When King T’Chaka perished due to the actions of Crossbones and company in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, some True Believers may have assumed that we were seeing T’challa don the mantle of the Black Panther for the first time since comic book history tells us that the King of Wakanda is also the African nation’s masked defender. However, some new information has been recently revealed that things work a bit differently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Following the book’s release earlier this week, MCU Exchange pointed out that the first issue of ‘Marvel’s Black Panther Prelude’ by Will Corona Pilgrim and Annapaola Martello shed some light on the customs connected to the titular title. Apparently, the king is able to pass on the designation as he sees fit. This actually makes a ton of sense since the king was up there in age when we first met him, so he probably wouldn’t be running around as a vigilante. But that begs the question then, exactly how long has T’Challa been under the mask? This page from the premiere installment has the answer:

Yup, that’s Tony Stark’s iconic press conference from the end of ‘Iron Man’. The King and Prince of Wakanda were watching the news coverage of the announcement. Then, the father expressed how proud he was of his son for adapting so quickly to being the Black Panther after only a week. That means that T’Challa and Tony have been doing the superhero thing for nearly a decade as the events of ‘Civil War’ are said to take place roughly eight years after the inception of the MCU in ‘Iron Man’. (Although, it’s hard to really confirm the official MCU timeline as even Marvel Overlord Kevin Feige seems to be fuzzy on the exact details.) 

Though the specific dates may be a little fuzzy, it’s an undisputed fact that T’Challa is no rookie. He’s been honing his skills as the Black Panther for some time. So as we’ve seen in the trailers up to this point, the bad guys like Erik Killmonger and Ulysses Claue have plenty to worry about.

Now, as we anxiously wait for his own feature film to premiere, let us know in the comments below what you’re most excited to see from T’Challa as he ascends to the throne and becomes the warrior king we all know and love in ‘Black Panther’ early next year. 

‘Black Panther’ starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Winston Duke, and Andy Serkis hits theaters on February 16, 2018.