3. The Characters
With Thor's home realm of Asgard drawing on the beliefs of Viking culture, the tribal culture that shaped a far greater chunk of early human life has been largely unexplored. Black Panther would (if adapted faithfully) tie directly into that history, bringing allies and enemies from an entirely different walk of life. And it begins with someone genuinely unique to Marvel's current roster: a loving, honorable father possessing a healthy, steady relationship with his son. So T'Chaka's presence would be a change of pace, even if his role is a brief one.
But the Black Panther supporting cast is filled with several memorable figures, including T'Challa's right-hand-man W'Kabi, who possesses a bionic arm and supreme fighting skills. There is also Shuri, his sister (who will one day go on to claim the mantle of Black Panther herself), and his adopted older brother, White Wolf, whose zealotry in protecting Wakanda leads him to be exiled from the country.
The villains are just as memorable. Although Ulysses Klaw (king T'Chaka's murderer and a foe of The Panther) may be rumored to appear in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Panther's most iconic nemesis would have to be Erik Killmonger. A native of Wakanda with a quest for vengeance of his own, Killmonger's desire to remove the influences of white colonialist thinking from the nation is a particularly charged theme (even if Marvel is unlikely to truly explore it).
But the real star of any Black Panther movie would be the Dora Milaje ("The Adored Ones"), a group of the country's elite warriors charged with protecting the King as his personal bodyguard. The best part? They're all women, selected to represent Wakanda's best and brightest, and from whose ranks T'Challa is expected to find his Queen. (The comics had him eventually marrying Ororo Munroe (aka X-Men's Storm); though we'd rule that out for a feature film version.)
2. The Change in Perspective
If nothing else, the recent confirmation that Marvel would be using Captain America 3 to kick off their own Civil War shows the studio is comfortable with seeing some of their heroes in a questionable light (they can't all have the moral high ground). The parallels between Black Panther and DC's Batman are clear enough, so it's no surprise that T'Challa has shown his own tendencies to test the heroes and heroines around him to determine their true character.
If Civil War really is going to start raising some difficult questions (is a presumed threat more important than the rights of the people?), then the view from a true outsider could prove more than valuable. Not only that, but the origin story of T'Challa is relatable in ways that his fellow heroes never could be; the tale of a child sent abroad for education or experience, the returning home to lead the next generation of family, is a common one the world over.
But it's T'Challa's rank that holds the most promise, as the brilliant, deadly, and truly wise leader of a country that downright adores him (for the most part). In other words: Black Panther will have plenty of opinions and insights into the behavior of The Avengers, but also the status and clout to make them known. True, that may also be a direction taken with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the future, but T'Challa is an example of royal excellence right here on Earth.
In truth, it's Black Panther's character, not his parentage, that has made him one of the most respected Marvel heroes in the eyes of its greatest leaders. A truer servant of the people (his people) than any other existing Marvel hero, Black Panther's enemies have ranged from African mystics to violent denizens of Hell's Kitchen. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is always in need of a new figurehead, and with Black Panther they could find one that is above the flaws and scars of his colleagues.
1. Crossover Potential
Although it may be thrilling to take a trip into space for some laughs and airborne battles, Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed that Marvel is still interested in upping their dramatic game in the real world of politics, national security, and espionage. If the studio is looking to push forward in that direction as well as their cosmic villains, then there's no better time for Black Panther; a franchise able to offer insight into just about every other property.
For starters, it was Captain America that Black Panther sided with in Marvel's comic book "Civil War," making Cap's stance legitimate to many around the world. But if Marvel is looking to make the connections deeper, it was during World War II (in the comics) that Steve Rogers first met King T'Chaka, granting him access to the vibranium making up his signature shield. Whether the films choose to make that link canon or not, the potential is there.
Furthermore, whether personal or not, Wakanda's importance to the outside Marvel world is what the writers choose to make of it. An advanced technological country willing to aid Earth's Mightiest Heroes against any foe could prove useful - and with Asgard clearly out of the picture on that front, T'Challa's home could fill the void.
Beyond simple plot points or overlaps in history, though, the introduction of Black Panther could help audiences warm to the idea of the genuinely mystic and supernatural - not simply the superhuman. At present, that's a realm expected to be first explored by Doctor Strange in 2016.
It may lighten the good doctor's load to introduce just one more example of the kinds of ancient wisdom and powers that have been forgotten by most of the world - particularly the deity from which black Panther draws his strength and senses. It would be a shame if those abilities were disconnected from their comic source in the films; if magic is the real culprit, then it would stand to reason that the movie version of both T'Challa and Strange (like their comic ounterparts) could also find common ground for a united adventure down the road.
Those are just 5 reasons why we think Black Panther could - and likely will - be a film that breaks plenty of new ground for Marvel's Cinematic Universe. This is just our view of why the property, despite being lesser-known to broad audiences, could succeed. Do you agree with our points, or is there a part of the equation you think is being overlooked, or underestimated? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Below you'll find more key stories from Marvel's recent event - CLICK any LINK for more info on that topic.
- Black Panther Coming in 2017, Starring Chadwick Boseman
- Captain Marvel & Inhumans Movie in 2018
- Captain America 3 Titled Civil War, RDJ Confirmed
- Avengers: Infinity War Announced For 2018-19 in Two Parts
- Marvel Has No Plans For a Black Widow or Hulk Movie
Black Panther will be in theaters on November 3, 2017.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Black Panther as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.