Comic book legend Stan Lee once told writer-director Ryan Coogler that his favorite thing about Black Panther's lead character T'Challa is that he's insanely rich. By now, it should be quite apparent that Lee had a strong influence in establishing the Marvel Universe during its formative years, and that has much to do with the creation of the Fantastic Four - a team that later became known as Marvel's First Family, and for good reason - in 1961.
The Fantastic Four comic series was so popular that Marvel Comics used it as a platform to launch new characters for years, of which one of them was T'Challa. The Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966 - which coincided with but also predated the Black Panther Party - and challenged everything people knew about black superheroes and black comic book characters. Although the numbers weren't always there, by giving Black Panther so many facets was revolutionary for Marvel - and that's in large part due to Lee and Kirby. But what's interesting is that, above it all, Lee has a humorous but understandable favorite aspect about T'Challa.
When T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) approaches Agent Ross (Martin Freeman) in the Black Panther movie, he puts down a lot of chips on the table and then leaves. That's when Stan Lee comes in for his cameo and takes T'Challa's money. In the film's audio commentary, Ryan Coogler says that Lee told Coogler multiple times the day they shot the scene that his favorite thing about T'Challa is that he's rich. Plus, Lee thought it was it neat that T'Challa could leave all that money behind like it was nothing to him; he's that rich.
Of course, there's much more to T'Challa/Black Panther than just money, just like there's more to Tony Stark/Iron Man than his wealth. But what's interesting about T'Challa is that he just might be the richest character in the Marvel Universe and perhaps even in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Being the sole monarch of a nation that has a monopoly on mining and distributing one of the most powerful substances in the universe - Vibranium - sure comes with its benefits, especially when it comes down to harnessing that substance for country's wealth and security.
One of the primary plot points of the Black Panther movie was that they opened their borders to the world and decided not to operate from the shadows any longer. That's something that audiences see a tiny bit of in Avengers: Infinity War, but it's a story thread that should factor into Black Panther 2, whenever the movie releases in the future. At that point, the rest of the world will see just how rich T'Challa truly is.
Black Panther is out now on Digital HD, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
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