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Black Panther is on the prowl

By Veronica Gray

A little over a week ago, Marvel Studios released the official class photo for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to celebrate ten years of movies. The lineup included Chadwick Boseman, the lead actor in Marvel’s highly-anticipated new release Black Panther.

We met Prince T’Challa (Boseman) in Captain America: Civil War two years ago and were promised a solo movie for Black Panther soon after. However, this was delayed due to the sudden addition of Spider-Man to the franchise. With Infinity Wars so close, it was a bit unnerving to watch the MCU release timeline move around so much. Now, with everything settled and trailers flooding social media, frustration has been pushed to the side. We finally have our movie.

Black Panther takes place following the events of Civil War. T’Challa returns to Wakanda to take his rightful place on the throne, now vacant after the assassination of his father. Of course, it’s never that easy and T’Challa must harness his new power as king and call on his friends to save the world. Those friends are some of the elite warriors of Wakanda and elders of the clan. Two of these elite warriors are Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), whom we have not heard of yet. We also see the return of two MCU characters with Agent Everett Ross (played by Martin Freeman) and the vibranium trader Klaw (played by Andy Serkis). These are the only two characters we have met previously besides T’Challa. It’s really exciting to know that we’ll be diving into not just a new hero and world, but we have the chance to get to know new characters that can influence other MCU storylines.

Black Panther seems to be taking on the same idea that Spider-Man: Homecoming presented last summer in continuing the adventures of the hero instead of picking up with an origin story. It should help move the overall plot of the universe forward, but with trailers for Infinity Wars already floating around, could the ending for Black Panther already have been spoiled? T’Challa is seen in the trailers still leading an army, in his suit as the Black Panther, and referred to as “your highness” by some of the characters. This could point to a typical happy ending at the end of his solo film. However, because Marvel always plays things so close to their chest, there’s hope they didn’t spoonfeed us T’Challa’s fate via spoilers. I’m hoping this film adds some weight to future plots and hints at the next direction of Marvel’s storytelling, rather than just shoving a new hero into the MCU. After all, we are still missing one Infinity Stone. Could it be possible that T’Challa’s people are the guardians of this last piece to the puzzle?

Black Panther could also clear up an open ending or two before the next Avengers movie. After the events of Civil War, we still don’t know where Steve Rogers has gone off to, though there have been trailers and end-credit scenes that point to Rogers hiding out in Wakanda. If he is hiding out in T’Challa’s kingdom it is possible we could see him again, or at least be given a hint as to where T’Challa has hidden him for the time being.

The waiting game for Black Panther is almost over and soon we’ll have our answers. Until then, all is speculation and hope for what lies ahead.

Veronica Gray can be reached at veronica.gray@spartans.ut.edu.


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