It’s only appropriate I do this on the day one of the greatest Marvel movies is set to come out. Seriously one of the greatest Marvel superheroes. He wasn’t even Black Panther at first.
And he’s not like most heroes where his powers are given to him by accident or they just stumbled upon a super suit. No T’Challa was born into the Black Panther mantle. A quick history lesson on Black Panther.
” T’Challa is heir to the centuries-old ruling dynasty of the African kingdom Wakanda, and ritual leader of its Panther Clan. His mother died in childbirth, earning him the enduring hatred of his adopted elder brother, Hunter, who also resented T’Challa for supplanting him in the royal household. Hunter would become the White Wolf, leader of the Hatut Zeraze (Dogs of War), the Wakandan secret police. Their father T’Chaka remarried, but his second wife, Ramonda, seemingly ran away with another man when T’Challa was eight. When T’Challa was a teenager, T’Chaka was murdered by Klaw, a Dutchman seeking to plunder the rare Vibranium metal unique to Wakanda, but T’Challa used Klaw’s own weapon to maim him and drive him off. T’Challa studied in Europe and America, then underwent ritual trials in Wakanda – including defeating his uncle S’yan, the existing Black Panther – to win the heart-shaped herb, enhancing his abilities and linking him spiritually to the Panther God Bast. Now Wakanda’s ruler as the Black Panther, he disbanded and exiled the Hatut Zeraze and continued transforming his country into a high-tech wonderland. When tribal war broke out, T’Challa restored peace by condemning the Jabari tribe, and by picking Dora Milaje (“Adored Ones”) from rival tribes to serve as his personal guard and ceremonial wives-in-training.” (Source)
Above is the official Marvel comics backstory for Black Panther. As we have seen in Civil War, T’challa takes over the mantle of Black Panther after his father dies during the Accords. Black Panther is the first mainstream black superhero (though there were technically others, BP was the first from a major publisher). T’Challa is one of the smartest heroes in the Marvel Universe. Black Panther PREDATES the Black Panther organization so people can stop saying that this movie glorifies them (totally different). Black Panther and Storm were the ultimate power couple in Marvel. Seriously, they were the perfect mix of power and elegance and on top of that, they were both royalty. To top it off, Wesley Snipes wanted to do Black Panther before finishing the Blade Trilogy. Ryan Parker and Aaron Couch wrote an awesome article about it. Check out the link here.
But what makes the Black Panther movie so special when there have been other black hero movies you may ask.
Yes, we’ve seen Blade, Spawn, Meteor Man and BlankMan. Yes we appreciate those films and what they meant for us as a people but none of them had the budget or marketing that this film has. Have you ever wanted to dress up as a superhero that looked like you? Not the masked heroes, I’m talking about the heroes that need no mask; ie: Superman, Wonderwoman, Thor, etc. It is wonderful to have characters that little black boys and girls can dress up as without being called “The black Superman” or “the Black Wonderwoman”. The can just be whoever that character is without being a black version of it.
So go out there and support a great film (I’m seeing it tonight). Be safe, have fun and most of all….Nerd Out!