Should one man have all that power? Probably not. The new trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther , a second vibranium-weaved panther costume, which could mean that there’s more than one individual who holds the name “Black Panther” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented in the comics.
In Monday’s trailer for Black Panther, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to his kingdom of Wakanda after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Upon his return (or, at least, that’s how this trailer is edited to look), T’Challa reunites with his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who shows him a second Black Panther suit.
In all likelihood, this is nothing more than a costume upgrade for T’Challa, similar to Iron Man’s many, many suits. But, it also opens the door for Shuri to become Black Panther, just as she did in the comics.
In the Marvel Universe, the name “Black Panther” isn’t a self-adopted identity, like “Wolverine.” Rather, it’s a ceremonial title granted to the chief of the Panther Tribe, the ruling tribe of the advanced, isolated African nation Wakanda. And for a long time, T’Challa held the title of Black Panther, going back to his very first appearance in Fantastic Four in 1966.
But then, in 2005, writer Reginald Hudlin introduced Shuri in his era-defining run on Black Panther. In 2009, during the Marvel crossover Dark Reign, a comatose T’Challa forced Shuri to step up as the new Black Panther in order to stop the supernatural villain Morlun from annihilating Wakanda.
While the MCU doesn’t appear to be imitating the Dark Reign storyline, this continuity does have a history of creating new superheroes from hand-me-down costumes. It’s pretty much how Rhodey became War Machine in the Iron Man movies, after all.
And really, it is just plain exciting, especially for fans who yearn to see more female superheroes, that there could be a female Black Panther. If Shuri does get to wear the costume, you can add one more superheroine to join Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson in her pitch for a Lady Liberators movie.
Marvel’s Black Panther, from director Ryan Coogler, will be released on February 16, 2018.