Black Panther is set to be groundbreaking on many levels. It boasts a nearly all Black cast and crew, and it features the story of an African king and superhero. Its presale figures are through the roof, the toys being marketed look spectacular, and the reviews are effusing that Marvel Studios' Black Panther is a win.
Naturally, we don’t know much about the plot at this point, but we are anticipating impressive fight scenes. These fighters clearly won’t be just any fighters, so CBR is taking a look at the fighters of Wakanda to see what their potential roles will be.
The Hate Zeraze
Writer Christopher Priest’s run on the Black Panther comic, which lasted over 4 years and 50 issues, is considered essential reading for Black Panther fans. He is credited for bringing the Black Panther back in an exciting way for the turn of the century. One of the additions he made to Wakanda was the Hatut Zeraze, which translates to “the dogs of war.”
These War Dogs made their first appearance in Black Panther (Vol. 3) #4 when T’Challa already has his hands full with Achebe, a frequent Black Panther villain, and Mephisto, a frequent Marvel demon. Part of becoming the King is inheriting the Hatut Zeraze, who act as a Wakandan secret police.
The Hatut Zeraze serve at the pleasure of the King. However, T’Challa dismissed them because he doesn’t want murderous assassins to be a part of his government. The War Dogs claim to be loyalists to the throne, but they became mercenaries under the leadership of Hunter, the White Wolf.
Quick story on the White Wolf: He’s white, but he was also raised by T’Chaka after being orphaned by a plane crash. Obviously, before T’Challa’s birth, Hunter had some hopes to become king one day, but instead, T’Chaka appoints him as the leader of the Hatut Zeraze. So, getting dismissed by someone you consider to be like a brother, who’s also the king instead of you, was a blow strong enough for the White Wolf and his War Dogs to become mercenaries.
As of now, it doesn’t seem like the White Wolf nor the War Dogs play a big role in the film. However, Lupita Nyoung’o used an interesting phrase to describe her character in an interview: “Nakia is war dog. She is basically an undercover spy for Wakanda.” This sounds a lot like the Hatut Zeraze to us. This could very well be laying the foundation for the War Dogs to be revealed at some point in this Black Panther film or its sequel.
The Hatut Zeraze would be interesting to include the Black Panther films because they’re such a strong visual antithesis to T’Challa: they dress in all-white and call themselves dogs while T’Challa dresses in all-black and, as we know, a panther is a big cat. The Hatut Zeraze are a part of Wakandan tradition that T’Challa wants to break away from. This is ripe for conflict that would translate well conscreen. A lot of T’Challa’s inner conflict in the comics is finding a balance between honoring the duty he has to his country and its traditions versus wanting to save the world as a superhero.