Marvel's Black Panther Details: Costume, Vibranium & Role in Civil War

Chadwick Boseman, Anthony & Joe Russo, and Nate Moore talk about Black Panther's character, costume, and role in Captain America: Civil War.

Official Captain America Civil War Black Panther Image

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

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 Studios Fan Event - Robert Downey Jr. Chadwick Boseman Chris Evans
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?

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