Black Panther: official synopsis, cast details, release date and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Black Panther release date: February 16, 2018 (US)/February 9, 2018 (UK)
  • Director: Ryan Coogler
  • Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Michael B Jordan
  • Writers: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole

Black Panther movie has begun filming and will follow on from Civil War

(Image: © Marvel)

The Black Panther movie’s release date was brought forward to February 2018 because it plays a key part in setting up April 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, ‘linking’ to that story according to Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Filming on Black Panther has begun as of January 2017, and is being shot in Atlanta and South Korea. Creed director Ryan Coogler is at the helm, and he co-wrote the script with Joe Robert Cole. Black Panther was first announced in October 2014 alongside the casting of Chadwick Boseman, when Marvel outlined its ambitious plans for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Black Panther cast features Star Wars and The Walking Dead stars

Chadwick Boseman, introduced as the new king of fictional African nation Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War, returns to the role of T’Challa. He’s joined by a huge ensemble cast, which was confirmed as final as of January 2017 when filming began.

Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead’s Michonne) plays Okoye and Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia, who together form the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s well-trained personal bodyguards. In this movie, it’s been reported that Okoye will be the leader of the Dora Milaje, and that Nakia will have a ‘complicated’ relationship with her.

Michael B Jordan plays Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, reuniting him with Coogler after the two worked together on his previous pictures, Fruitvale Station and Creed. Forest Whitaker joined the cast as Zuri, one of Wakanda's elder statesman. Daniel Kaluuya was also added as a confidant of T'Challa's.

Martin Freeman reprises his role as Everett Ross from Civil War, as expected, since the character emerges from the pages of Marvel's Black Panther comics. Civil War scene stealer Florence Kasumba as Ayo, another of the Dora Milaje is also in the movie (she wasn't named as such in the third Captain America movie). Also seen in the MCU before was Andy Serkis, who plays Klaw again. You might remember he was last seen selling vibranium in Avengers: Age of Ultron about two years ago, before he had his hand sliced off by Ultron. 

Winston Duke reportedly plays another villain in the movie, too, M'Baku. Letitia Wright has also been added to the cast in an unknown role. Angela Bassett will be playing Ramonda, T’Challa's mother. John Kani reprises his role as the deceased T'Chaka from Civil War, presumably in flashback. Rounding out the cast is Emmy-winning actor Sterling K Brown, who plays N'Jobu.

The Black Panther trailer: when to expect it

With filming beginning in 2017, there was nothing to show of the movie at Comic Con last year, and Marvel chose to focus on the cast reveals. Expect your first trailer glance of Black Panther’s standalone to debut alongside one of Marvel’s 2017 movies - most likely, Spider-Man Homecoming or Thor Ragnarok, in July or October respectively, based on how the timeframe of these things usually pans out. Spider-Man seems more plausible.

Black Panther's story is about a Wakandan civil war

Black Panther's official plot synopsis was recently released by Marvel, and unsurprisingly suggests that T'Challa will be tested in his new dual role as king and Wakanda's protector.

"Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk." 

This film will explore Wakanda as a setting and a culture - essentially, it’s a whole new part of the MCU we haven’t seen yet, outside of the post-credits scene to Captain America: Civil War, which suggested that Wakanda will face external threats in its near future. 

Coogler has described Black Panther as his ‘most personal film’. “We start with who T’Challa is,” Coogler told “He’s an African King, he inherited his throne, and that’s the most important thing about him... That’s the biggest job that he has, and how that affects his personal life and how that affects the country that he’s in charge of, it kind of lends itself to its own story that is so different from anything that we’ve ever seen.” 

The Black Panther villain: who is Erik Killmonger? 

This is the key difference between Black Panther and most other superheroes (Aquaman and Namor are exceptions): he rules his own nation, and is responsible for all of his people. Comic book stories featuring the hero of late have focused on that part of Black Panther’s DNA. What we know from the comics about Erik Killmonger (who'll be played by Fantastic Four's Michael B. Jordan), is that he’s previously competed with T’Challa for the right to rule Wakanda. 

Black Panther's cameos might see the Winter Soldier return

It’s not a Marvel film without a cameo or two from other parts of that universe. Civil War points in the direction of at least one possible appearance in Black Panther: the Winter Soldier, or Bucky, played by Sebastian Stan from the Captain America movies. In the post-credits sequence of Civil War, we saw T’Challa put one-armed Bucky into a kind of cryogenic freeze state in a Wakandan lab - the choice of location is unlikely to be an accident. 

I don’t personally think Black Panther needs an appearance from Bucky to provide, say, some extra firepower in a pinch, which on the surface is where his presence would make the most sense. The opportunity to highlight how different Wakanda is from the rest of the MCU is surely enough meat for the foundation of this movie - then again, Marvel likely wouldn’t have left Bucky there without some eventual plan to bring him back (Sebastian Stan has a long nine-picture contract for Marvel movies). Could Black Panther mark his next appearance? Homecoming! Train car!

Related Black Panther news

Black Panther's T'challa is a leader "on a continent that has a lot of political tension" says director

Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan "feels safe taking risks" as villain

Black Panther confirms three new cast members (including The Walking Dead's Michonne) and January 2017 start date

Black Panther's Lupita Nyong'o reveals new plot details

The Winter Soldier may return in Black Panther, says Sebastian Stan