Black Panther hits theaters in February, and Marvel fans could not be more excited. After an exciting debut in Captain America: Civil War, people have been eager to see more of the MCU’s newest major hero.
As they tend to do, fans are chomping down on any news regarding the upcoming film. However, it can be tough to separate rumor from fact, and there are a ton of rumors surrounding the production of Black Panther. They started as soon as it was announced, and have only grown since.
Because of that, we’re providing a helpful list of everything that we already know has been officially confirmed about the movie. No rumors here, just facts that should still do their part in getting people hyped up for the movie’s release.
Though, as even these facts are open to interpretation, there's always a healthy bit of speculation.
Here are the 15 Things We Already Know About Black Panther.
15 It’s a Direct Continuation from Civil War
Similarly to Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther will initially pick up either during, or immediately following, the events of Captain America: Civil War. This makes sense, as T’Challa underwent some major changes during the course of that movie.
Not only did he lose his father, but he also took the mantle of both King and Black Panther, both of which have to be addressed as soon as he returns home. So, in Black Panther, we will see T’Challa take the throne.
It sounds like most of the hardships that Black Panther encounters will stem from the ramifications of Civil War, from not only T’Challa stepping into the role of King, but also Wakanda’s decision to step out of the shadows and join the larger world as a whole, which was shown in Civil War just before the bombing that took King T’Chaka’s life.
Exactly how the movie will handle these events, though, remains to be seen at this point.
14 Forest Whitaker Will Be Black Panther’s Version of Obi-Wan
Forest Whitaker is just one addition to Black Panther’s impressive cast, playing the role of Zuri. He is an elder statesman and was a good friend of King T’Chaka. It has been said that he will play a very similar role as Obi-Wan played to Luke in the original Star Wars.
He’s a mentor and, following the death of T’Challa’s father, takes on a sort of fatherly role. According to director Ryan Coogler, “he’s somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure.” He also adds that Zuri serves as a major connection to T’Chaka, who will obviously not be that present in the film, and that he will be the most obvious connection to Wakanda’s spiritual roots.
Having a mentor will no doubt be crucial for T’Challa, as he steps into his role as both a leader and a hero. It’s hard to say which of the two Zuri will have more influence on at this point.
13 It’s Been in Development for Over 20 Years
This is a fact that a lot of people probably don’t know. Black Panther might be one of the newest additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s been trying to find his way to the screen for a long time.
There was a period of time in the ‘90s-- predating even Blade-- when Wesley Snipes took a huge interest in the role. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out. In fact, he announced his plan to star in the movie as early as 1992. Columbia Pictures teamed with Marvel in 1994 and the project entered the early stages of development.
When they could not find a script that everyone agreed on, development ceased, and Black Panther spent years as something that would pop up in Marvel’s planned film slate, but never actually come to fruition.
Snipes was attached to the role as late as 2006, when Marvel was also courting John Singleton to direct. In 2014, it was officially announced that Black Panther would come to the screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
12 Black Panther Gets a Slightly Upgraded Suit
This one shouldn’t be all that surprising, as this is certainly a trend in Marvel films dating back at least to Iron Man. Stark, Captain America, and even War Machine all seem to get new costumes each time they appear.
Black Panther will be no different, although the redesign won’t be as drastic. From what we’ve seen so far, the new Black Panther suit simply seems to tweak the Civil War design. We’re still not sure at this point what all of these new design elements will be.
It would not be surprising, though, to see Black Panther undergo something similar to Spider-Man, which would allow him to have slightly more expressive eyes. The mask, after all, is incredibly static and, while it worked in Civil War, it might be important for the central hero to have at least a minimal range of expression while in costume.
11 It’s Directed by Ryan Coogler
While Chadwick Boseman was a standout among a truly ensemble cast in Civil War, the announcement of Ryan Coogler as director was one of the first things to truly get people excited about the movie.
Coming off of an Oscar nomination for Creed, he’s been a clear sign for fans of the material that the adaptation could not be in better hands. Marvel originally courted Ava DuVernay for the project, but it did not work out, so Coogler came aboard, and it looks like everyone saw eye-to-eye for the production.
