SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains mild spoilers for Marvel Legacy #1, on sale now.
Well, that's the Black Panther mystery (partially) solved -- Jason Aaron has revealed what's going on in the Marvel Legacy scene depicting an alien planet that has apparently been colonized by Wakanda. And, really, it's a pretty simple explanation, albeit one rife with storytelling potential.
Marvel Legacy is a sixty-page behemoth that sets up the future of pretty much every Marvel title going forward, and in most cases those set-ups have been fairly easy to understand. Captain America is struggling with his public image post-Secret Empire, Tony Stark has gone missing, Mangog is on its way to Asgard.
Black Panther's teaser page, however, is a bit more obtuse. It takes place on a planet named Bast — named for the Panther God worshiped by Wakandans — in a city known as Birnin T'Challa that flies the ancestral flag of Wakanda in what appears to be a vibrant space-hub as different alien races mingle in the colonized world.
At first it might seem like this is a look to the future of Wakanda, to one day down the line where Wakanda has grown so expansive it has headed to the stars and grown into an empire. However, Wakanda has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the rest of the world, and that scene is actually set in the present day. It might seem strange, but the foundation for it was laid several years ago and earlier today on Twitter, Jason Aaron confirmed this when he acknowledged a fan who put the pieces together.
That bit is all @tanehisicoates. And it's gonna be crazy cool. https://t.co/DOxwZGUPzf— Jason Aaron (@jasonaaron) September 27, 2017
The rise of the Wakandan space empire is a throwback to the very first issue of Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers when a group of Wakandan teenagers succeeded in a trial to unlock the secrets of an undiscovered solar system. Unfortunately, their discovery was interrupted by an incursion from another reality, and the teens were killed by followers of the Black Swan. After the end of Secret Wars, the Marvel Universe reset to how the world was before the first incursion, and the teens' discovery was not interrupted. Together with the Black Panther, they watched the first launch of a Wakandan rocket into outer space to — as T'Challa put it — "drag mankind to the stars on the back of Wakandan science."
The teased Black Panther storyline for Marvel Legacy involves the return of T'Challa's archnemesis Klaw, but the small glimpse of a galactic Wakanda in this issue proves that Ta-Nehisi Coates has big plans for the character and the country going forward. Will we see Black Panther venture off world at some point in the next year? It seems more likely than ever that's exactly what's going to happen, and it all started nearly five years ago.