There was a lot to cheer about when Marvel unveiled the first trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War’, not the least of which was seeing the various heroes of the established Marvel Cinematic Universe taking different sides in the focal conflict. But with everything going on, one figure seemed to steal the show, the Black Panther!
Marvel Studios president discussed the need for a third party in the conflict between Iron Man and Cap and how the discussion led to the cinematic introduction of Black Panther:
“We kept talking about ‘Somebody like Black Panther …’ After the third or fourth time that came up in a development meeting, someone said, ‘Can’t we just do the Black Panther?’ And we all looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, I guess we could. We introduce him here, give him an arc, and make him a full character. We don’t just give him a cameo, to wave. He has his own conflict and his own people that he’s looking out for.”
Chadwick Boseman will make his debut in ‘Civil War’ before going on to headline his own movie in February of 2018. What makes the character so special? Well, in the comics, he was the first black super hero, a distinction the movie version can’t share, as Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Anthony Mackie’s The Falcon both preceded him. Even so, this hero is the king of a fictional north African country, Wakanda which is the world’s only source of Vibranium, an indestructible metal of which Captain America’s shield is crafted.
Boseman explained the metal, saying:
“The Vibranium is a metal that is dynamic. It can change how it’s used. It’s not a liquid, but it has the ability to change shape and change form and still have its strength. I think there a lot of things about that in the mythology that I think has a lot of potential in terms of the storytelling… It’s not just about being durable, it has the ability to absorb energy. It’s not just like you hit it and it doesn’t take it. It has the ability to absorb the attack of another person and repel or respond to that attack. That’s part of the power.”
Speaking of Vibranium, Black Panther’s suit and weaponry is laced with the material, making him pretty tough, which he will need to be to stand up against Captain America… or Iron Man… or both?
So where does this regal champion lie in regard to the titular conflict?
Executive producer Nate Moore says:
“He’s someone who hasn’t necessarily made up his mind about either side and whose agenda isn’t exactly what Cap’s agenda or what Tony’s agenda is. And I think that brings him into conflict weirdly with both characters at different times in the film. He is the prince of an African nation that has so far stayed very much sort of in the shadows. And eventually the film will draw him and his father out of the shadows.”
Not too far out of the shadows, though as Boseman teases that his role remains a man of mystery:
“He’s definitely not the life of the party in this instance. I think this is something true of the comic book character and the movie. You never quite know where he stands. There’s always a bit of concealing and mystery. So I think mysterious is more his boat. Not to say there’s not charm and he can’t be a ladies’ man and all that. It’s more like if there is humor, it’s more like James Bond.”
“There definitely is a sort of tradition that he’s torn between, in terms of how things were done in the past and how things need to happen now in this new world. I think there’s perhaps a bit of a maverick there, and then there’s also a need to live up to traditions and his father’s legacy. And not even his father’s legacy, but the entire nation of Wakanda. I think those are the things you will see.”
According to the trailer, Black Panther definitely finds himself in conflict with Chris Evans’ Captain America at some point. Despite their conflict, Evans sees certain commonalities between the two men:
“I love our scenes together because I do think they feel a sense of responsibility. I think they’re both very selfless people. They want the right thing, no one’s irrational, no one has an inflated ego. They’re family-first people. I think outside of the suits we’d be friends, Steve and T’Challa.”
Are you ready to see the Black Panther come to life? What comic book elements would you like to see translated to the big screen?