Black Panther is one of the most important heroes in comics history. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, he was the first black superhero who wasn't a stereotype. King of Wakanda T’Challa showed fans that there was so much more to black people than what the world was portraying. Wakanda is a rich African country filled with warriors and far more technologically advanced than most. Over the years the character has only become more popular, prominently featuring in many of Marvel’s biggest events. His marriage to Storm and work with the Fantastic Four involves him in all facets of the Marvel universe.
Fans have been waiting a lifetime to see T’Challa on the big screen. When the Marvel Cinematic Universe was announced, everyone wondered how long it would take before he was introduced into the films. Actor Chadwick Boseman's game-changing entrance in Captain America: Civil War stole the show and sent anticipation for Black Panther soaring. It has sold more first day advance tickets than any other Marvel movie. Each trailer has only heightened the excitement, with fans leading crowdfunding campaigns for neighborhood screenings. To up the hype even more, here are the best memes to come out of Wakanda.
15 HE’S NOT QUICKSILVER
As the only character to appear in both the MCU and X-Men movies, it was only natural that Quicksilver was heavily scrutinized. His sad fate in Avengers: Age of Ultron just led to more jokes. A speedster who can't outrun bullets is kind of lame, especially considering the X-Men version saved nearly everyone from an exploding house. It gets even worse when you consider that non-powered heroes like Hawkeye and Black Widow survive bullet wounds and avoid getting shot all the time.
Black Panther will have no such problems, as the vibranium used in his suit makes it bulletproof. And also, he’s smart enough to have figured out a way to save everyone without sacrificing himself. Sadly for the Maximoff twins, Quicksilver will forever be the joke of the MCU.
14 IRON FIST WON’T SHUT UP
Yet another iteration of the “get this man” line involved one of Danny Rand’s most annoying habits. Most heroes like to keep their identities secret. Especially in the Netflix universe. Even though everyone knows who Luke Cage is, he doesn't go around announcing it. Unfortunately for viewers, Danny does repeatedly. If you played a drinking game whenever he said this, you would be on the floor by episode two.
Practically every time he meets someone in his series and The Defenders he tells them all about how he’s the Iron Fist. Not the best plan if you’re trying to avoid being killed by the Hand. It also lands him in a mental hospital, as no one believes his ridiculous story. Luckily T’Challa has some ideas on how he can change things for season two.
13 ROUGH YEAR
Toward the end of 2017 there was a lot of talk about what a terrible year it was. From crazy politics, to awful tragedies to natural disasters, 2017 was emotionally exhausting. Honestly it felt like there were so many days of bad news. One of the worst parts about 2017 was the comeback of openly hideous racism. It seems that we haven’t needed the Black Panther this much since his creation.
The only bright spot at the end of the tunnel was that moviegoers had 2018 to look forward to. It's the year of comic book movies and it all starts with Black Panther Feb. 16. Don’t forget, the movie will almost certainly feature the final Infinity Stone before Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters May 4. It's the dessert everyone deserves after making it through the terrible meal of last year.
12 VISION NEEDS PAPRIKA
T’Challa has a few memorable moments in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, but none more so than when he says about Cap, “someone get this man a shield!” It’s a great scene that immediately lets viewers know that Steve has been spending time in Wakanda and that Captain America and Black Panther are about to team up. It was the line that launched a thousand memes and the world is so much better off because of it.
This version calls back to Civil War where Vision tries to distract Wanda by cooking her favorite dish, only to discover he needs Paprika. T’Challa is all too happy to help. Though it’s not an important moment for Vision, it’s one of the many that show him trying to adapt to regular human life.
11 CIVIL WAR
Following The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War was the movie fans had been waiting for. After 12 films getting to know the MCU heroes, moviegoers would finally get to see the big screen version of Marvel’s most famous event: Team Cap vs Team Iron Man. Perhaps the most exciting part was the announcement that Black Panther would finally make his debut in the franchise.
The King of Wakanda did not disappoint. Chadwick Boseman’s regal, yet fierce presence stole every scene he was in and set up the character to play an integral role in the next phase of films. Civil War makes it clear Marvel Studios has big plans for T’Challa and the subsequent trailers for Black Panther and Infinity War have confirmed that fact.
10 LORD OF THE RINGS REUNION
Black Panther has one of the most epic casts in comic book movie history. Every role is played by a fan favorite from some of the most popular nerd obsessions. In a really crazy twist, the movie leads to a Lord of the Rings reunion. Martin Freeman (Everett Ross) was Bilbo in The Hobbit movies, while Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue) was Gollum. The two actors will finally get to reunite when they end up on opposite sides in Wakanda.
In Black Panther, Freeman’s Ross is a diplomat working as a liaison in Wakanda hoping to find out more about the country. Serkis is returning as arms dealer and all around bad guy Klaw. From the trailer we know they have at least one scene together, so Lord of the Rings fans have another reason to be excited about Black Panther.
9 BLACK PANTHER FACTS
Since his creation in 1966 there has not been a more important time for the Black Panther to have a big mainstream push. Seeing a brilliant, powerful black man who defied stereotypes and came from a wealthy, technologically advanced African nation was such a big impact at the height of the civil rights movement.
Once again we have come to a point in time when a role model like T’Challa needs to be seen by as many eyes as possible. It’s very uplifting to see the level of excitement for the movie across all walks of life. The MCU has been known to sugarcoat its stories, so it's good to hear from Kevin Feige that the movie plans to honor the hero’s history and influence.
