Earlier this year in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Marvel Cinematic Universe welcomed a new roster of Avengers. In next year's Captain America: Civil War, this new class of Avengers are forced to choose sides as the MCU is divide into two camps - one lead by Captain America/Steve Rogers, the other one by Iron Man/Tony Stark - in a terse situation that's further complicated by Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who has started to recover his memory.
Standing outside this conflict is yet another newcomer - Black Panther. As the future king and protector of the isolated nation, Wakanda, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) brings fresh eyes to the conflict brewing between the Avengers. And though we aren't entirely sure what his role will be in Civil War, he's certainly not fully aligned with either Cap or Iron Man and his loyalties may even change over the course of the film.
Black Panther's outsider status has been present ever since it was first revealed the character was appearing in Civil War. When introduced at Marvel's El Capitan Theater event, Boseman came on stage and took his place directly between Chris Evans and Roberty Downey Jr. - as if to signify he represents the middle ground between Cap and Iron Man's two extremes.
That imagery is again at work on the cover of EW's upcoming Civil War issue, as you can see below:
Some strange cover text aside ("Meow" and "claws that a real housewife would envy"? Umm, what?), this EW cover does seem to suggest that it's Black Panther who's stuck between Captain America and Iron Man. In this case, literally, since having the new hero standing behind the two guys audiences are already familiar with doesn't serve as the best of introductions.
Still, in the days between and now and when EW's Civil War issue hits stands we're sure to learn all sorts of new things about Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther. He only appeared briefly in Civil War's first teaser, but even those few shots of him in pursuit of Bucky were enough to get fans excited. What interest does Black Panther have in The Winter Soldier? How does his hunt for Bucky bring T'Challa in between Cap and Iron Man? Only Captain America: Civil War (or potentially this issue of EW) has the answers.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.