Before Black Panther: 15 Things To Know About The Super Hero King
Before you run to the theaters and see Marvel’s “Black Panther” (and you will all haul ass!) there are some of you that should get a quick course on the hero and some parts of his back story. There are no spoilers here so be easy, shorty. This is a guide to help the uninitiated get through this movie just a bit easier. The Ryan Coogler-directed saga has already broken pre-sale records for superhero movies and is presently clawing its way up on “The Hunger Games” (2012) and “Beauty and the Beast” (2017). This movie is more than a mere movie - it's an event.
Groups of people (OK, BLACK PEOPLE!) are gleefully preparing to don traditional African clothing and Afrofuturistic garb to their various outings. Others are swept up in the mania, as “Black Panther” has garnered the best Rotten Tomatoes rating for a superhero movie since Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” over a decade ago. Let it be known, Dark Knight continues to be the gold standard of excellence, but Black Panther is a natural breaker of tradition. There is a new dark knight, people.
Unlike Batman, the story of Black Panther has not been regurgitated over and over and over through the annals of time and space. Here are 15 items to help you grasp the movie when you undoubtedly step into the theater.
Black Panther Was the First Black Superhero In Mainstream Comics
Superman. Batman. Spider-man. The Hulk. Iron-man. Captain America. And Wonder Woman. Black Panther was the first major superhero in comics. He came well before Luke Cage (Power Man), The Falcon, John Stewart (Green Lantern) and Black Lightning.
The Black Panther Was Created By Two Revolutionary White Guys!
The Black Panther was created by Stan Lee (writer/editor) and Jack Kirby (artist/editor). Clearly they saw the greatness of Africa as well as the parallels the advanced civilization has to history. They took it a step further in the height of racial tension and revolutionary activity by Black people at that time. They gave T’Challa superior intellect, strength, advanced technology and more money than even Tony Stark! The character was like Mansa Musa, the richest person in history, Hannibal, the greatest military leader and the ancient Egyptians all rolled into one body. Kudos to Lee and Kirby for blessing us with such a powerful hero king.
The Black Panther Pre-Dates The Formation Of The Black Panther Party
I was astounded when I found out that the first major Black comic hero was created before the revolutionaries of the same name. That’s right, the Black Panther - Wakanda’s king - was created in 1966 months before the Black Panther Party For Self Defense. The Black Panther first came in July of 1966 in the Fantastic Four (#52) and The Black Panther Party would shake up the world in another way in October of 1966. Shout out to Bobby Seale and Fred Hampton! The two entities did not stand in solidarity or anything like that. (For the record, The Black Panther Party was not named after the superhero.)
The Black Panther Fell Back Due To The Black Panther Party
Unlike Wakanda and T’Challa, America was super real and extremely cruel to the Black Panther party. The party, who implemented a lot of community-based initiatives, were treated like terrorists while real terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan were permitted to permeate society freely. Co-creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby temporarily changed the Black Panther to Black Leopard in 1972 to make sure real-world politics did not mix with the fictional world they had created.
We May Get A Black Panther / X-Men Crossover
In my opinion, the “Black Panther” will be a massive success that the comic world has never seen before. Such a financial windfall will produce many positives, the most obvious being a sequel. However, Disney recently acquired all the Marvel assets from Fox (The X-men franchise, Deadpool, The Fantastic Four and more). In the comics, Black Panther, real name T’Challa, is married to Storm of the X-men, who is also African. The frequent leader of the X-Men and the ruler of Wakanda got married in a traditional Wakandan ceremony with super heros all over the place. I won’t tell you how things ended up since most people won’t read the book. Just know that this can happen now.Will it? Only time and Marvel will tell.
Wakanda Is The Most Advanced Nation In The World
Once upon a time in the Marvel universe, a meteor landed in the nation of Wakanda, smack dab in Africa. Vibranium was in that meteor and it help propel the nation forward. Wakanda continued their self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world and promoted an advanced understanding of Vibranium. In the movie, the knowledge and wisdom of Wakanda is put on center stage, as it is a central theme of the whole “Black Panther” movie.
