Thanos and reality is forever altered, we will all take a trip to Wakanda in the highly-anticipated Black Panther solo film.
We were introduced to T'Challa/Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War; however unbeknownst to many, audiences got a glimpse of his world much earlier in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In that movie, Andy Serkis (War for the Planet of the Apes) played a nefarious black market dealer who assists the villainous robot Ultron in a scene set in Africa. Comic fans quickly recognized the character as Ulysses Klaue, aka Klaw, the long-time antagonist to Black Panther in the comics. By the film's end, one of Klaue's arms had been severed by Ultron, seemingly sealing his MCU fate in the process.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2017, Screen Rant got the opportunity to sit down with Serkis, hours before he would step onstage for Marvel Studios' Hall H presentation. The actor touched on a range of topics, including his work as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy to his upcoming The Jungle Book adaptation. However, he seemed apologetically energized when he the topic of Black Panther was brought up:
"...I don't want to spoil anything. It's obviously based around Wakanda. You've heard that in the trailer and what the perception of Wakand is. And what the reality of that place is. And it's a father-son movie in many ways. Obviously the Black Panther, T'Challa, and his father [T'Chaka] and the relationship between them. Very much a figure coming into his own. Sort of the prince wearing his spurs."
Creed director Ryan Coogler is in the midst of post-production on Black Panther and it's clear that there's a tangible buzz surrounding the project. The first trailer for Black Panther was one of Marvel Studios' most watched trailers of all-time, building all the more hype for the movie upon its release online. It's truly a whole new world to explore, with a multitude of Marvel characters who have yet to get their time in the spotlight in the MCU.
There are few villains in the Black Panther comics, or Marvel Comics' universe as a whole, as cunning and cutthroat as Klaue. He also is known for having a cybernetic arm that transforms sound into powerful sonic blasts. In the movie trailer he's still missing his arm and we asked Serkis if fans can expect his character to go through a similar transformation by the end of Black Panther:
"I obviously can't give away too much. But let's just say that he's not armless this time..."
When pressed further and asked if Marvel Studios is respecting his comic book roots, Serkis gleefully responded.
A large part of Marvel's success has been in their ability to honor the stories, characters, and themes, found within pages of their comics in their films. Yet, they still find fresh ways to adapt their properties in different and modern ways. So it should be fascinating to see exactly how the adversarial relationship between Black Panther and Klaue is brought to life on the big screen. Fortunately, fans should find out a lot more by the the time Marvel gives their Black Panther presentation later in Hall H. So stay tuned!
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018