Following the debut of the Captain America: Civil War trailer last week, which gave us the first look at new Marvel superhero Black Panther, Entertainment Weekly has dropped a profile with some semi-vague but still substantial new information about the character:
Black Panther will get his own still-directorless Marvel movie in 2018, but he’ll pop up in Civil War when it’s released on May 6, 2016.
But don’t expect Black Panther to show up in some measly cameo like Tom Holland’s new Spider-Man. Instead, Black Panther — who is played by actor Chadwick Boseman and whose name is T’Challa in the comics and the movies — will play a potentially major role alongside Cap and Iron Man.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio’s president, told EW that initial story meetings for *Civil War were marred by the fact that the story needed a third major character for Captain America and Iron Man to bounce off. This makes it seem like the character is positioned as the sort of crux of the story like Spider-Man was in the comics.
“We kept talking about ‘Somebody like Black Panther,” Feige explained. “After the third or fourth time that came up in a development meeting, someone said, ‘Can’t we just do the Black Panther?’”
That forced the Marvel brain-trust to rethink how the character was introduced. Instead of teasing the character in one movie only to give that character their own standalone installment like its done before, Black Panther will be a full fledged character in Civil War. “We introduce him here, give him an arc, and make him a full character,” Feige said. “We don’t just give him a cameo, to wave. He has his own conflict and his own people that he’s looking out for.”
So basically this means Civil War will be Black Panther .5, and wherever he ends up will lead into his own movie, which won’t be yet another bland origin story.
In other Black Panther news, National Book Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who recently signed on to write a new run of Black Panther comics, offered some new details about his take on the character in a blog post for The Atlantic. Thankfully, the writer seems to have a firm grasp on things.
“My nightmare basically involves this turning into some sort of stunt or vanity project,” he said in the essay. “I did not take this on to look pretty, or add a line to my CV. I took it on for the same reason I take on new stories — to grow intellectually and artistically.”
What can readers expect for T’Challa and his superhero personality from Coates? He and artist Brian Stelfreeze are adding what the writer refers to as the ability to create a “force-push.”
“We came up with some new ideas for how T’Challa’s famed Vibranium-weave suit might work — in this case, absorbing kinetic energy and allowing him to fire that energy back out in short energy bursts,” he said. He also reassured that everything that made Black Panther the Black Panther they know and love would remain the same. “All the old powers are there — enhanced senses, agility, peak-human strength etc.”
Skeptics should rest easy. It looks like Black Panther is in the right hands both on- and off-screen.