- 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
The Black Panther movie will follow on from Civil War
Black Panther will finally bring a black superhero to the forefront of an MCU movie, after a brief but important role for T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War. Played by Chadwick Boseman, this time he’s trying to bring peace and stability to his kingdom of Wakanda, while likely setting up certain events for Avengers: Infinity War. It’s got an incredible cast, including new stars like Star War: The Last Jedi's Lupita Nyong'o and Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, as well as acting legends such as Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker.
The question is, how will this affect the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let’s answer that and more as we look at everything we know about the Black Panther movie so far.
The Black Panther movie release date is next year
The Black Panther release date has moved around since its initial November 3, 2017 slot. At the time only its star, Chadwick Boseman, had been confirmed and Marvel had made it clear that minority filmmakers were being considered, with Selma director Ava DuVernay a strong early contender. While Kevin Feige confirmed there had been talks between the two, she eventually passed. Difficulty finding a director then pushed the release date to July 6, 2018, before Creed director Ryan Coogler stepped up and production started, bring the final release date to February 2018 - specifically February 9 in the UK and February 16 in the US. That places it, like Thor: Ragnarok, before Avengers: Infinity War's May release date meaning it's likely going to have at least some part in setting that massive movie up. The Winter Soldier, Bucky, for example, is currently on ice in Wakanda and we know he’ll play a role in Infinity War. Plus, one of the Infinity Stones Thanos is after is in the African country.
The Black Panther movie trailer really is THAT cool
Marvel is taking some talent risks with some of its later phase movies. Taika Waititi's colourful take on Thor: Ragnarok for example is a stylistic leap from previous films. And Creed director Ryan Coogler appears to be doing something equally different with Black Panther - teasing a Wakanda full of amazing costumes, technology, political intrigue, and conflicted characters. It's interesting that so much of the focus is on the cast as a whole, with Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa taking a back seat and suggesting a big ensemble piece along the lines of the Avengers films.
On top of the trailer, the audience at San Diego Comic Con 2017 got to see a scene from the movie, which showed T'Challa and his Dora Milaje personal guard entering an underground casino incognito. In it, Andy Serkis' Klaue (now with a fancy robo arm replacing the one Ultron accidentally cut off) and Martin Freeman's Everett K Ross are apparently conducting an illicit deal for vibranium.
Everything goes south when T'Challa and his team's cover is blown. It looks like Ross is working for good guys though as he's saved as the fight break out (he's a longstanding Black Panther ally, with his origins in the Black Panther comics). Klaue's arm is revealed to be a - gasp - energy weapon and that's... where the footage cuts out.
The Black Panther movie plot - what is it about?
Here's the official Black Panther movie synopsis :
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with CIA agent Everett K Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
That clarifies what star Lupita Nyong'o previously had to say: "The story of this Black Panther is – what am I allowed to say? – that the Black Panther's leadership is really threatened by two foes who come together, and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milaje to try and defeat the enemy." However, some rumours point to Ulysses Klaue being the main threat in the movie.
Whatever the plot ends up being, we know this will link to Avengers: Infinity War in some way. Firstly, everything in the MCU links together, but secondly several Black Panther cast members are set to appear in Infinity War, including Chad Boseman, Winston Duke, and Danai Gurira. Sebastian Stan, the Winter Soldier, will also resurface in the next Avenger's movie, after last seen being taken into the Black Panther's care. Currently we've one Infinity Stone left to find - the Soul Stone. So far we've seen the Space Stone in Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers: Age of Ultron gave us the Mind Stone, The Reality Stone turned up in Thor: The Dark World, and the Time Stone appeared in Doctor Strange. If the Soul Stone is in Wakanda it would explain the large cast cross over.
The Black Panther movie director is Creed’s Ryan Coogler
While there’s been talk of a Black Panther movie since Wesley Snipes first announced an interest in 1992, the version we know today has only been around since October 2013 when Kevin Feige reconfirmed its development as part of the MCU. Marvel made it clear from the start that it wanted minority representation in both the cast and crew for one of its most prominent black characters. Selma and A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay was the studio’s first choice, and there were talks to try and get her on board. However, while she seemed pleased to be asked she ultimately passed, stating, “we had different ideas about what the story would be.” Following that, both Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray and Fruitvale Station’s Ryan Coogler were in the running. However Gray went on to direct The Fate of the Furious, leaving Coogler, whose profile was helped out immensely after the success of Creed, to bag the job. Marvel confirmed Coogler as director in January 2016 and production finally started.
The Black Panther movie cast includes Star Wars alumni
There's an incredible collection of talent in Black Panther, with Chadwick Boseman reprising his Civil War role as T'Challa himself, while Creed and Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan plays Killmonger, one of the film's big bads, with Winston Duke playing a second villain called M'Baku. Star War's Lupita Nyong'o and The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira play two of the Dora Milaje, the king's personal guard. Nyong'o plays Okoye, a loyal servant to the king while Gurira plays Nakia, also known as Malice in the comics, who turns bad and becomes one of the Panther's enemies. Angela Bassett is Ramonda, T'Challa's mother and Forest Whitaker is Zuri, a longstanding family friend and warrior. Then, helping tie it all into the MCU, are Martin Freeman, returning as Everett K. Ross as the (deep breath) Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Counterterrorism Center, and Andy Serkis, back again as black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue.
The Black Panther movie villains are a trio
There are two other villains from within Wakanda, joining the main external threat of Ulysses Klaue, which gives Black Panther a trio of baddies to contend with in this movie. First up is Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, a sort of anti-Panther with his own synthetic version of the heart-shaped herb, the plant that gives Black Panther his power. Then there's Winston Duke’s M'Baku a clan leader with different views on how the country should be run. T'Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman, has said that Klaue is the real villain of the movie, calling the vibranium-smuggling arms dealer the "Osama bin Laden of the movie." So it definitely sounds like Andy Serkis' character will be the big bad, with Killmonger and M'Baku running interference to create friction via sub plots.
The Black Panther movie poster looks powerful
So far we only have two Black Panther posters. The first highlights the Black Panther’s dual role as both hero and king, although it drew a little flack for its slightly inconsistent photoshop feel and composition. The second has introduced the kingdom of Wakanda in all it’s glory - to the outside world it’s a rich but straight-forward African state, while in actual fact it hides away it’s superior technology and power. This poster also gives us the movie’s current tagline, “Long live the King”.