Marvel Comics’ Black Panther is a brilliant tactician, an enigmatic ruler and a genius inventor, all rolled into one. But according to Chadwick Boseman, who debuted as T’Challa in “Captain America: Civil War,” you can also add hardened anti-hero to that list as well.
While promoting his thriller “Message From the King” at the Toronto International Film Festival, the actor told Entertainment Weekly, “I feel like although he is a superhero, he is a super anti-hero.”
Black Panther has frequently been depicted in comic books as an idealized “brave warrior king,” but there have been more nuanced takes on the character — and times when T’Challa needed to get his hands dirty. Most notably, during Christopher Priest’s run on “Black Panther,” he displayed a depth and complexity that could certainly support the label of “anti-hero.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther has already shown flashes of this as well. In “Civil War,” he expresses a clear distaste for politics and embraces the Wakandan tradition of taking action whenever necessary. T’Challa’s immediate response after his father T’Chaka is murdered is to seek revenge by killing the man he assumed responsible, Winter Soldier. When T’Challa learns Helmut Zemo was behind is father’s death, and has his opportunity for vengeance, he instead lets Zemo live, deciding that a punishment dealt by the rule of law would be much more fitting.
Even the alliance T’Challa forms with Iron Man is tenuous, and not at all what one would describe as a traditional superhero team-up. It’s implied that this version of Black Panther puts a priority on his own goals, and will do whatever he believes is right, regardless of whether others approve. This bravado is further evidenced after Winter Soldier is given sanctuary in Wakanda: Captain America warns, “You know if they find out he’s here, they’ll come for him,” to which T’Challa defiantly replies, “Let them try.”
Boseman will reprise his role in director Ryan Coogler’s 2018 film “Black Panther,” which also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira.
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