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On June 9, Marvel dropped a teaser for their upcoming Black Panther film, firmly establishing Ta’ Challa’s place alongside Blade, Luke Cage and the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish in the pop culture thesaurus of badass black superheroes – I’m talking one minute and 53 seconds of epic electric African folklore set to Run The Jewels – What?!?! I’ve watched the teaser about 10 dozen times (incidentally) and figured I’d share some of my thoughts as well as cue you in on the backgrounds and names of the characters, locations and elements from the comics that are confirmed to appear in the film so far.

The teaser opens with two characters briefly introduced in earlier entries in the MCU. Everett K. Ross, first seen in Captain America: Civil War and portrayed by Sherlock’s Martin Freeman, and Ulysses Klaue, portrayed by Andy Serkis’ human form, last seen getting a proper PG-13 dismembering in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is important as he’s rumored to get some sort of mechanical transplant at some point in the film, not dissimilar to the sonic emitter he uses in place of an arm in the comics. In the teaser, Klaue reveals himself to be the only man to have seen Wakanda and survive.

For those of you not in the know, Wakanda is a land considered by most to be a negligible third world country whilst covertly operating as the most technologically advanced nation in the world, due in part to a meteorite containing vibranium (the stuff Captain America’s shield is made of) that crash landed on its surface some thousands of years ago. All of their technological advancements have been achieved independently of the outside world, which makes their computers and tech virtually unhackable. Though a map highlighting Wakanda’s location can be seen in the background of 2010’s Iron Man 2 , Black Panther seems to verify a world wherein very little is known about the country.

Ryan Coogler does a masterful job realizing its radiant environments. In direct contrast with the drab torpid depiction of Africa seen in last year’s The Legend of Tarzan, Coogler’s vision of Africa is spirited and steeped in mysticism. The first notable shot of the teaser features what appears to be Ta Challa’s personal aircraft, The Royal Talon Fighter, as it glides above the denizens that make up the many tribes that inhabit Wakanda. Chiefly of these is Zuri, a minor character in the comics to be sure, usually depicted as a trusted ally of Ta Challa’s father Ta Chaka and Thor, oddly enough. The casting of Oscar award-winning actor Forest Whitaker suggests he is set to play a more central role in the film. There’s a quick shot of him brewing a substance I surmise to be a version of the heart-shaped herb, a plant found exclusively in Wakanda that was mutated by the VIbranium meteorite, that endows Black Panthers their superhuman abilities in the comics.  

We also get our first look at Malice in the teaser, alternatively known as Nakia, played by the always delightful Lupita Nyong’o. In the film, she is a member of the Dora Milaje, who you might remember from their cursory scene in Captain America: Civil War – ”Move or you will be moved.” They are the best of the best warrior women hailing from each tribe from Wakanda that serve as the Black Panthers personal protectors and potential mates. All indications suggest Lupito will suffice as a love interest for T’Challa despite her character being a villain in the comics.

As for now, the primary villain seems to be Erik Killmonger, who we first see unmasked as he enters Ta Challa’s throne room ahead of W’Kabi, played by Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya. Killmonger is an inspired choice to contend with our hero in his first onscreen outing, considering he is the sort of Deathstroke to Black Panther’s Batman. He’s a brilliant martial artist, technological genius and his motives are typically charged by exile and revenge. The supervillain will be played by Michael B. Jordan, marking the actor's third time working with director Ryan Coogler. Noteworthy Black Panther rival and leader of the mountain tribe Manape, played by Winston Duke, can also be seen toward the end of the trailer, which to me indicates that this Wakanda is one of civil unrest, a hunch further solidified by a shot of various tribes depicted with their weapons drawn seemingly on the edge of conflict.  The snowy mountainous region seen in the teaser is most likely that of Man Ape's crew, as the same shot showcases a visibly distressed Romanda (Ta Challa’s step mother) portrayed by Angela Bassot.

The last stretch of the teaser features Black Panther summoning some sort of concussive blast whilst rocking a slicker version of the suit than we’ve seen previously, which means he gets an upgrade at some point, most probably thanks to his half sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. This assumption is based on comments Coogler made to Entertainment Weekly regarding her intelligence, which he says is on par with Tony Stark. He also made mention of her years of experience researching and experimenting with vibranium. This might be an explanation for the Panther gauntlets she’s seen wielding earlier on in the teaser.

Black Panther is in good hands. The cast features a welcomed coalition of seasoned actors and promising up and comers, not the least of which includes its star, Chadwick Boseman, who made an impressive debut last year in Civil War.The film doesn’t hit theaters until February 2018, but I promise to give it a 10 out of 10 if Ta Challa throws up a black power fist at any point in the movie.

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