This is Coogler’s first major studio action vehicle. Between this and Creed, he’s clearly making himself known as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. People are already excited for whatever he might do after Black Panther, even though the movie doesn’t come out for another six months. That, if anything, is a sign of a truly talented storyteller.
10 King T’Chaka Will Return in Flashbacks
While Zuri will serve as a mentor to T’Challa as he becomes the Black Panther, it has already been announced that John Kani will return in some capacity as King T’Chaka. Considering that he died in Civil War and doesn’t seem to be getting resurrected, these scenes will no doubt be shown as flashbacks.
It’s also been noted that there will be flashbacks to 1990s America, where T’Challa is sent for some time as a boy. It would not be surprising to see T’Chaka pop up at that point to deliver a word of encouragement or inspirational monologue.
We can only speculate what role his flashbacks might serve in the film, but they’ll be there, regardless. As those brief moments of the relationship between father and son were some of the strongest in Civil War, more of that bond should be great, no matter what form it takes.
9 Andy Serkis Returns as Ulysses Klaue
This is probably one of the major things that everyone remotely familiar with the Black Panther lore might know about the film, even before he appeared in the trailer.
Serkis made his debut as Klaue, a longtime Black Panther villain, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which first made MCU audiences aware of the nation of Wakanda and its connection to Vibranium. When Klaue confronts Ultron in that film, he even loses a hand, just as he does in the comics.
It’s also been confirmed that Klaue, bad guy as he is, will be serving as one of the major villains of the movie. Whether he plans an elaborate prison escape to team up with Killmonger, or simply pulls strings from behind the scenes, remains to be seen. He’ll no doubt be a major thorn in Black Panther’s side, regardless. Even from the trailer, it seems like he’s already exploiting what he knows about Wakanda for his own benefit.
8 Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira Play Members of the Dora Milaje
In a great bit of casting, we have two terrific actresses playing butt-kicking female warriors to stand beside T’Challa as he faces the many challenges in the movie. The Dora Milaje are an all-female group of warriors who primarily serve as body guards to the king.
They basically serve as Wakanda’s special forces, and will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with in the film. It will be interesting to see how they deal with being assigned to protect a king who is also a superhero.
T’Challa can clearly take care of himself, so it would be great if he winds up asking them to fight alongside him and enlists their aid in whatever battle is coming his way, rather than evading them and not allowing them to do their jobs. It doesn’t look like that will be a concern, though, because these awesome ladies are already showing off their skills in the trailer.
7 The Movie Deals With Wakanda’s Place in the Marvel Universe
How the rest of the world sees Wakanda is literally the first thing that the trailer for Black Panther makes clear. Most people don’t know anything about it, they don’t even know where it is, and it’s stayed that way for generations.
However, after the very public death of King T’Chaka, it’s in the worldwide spotlight. Klaue is clearly exploiting whatever knowledge he has about the country, but his reasons remain unclear. How the rest of the world perceives Wakanda clearly seems to be a major plot point. It looks like the film will either build toward the nation accepting its place in the global spotlight, or attempting to step back into the shadows once more.
Either way, the focus on Wakanda as a whole will make this as much a political thriller as a superhero movie, which is ground that Marvel has previously covered with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but now appears to be shown through an entirely different lens here.
6 Ava DuVernay Nearly Directed the Movie
Ava DuVernay was close to directing Black Panther, but left the project when she realized it would not be as personal a film as she would want it to be. Explaining that she would rather leave in the early stages than try to make it and cite “creative differences” later, she simply bowed out at a time that would be easiest on both parties and decided to move on to other things.
She explained that, if she did it, there would be too much compromise, and it “wouldn’t be an Ava DuVernay film.” So she allowed Marvel to continue their hunt for a director, and they obviously landed on Coogler.
DuVernay didn’t go far, though, as she is now directing A Wrinkle in Time, which is also for Disney. This movie, which just launched a trailer last week, will hit theaters on March 9th 2018, a little under a month after Black Panther.
