8. Okoye is Wakanda's James Bond
In the run-up to Black Panther's theatrical release, Marvel described the film as the MCU's James Bond. But, appropriately enough, it seems they don't view T'Challa as their version of 007. They actually consider it to be Okoye, the warrior-spy who is loyal to King and Country, the best fighter in the nation. At the same time, Marvel mixed things up by giving Okoye something of a near-sibling relationship with T'Challa. "There's a real friendship there between a man and a woman that is not romantic at all, " Executive Producer Nate Moore noted. "But [it] has the depth of any other friendship you've had in real life."
7. M'Baku Is An Important Figure
In the comics, M'Baku - better known as the Man-Ape - is a villain. In Black Panther, however, he's a much more ambiguous figure; although the Jabari chieftain starts off as an antagonist, he has a strong moral code too. Winston Duke explained that he views M'Baku as truly important in Wakanda.
"I like M'Baku because he also serves a really great moral function. He reminds them of their past, which is easy to forget. He reminds them of tradition, of the gods. He reminds them of service and patience. So he's laden with a lot of things that matter."
M'Baku has been confirmed to return in Avengers: Infinity War, and hopefully his story will continue into the inevitable Black Panther sequel.
6. Killmonger's Scars Were Properly "Researched"
When Marvel first released the Black Panther trailer, eagle-eyed fans noticed the strange scars marking Killmonger's body. The movie explained that each scar represented a kill, and The Art of Black Panther explores the idea. Concept artists Rodney Fuentebella revealed just how much work went into this:
"We spent a lot of time doing the designs of [Killmonger's] scarification. That was something that was very important, so a bunch of us did a lot of takes on his scarification and tried to come up with something that he could do himself that shows different types of patterns and how he would do it - if it would be chaotic, or if it would be very systematic."
One of the concept artists went so far as to plot the markings in a mirror, working out which parts of his body Killmonger would be able to reach with a knife. The scars were an important statement, and Killmonger openly displayed them once he'd become king of Wakanda. He wanted to remind everyone that he could kill them if he wanted to, and that he'd claimed the throne by the act of ritual murder.
5. Shuri Originally Had Her Own Black Panther Costume
Although the major character concepts seem to have stayed the same, Marvel experimented with a wide range of designs for secondary characters. Shuri's journey, in particular, seems to be a fascinating one. Concept artist Karla Ortiz explained that it was important to avoid sexualizing the character. "Her body is covered more than what most audiences tend to expect of female characters in super-hero movies," she noted.
Different designs played disparate elements against one another. Some emphasized Wakanda's tribal roots. Others were sleek and form-fitting, very much sci-fi; it seemed a fitting design given her genius. Concept artist Tully Summers originally created a scaled-down version of the Black Panther costume, with Vibranium power lines across it. Little by little, that was "deconstructed" into the ritual costume she wore at Warrior Falls.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 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