Black Women Rock In Marvel's “Black Panther”
If the trailers were not clear, know that the women of “Black Panther” are the real stars of the movie. That is not to take anything from Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa, but the women are badass af! I have already gotten my daughter some toys from the movie and definitely want her to pay close attention to the tech-wiz Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister. Forget about damsels in distress, as they don’t exist in “Black Panther.” The Dora Milaje are Black Panther's security force and they are all ALL powerful sheroes. These warriors are well represented in the movie and really steal the show.
The Black Panther Is More Than A Superhero.
A Black Panther is a warrior that earns that position. In the movie, this notion is on full display. T'Challa goes through rigorous training, mentally, physically and more. He also presides over Wakanda as a leader, strategist, politician, scientist and much, much more.
Wakanda Helps White People :)
Wakanda has been able to strengthen itself and continue to be a powerhouse, because it has never been colonized by White people. But White folks have always needed Black people! Captain America’s famous shield is made of a nearly-indestructible hybrid of Vibranium-adamantium. So, that American shield actually has some African in it. Go figure. The Black Panther utilizes a Vibranium uniform that bullets bounce off, claws that slice through just about anything and even boots which kick a lot of butt. Wakanda has a lot to consider in “Black Panther,” namely how to expand its influence to better the rest of humanity.
The Black Panther Speaks In An African Accent...
In an interview, Chadwick Bosemen explained why Black Panther uses an African accent.
"Colonialism in Africa would have it that, in order to be a ruler, his education comes from Europe. I wanted to be completely sure that we didn't convey that idea because that would be counter to everything that Wakanda is about. It's supposed to be the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. If it's supposed to not have been conquered – which means that advancement has happened without colonialism tainting it, poisoning the well of it, without stopping it or disrupting it – then there's no way he would speak with a European accent."
Wesley Snipes Deserves More Credit, But It Is Complicated
When Wesley Snipes was at the height of his success, he wanted to play the Black Panther on the big screen. He made that reveal in June of 1992. Here is what The Hollywood Reporter stated: “Yet, some 25 years ago, it was a much different story. Snipes' uphill battle was plagued with script re-writes, director uncertainty, storytelling clashes and inadequate CG capabilities needed to truly bring the marvelous fictional African nation of Wakanda to life.”
It was not meant to be, but Snipes successfully jump-started Marvel in movies with the highly heralded “Blade” trilogy in 1998. The series paved the way for the X-Men, Spider-man and The Hulk on the big screen. Ultimately, his efforts as a Black vampire - rather than an African king - saved Marvel, which declared bankruptcy in 1996.
Read the whole story here on how the 1992 Black Panther saga never came to life: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/black-panther-wesley-snipes-reveals-untold-story-behind-90s-film-1078868
Black Panther Was Once A Woman!
Marvel’s “Black Panther” introduces Shuri (played by the adorable Letitia Wright), the sister of Black Panther, who is one of the breakout stars of the movie. also has gone through the rigors of training like her big brother. In the comic, we see her assume the role after some dramatic events mess with T’Challa.
Black Panther Has Been In Almost Every Marvel Super Team!
He has been in:
The X-Men (affiliated through marriage to Storm)
The Fantastic Force
Black Panther Is In The Illuminati
In the comics, The Illuminati are a group of superheroes that are super smart as well. They are not the clandestine and allegedly evil group that serve as the world’s puppet masters - again allegedly! Iron Man pull all of these heroes together to create a new government that decide the fate of the Earth on their level of intergalactic warfare.
Black Panther Is Rich AF!
He’s worth $90 trillion, more than anybody else in the Marvel or DC universes.
The Black Panther is here and he’s not going anywhere. The movie, the latest in a string of wins by Marvel, is set to hit theaters nationwide on February 16. The saga stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker and a gang of others incomparable talents.
Bonus: Black Panther also has continually fought good, ol' fashioned racism over the years.