5 Angela Bassett Plays T’Challa’s Mother Ramonda
Unlike most Marvel heroes, T’Challa’s parents have been ever-present for most of his life. Although his father died in Civil War, his mother will be appearing and will be played by none other than Angela Bassett.
Having appeared in classics like Malcolm X, Boyz n the Hood, as well as American Horror Story, Bassett is definitely adding extra starpower to an already star-studded cast. She is also no stranger to comic book roles, having played Amanda Waller in 2011’s Green Lantern and even appearing in the 1990 The Flash TV series.
In the comics, Ramonda is actually T’Challa’s stepmother, but it does not seem like the feature will take this route. It’s unclear exactly how much fans will see of her in the upcoming movie or exactly what role she’ll serve, but she’ll definitely be one to watch for when the film is finally released.
4 Not Everyone is Happy With T’Challa Taking the Mantle of King
This is likely going to be the central conflict at the heart of the movie, as T’Challa is not everyone’s favorite choice to be King. Like every political leader, some will rally behind him while others will be fairly skeptical.
Part of this will likely be due to T’Chaka’s highly unexpected death. The tragic circumstances under which T’Challa assumes the mantle will naturally breed hostility. Plus, with the apparent plot point that T’Challa was once exiled in the ‘90s, many might see him as unfit to lead—a question he will no doubt have about himself as well.
With people like Klaue painting Wakanda as a technological paradise waiting to be pillaged, the diplomacy that comes with being that kind of leader should be more important than ever. From everything we know so far, T’Challa will be the first King of Wakanda to truly have to serve as a diplomat overseas as well as providing for his own people.
How he handles that challenge might ultimately be one of the most important things about the film.
3 Bucky is NOT In It
Despite the fact that Bucky was taken to Wakanda at the end of Civil War and frozen until the triggers in his mind could be completely removed, it’s been made clear that he will not be appearing in the film.
This is not that surprising, but given that he’ll technically be in Wakanda for the duration of the movie, he probably should at least be mentioned at some point. Even though he won’t make an appearance, though, he’ll be unthawed in time for Avengers: Infinity War, where it is said that he will share several scenes and big moments with Black Panther.
Given that Black Panther’s sole mission for the bulk of Civil War was “kill Bucky,” it will be great to see their relationship develop from total hostility into respect and possibly even friendship. However that relationship develops, though, we’ll have to wait until after Black Panther to see it.
2 Martin Freeman Returns as Everett K. Ross
As evidenced by the trailer, Martin Freeman will return as his Civil War character Everett K. Ross. He shares an interrogation scene with Ulysses Klaue, but even though he’s supposed to be on the side of the good guys, he definitely looks intrigued by everything Klaue has to say. Many fans have speculated that Ross is actually a larger character in the Marvel Universe, and that Freeman could actually be playing anyone from a disguised Loki to The Red Skull.
Given that Ross is an actual character from the comics and a Black Panther character at that, it’s more than likely that he’s nothing more than he appears to be. Still, a character who seems to have such hostility toward superheroes and sees personal gain in exploiting Wakanda’s resources might not be too helpful for someone offering foreign aid. He may not be a villain, but he could very well play some kind of antagonistic role nonetheless.
1 Michael B. Jordan Plays the Villain Killmonger
One of the most exciting bits of casting is the fact that Michael B. Jordan will not only be a part of Black Panther, but will be playing the villain. Though the feature also includes Klaue and Man-Ape, Killmonger appears to be the main focus.
As someone who was exiled from Wakanda, he has returned with the goal of leading a revolution against his own people. He will likely be the most doubtful of T’Challa’s ability to take the throne and serve as a proper leader.
It’s exciting enough that Ryan Coogler would re-team with Jordan after the smash hit that was Creed and the acclaimed Fruitvale Station. It’s also exciting that Jordan gets to make up for a wasted performance in 2015’s Fantastic Four by getting the chance to tackle another major comic book property.
However, the most exciting thing about this casting has to be the fact that audiences will get to see Jordan’s villainous side for the very first time.
Are you excited for Black Panther? Is there anything you want to see specifically in the movie? Let us know in the comment section!