8 ROBERT DOWNEY JR. CAMEO
As the one who started it all, Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in more MCU movies than anyone else. Tony Stark is the public face of The Avengers, so he shows up everywhere. While there are a few white actors in the cast of Black Panther, it’s understandable that the movie stars mostly black actors. That means Downey will need to work extra hard to blend in in Wakanda.
It seems Downey already has the perfect character for this. His overly method Australian actor Kirk Lazarus from Tropic Thunder. He spends the entire movie in character as a black man. Only Downey could turn this completely offensive premise into a hilarious Oscar nominated performance. You just know Kirk would go all in to get into a Marvel movie.
7 MICHAEL B. JORDAN IS IN A GOOD MARVEL MOVIE
Michael B. Jordan is an immensely talented actor who’s showcased his skills in films like Creed, Fruitvale Station and Chronicle. The one major blemish on his resume is his first go round in a Marvel property, Fantastic Four. He played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the worst Fantastic Four movie (yeah it's that bad). Jordan did the best he could with the awful story he was given, but frankly no one could have saved that project.
In Black Panther he’s the villain Killmonger. A rival of T’Challa who thinks the throne should be his. Other than Loki, the MCU hasn’t had the nest track record with its villains, so here’s hoping Killmonger breaks the cycle. Early buzz says his performance is one of the film’s highlights, so maybe he can erase the Fantastic Four from the history books. It worked for Chris Evans.
6 BLACK PANTHER’S POWERS
Nerds have been debating for years who is the most powerful superhero. While it usually comes down to Batman vs Superman. Here is the very solid argument for Black Panther.
His connection to the Panther God provides him a great deal of abilities including super strength, speed, healing and immunity to magic. However, many of T’Challa’s most valuable powers come from his lifelong training in martial arts, hunting and tracking. Add in his brilliance and wealth and it's clear who has the real power. His appearance in Civil War didn’t allow time to showcase all of his abilities, so we really hope the movie explores all of these in some shape or form. He’s essentially Batman and Superman combined into one hero. He’s even a king!
5 BLACK PANTHER VS FALCON
Anytime he’s on-screen, Anthony Mackie is the funniest person in the scene. His interactions with Bucky in Civil War are the highlight of the movie. However, he has this one small moment the first time he meets the Black Panther. His initial thought is to say “you like cats?” This is so funny because as the Falcon, Sam hears nothing but bird jokes and no one probably ever makes cat jokes about the king. As a matter of fact, he is even accused of wearing a bird costume.
Everything comes to a hilarious head, since we’ve all been taught by Saturday morning cartoons that cats want to eat birds. One can only imagine things will get even funnier when Sam finally goes to Wakanda in Infinity War.
4 T’CHALLA IS THE LION KING
The Disney classic The Lion King is beloved around the world for its themes of family and courage. Perhaps it's so well loved because it's familiar. When you stop and think about it, T’Challa is an African prince who must come to terms with his destiny to lead his people after the death of his father. He’s even surrounded by a cool group of friends who help him fight a usurper to the throne.
Disney is making a new version of The Lion King, but perhaps Marvel will beat them to it with Black Panther. Throw in a couple catchy Elton John songs and the stories are the same. We’ve already seen Chadwick Boseman sing and dance on-screen as James Brown, so he obviously has the chops. Someone start working on the mash up immediately.
3 SNYDER VS WHEDON
Following the release of Justice League, there was a lot of controversy over the differing styles of the film’s two directors. Zack Snyder is known for his darker, more adult approach, while Joss Whedon has made blending humor and sci-fi into a genre all its own. In Justice League the two styles were a stark contrast to one another, causing a confused finished product.
It stands to reason that a Snyder Black Panther would be wildly different from a Whedon Black Panther. It's not hard to imagine that Snyder’s movie would be edgier with more violence, and Whedon’s would have comedy and be more family friendly. Though it’s fun to imagine, in the end it will be far more exciting to see Ryan Coogler’s actual vision.
2 T’CHALLA FACTS
If there’s one thing Black Panther will do, it will finally let the whole world, not just comic book fans, understand just how awesome T’Challa is. He basically has the abilities of every major superhero combined. Due to Wakanda’s vibranium deposits and technological advances, it’s an extremely wealthy country that doesn’t need to rely on outside help. As a nation of warriors, it is also fully capable of defending itself against any attacks.
As its King, T’Challa has the powers of the Black Panther including heightened senses and athletic ability. However, he has also spent his life training in martial arts, learning languages, expanding his scientific knowledge and becoming a skilled diplomat. Yeah, Tony Stark has nothing on Black Panther and it’s time he found out.
1 T’CHALLA HELPS THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
T’Challa’s “get this man” line is taken to new heights by mashing it up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians have a lot of problems, most of them serious and emotional, a few of them ridiculous. However, the team is usually able to laugh at their issues and that’s exactly what happens when T’Challa tries to solve all their problems. Though, no one actually wants Groot to learn more words. He’s perfect the way he is.
Maybe the only one that seems out of place is Star-Lord’s, since his father turned out to be a homicidal maniac who killed children from across the galaxy. Not really a joking subject. While we’re at it, the death of Drax’s family isn’t funny either, but the Guardians don’t seem to have any boundaries, so why should we?