Marvel released a Black Panther teaser trailer during Game 4 of the NBA Finals and it's everythign fans have been waiting for. The live action debut for T'Challa occured druing Captain America: Civil War but fans of the first black super hero in a mainstream comic book have been waiting decades. Back in 2007, John Singleton was tapped to direct not only Black Panther but Luke Cage as well. Obviously Marvel went a different direction with Marvel Studios and the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe put things on hold.
Well the wait is finally over (well, almost anyway). Fans (i.e. every black person in existence) were already super excited when Chadwick Bosemen was announced to be joining the cast of Civil War as T'Challa. #BlackPantherSoLit has become the rallying crying for fans excited for this solo film to hit theaters. With fan favorites like Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan and more in this film, the excitement has been bursting at the seams.
After being criticized (rightly so) for the lack of black women in the MCU, Marvel has moved to reverse the course. Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok. Zendaya in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But Black Panther really takes it to another level. The teaser shows dark-skin black women will play a major role, throughout the film. This is significant. I cannot think of the last time I've seen this many black women featured prominently in a trailer for a big budget blockbuster, let alone a comic book movie. The Dora Milaje are important not just for the film, not just for the culture but especially for black women who will finally get to see themselves with significant roles in a film. Where Wonder Woman gave us glimpses of black women, Black Panther seems fully committed to sustained roles throughout the film.
A recurring jokes about Black Panther was that if there was a black actor in Hollywood, if they weren't already contracted for a previous comic book movie, they were in this film. The amazing thing about this teaser is, we get to see at least a glimpse of everyone:
- Chadwick Bosemen - T'Challa/Black Panther
- Michael B. Jordan - Erik Killmonger
- Angela Bassett - Ramonda (T'Challa's step mother)
- The Dora Milaje
- Lupita Nyong'o - Nakia
- Danai Gurira - Okoye
- Florence Kasumba - Ayo
- Winston Duke - M'Baku/Man-Ape
- Letitia Wright - Shuri (T'Challa's sister)
- Daniel Kaluuya - W'Kabi
- Forest Whitaker - Zuri
Throw in the non-black cast members of Martin Freeman (Everett K Ross) and Andy Serkis (Ulyssess Klaw) and that's pretty much everyone we know about in the film.
By getting Ryan Coogler to direct this film (after first approaching Ava DuVernay), Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige let it be known that they weren't going to take half measures with this film. The look and production value of this teaser (there's still 8 more months of work to be done on this film) back that up. This film looks and feels different from any other film we've seen in the MCU. The colors, outfits and character designs all feel unique but similar. Wakanda is an African nation and that seeps through all of the design. Costume designer Ruth Carter has talked about the various real-life influences for her designs both in interviews and on Twitter.
But even the tone is different. We've seen three other trailers for Marvel Studios movies this year: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. All three opted for humor. Black Panther though is all business. While I don't think the final movie will be devoid of humor, I think Marvel is letting Coogler go the route the Russos did with Winter Solider and Civil War.
If you want to learn more about Black Panther, the Dora Milaje and other characters in this film, listen to our Character Corner on T'Challa. We go through the history of the character and some of the most important comic book runs (Priest, Hudlin, etc). Give it a listen.