Black Panther: All You Need to Know

Chadwick Boseman squeezes himself into the Black Panther suit as T’Challa. Here’s your quickfire guide to the hero set to break the comic-book mould.

His time is now

For such a compelling character, it’s baffling that Black Panther has spent 52 years loitering on the fringes of the Marvel universe. The character was first inked in a 1966 Fantastic Four comic, making him the first superhero of African descent and a social trailblazer.

"Black Panther is such an interesting character,” says co-creator and executive producer, Stan Lee, “that is going to be a different thing for the audience when this [movie] screens. He’s special…"

T’Challa isn’t just a fascinating character, he’s a culturally important one.

There’s the fact that T’Challa isn’t just a hero and a public figure, he’s a goddamn king, and a king of one of the Marvel universe’s most powerful and advanced nations. He is an ultimate figure of dignified heroism.

He's Marvel most overqualified hero

Hulk has the bulk. Spidey has the web-slingers. But when it comes to skill-set, T’Challa leaves them all standing. Fortified by the so-called ‘heart-shaped herb’, this warrior-king boasts:

    • Vein-bulging strength
    • Sharpened reflexes
    • Animalistic senses
    • Accelerated healing and dogged stamina

And, as if that weren’t enough, the Panther goes to war in a sacred vibranium suit that has the ability to

    • Change shape
    • Absorb the attack of another person
    • Hide in the shadows

The amazing world of Wakanda

Prepare yourself to be introduced to a completely new world. As Doctor Strange took us into the new territories of magic in the MCU, Black Panther is now opening the horizons to hidden civilizations in our existing world. 

“Black Panther” is a title given to the king of fictional African country Wakanda. Thanks to a meteorite crashing during the reign of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, Wakanda has come to be known as the world’s primary source of vibranium—the metal from which Captain America’s shield is constructed.

Fearing the inevitable attempts by outsiders to exploit the country for this rare resource, T’Chaka chose to isolate Wakanda from the outside world. He and his son went on to transform the nation into one of the most technologically advanced countries on the planet. 

Cool sidekicks

Every self-respecting hero needs his sidekicks, and you’ll already be tantalised by a supporting cast who look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a steampunk graphic novel. Okoye (Danai Gurira) is the ferocious spear-lobbing leader of the Dora Milaje special forces, Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia is the sly undercover agent, seductive old flame and self-described “war dog”.

As the tech whizz who creates the Black Panther suit, Letitia Wright’s Shuri is like a more-glamorous version of Desmond Llewelyn’s Q, while Martin Freeman shows his range as CIA spook Everett Ross.

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