How Black Panther's T'Challa Wrestles With His Family's Legacy

According to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, T'Challa's family legacy will play a huge role in the film. Though Black Panther won't arrive until early next year, the promise of Comic-Con on the horizon has meant a lot of new insight into the film. While Marvel's lengthy panel will delve into the new movie along with Thor: Ragnarok, today has seen a flurry of images and information regarding next year's African epic.

Earlier today, new images arrived from the film detailing the ensemble and their exquisitely designed costumes. The photos also brought some more context and information regarding the film. For one, we know the minds behind Black Panther envision the film as the superhero equivalent of The Godfather meets James Bond. That means lots of politics, family, and globe-trotting action. While the family angle will manifest in a number of ways, a big part of the film will see T'Challa coming to terms with the murder of his father in Captain America: Civil War.

Related: Black Panther Image Gallery

EW spoke with Chadwick Boseman about his character's legacy in Black Panther and how T'Challa will be dealing with the events of Civil War when we meet him again:

"It’s shortly after Civil War has ended so he’s still in mourning. There’s a guilt in terms of taking the throne. There’s a feeling that he wishes that his father would have been alive to see it, if he would have given up the throne for being too old. That’s the ideal way. His mindset is one of guilt and unsureness because he doesn’t have [his father] there."

While T'Challa mourning his father will provide one of the big emotional arcs in the film, another key aspect will be the young king's ascension to the throne. Not only will he need to acclimate to being a ruler, but he'll have to navigate diplomacy and politics in addition to his role as the physical protector of Wakanda. Part of that journey will see T'Challa ushering his nation into the global spotlight, something he may not have chosen to do on his own:

“That hasn’t traditionally been their attitude towards the rest of the world. [T’Chaka] wanted to step out of those boundaries. It’s a like a new leader taking power and trying to figure out if he should do it the older traditional way. You would think the younger man would want to do something different than the father, but the father – for a reason that I don’t want to say – was thinking ahead and beyond those boundaries.”

All told, we'll be seeing a slightly different approach to the Black Panther story in next year's film. In the comics, T'Challa doesn't take on the warrior mantle until after his father has passed. Civil War, however, showed us that T'Challa was operating as the Black Panther before he was king. Similarly, it's T'Challa in the comics who slowly opens Wakanda to the world, not his father.

Still, shades of the source material will be present in Black Panther, as T'Challa navigates the new multifaceted position he's in. Luckily, he'll have plenty of trusted advisors to help him. While his father is gone, his step-mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) will greatly assist the new king:

"She is one of the advisors that he would look to. He has to look to her for some of the answers of what his father might want or might do. She may not be exactly right all the time, but she definitely has insights. The one thing I will say about all the female characters in this movie is that they are very strong. It’s a very matriarchal society. She is the queen mother. And she’s that for not just him, but for everybody. She’s has her hands in everything – even his love life."

Black Panther's focus on strong family ties and powerful female characters is just part of what will help the film stand out in the crowded blockbuster field. From the costumes and location to the story of a politician and king who just happens to be a superhero, it looks as if Black Panther will be unlike anything Marvel or any other studio has made before.

NEXT: Who's Who in the Black Panther Trailer

Source: EW

Key Release Dates
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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