In virtually every promo for Marvel’s Black Panther, there’s been a slow-motion shot of the Chadwick Boseman’s titular hero avoiding a car explosion by back-flipping onto another vehicle. As a clip that debuted today on Ellen shows us, that purple blast isn’t coming from some botched attempt to kill the king of Wakanda; it’s a function of the Black Panther suit.
The costume, created by T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), is bulletproof and has the ability to store kinetic energy so the wearer can later redistribute it, clearly with violent force. Other functions of the suit have yet to be revealed, but are visually indicated by the color patterns along its body and forehead.
Across various forms of media, the functions of the Black Panther suit vary with each interpretation. More often than not, it’s simply bulletproof and possesses retractable claws. In the 2012 animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, he was able to use weapons such as Vibranium daggers. The ability to summon the suit organically is spawned from the first issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current Marvel Comics run; its organic nature also applies to his enemy in the film, Erik Killmonger, who will become the Golden Jaguar.
Arriving in theaters on Feb. 16, director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Guira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, and Angela Bassett.
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