11 Marvel Comics Characters To Look For In The ‘Black Panther’ Trailer
Who's who in Wakanda
We’ve all been eagerly waiting to see what Ryan Coogler (director of Creed and Fruitvale Station) and his talented cast of buzzing names and vets alike have come up with. Needless to say, the footage in the first trailer—which premiered during game four of the NBA Finals—did not disappoint (it didn’t hurt to have a soundtrack courtesy of Run The Jewels). While we didn’t even get a full two minutes of this monumental installment of the MCU, we did get to see most of the characters that were adapted from the comics—and this gave us a pretty good idea of what the plot may entail. It looks like various factions will come together to test T’Challa aka Black Panther and wrest control of Wakanda from him. Below we will break down every hero and villain who shows up.
T’Challa aka Black Panther
It looks like T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) will have his claws full holding off a military, Killmonger, Klaue, Man-Ape and his White Ape Cult, and possibly even his own personal bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, assuming some of them turn on him like they have in the comics. The Black Panther suit shown above is exactly the same one we saw in Captain America: Civil War. We checked.
Also, based on how he is entering some secret pool in the royal palace and emerging in some other body of water to the cheers of his people, it seems that he will undergo the Rites of the King of Wakanda in this film. That’s not how it happens in the comics, but the ritualistic nature of the scenes suggest that the trials will be part of the movie.
Just like in the comics, it looks like T’Challa will have to defend his crown in one-on-one combat. Killmonger (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan) hails from a village in Wakanda called N’Jadaka. At one point, he fights the Black Panther and wins the right to don the costume and crown. However, when he takes the heart-shaped herb to gain super strength and speed, he is poisoned by it. The herb can only safely be taken by T’Challa’s bloodline.
Killmonger sports dreadlocks in the comics, so his mini dreads above are obviously a nod. Plus, the ill mask he wears while breaking out Klaue is similar to the trianguar false face he wears to battle T’Challa in Black Panther #38 (2008).
Ulysses Klaue aka Klaw
Last we saw Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he had his arm sliced off by the AI once known as Crimson Cowl. Here he is (played by Andy Serkis) being interrogated by Everett K. Ross, who we last saw in Captain America: Civil War. They appear to be in Korea judging by the graffiti on the wall Killmonger blows up, as well as the casino we see in the next scene. Then we see Klaue in the middle of some kind of heist and here he seems to have a prosthetic (or it’s possibly a flashback to before the events of Avengers: AoU).
Interestingly, in the comics he loses his right arm but in the MCU, it’s his left for some reason. However, the adaptation of the villain is generally faithful. Apparently, his sonic canon arm will instead be a modified piece of Wakandan mining equipment.
Princess Shuri is T’Challa’s half-sister. She is the only child of T’Chaka’s third wife, Ramonda. Portrayed in the film by Letitia Wright (Humans), Shuri is the first woman to have become the Black Panther in Wakanda’s history. The Panther gauntlets she is wearing in this still are not from the comics, but like T’Challa, she sported Vibranium claws when she was the Black Panther.
While actually only his step-mother, this is the woman T’Challa calls mother. She was T’Chaka’s wife and Queen of Wakanda when he was assassinated. In Ta-Nehisi’s recent Black Panther run, she is one of T’Challa’s most trusted advisers. The character is being portrayed by Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got To Do With It, Chi-Raq).
In the comics this character is a member of the Dora Milaje, an order of women trained to be the King of Wakanda’s bodyguards… and wives, if he so chooses. Nakia was obsessed with T’Challa and even tried to kill his American girlfriend, Monica Lynne. She was dismissed from the Royal Palace and eventually fell in with Killmonger. Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) looks like she is going to rock this role.
In most of the scenes we see in this trailer, she is with Shuri. This leads us to believe she may be Shuri’s personal guard. It is unclear why she is the only Dora Milage with hair.
In the comics, the Dora Milaje had not been utilized for a long time when T’Challa reinstated the tradition. He did so because the Dora Milaje were made up of the chosen females from every tribe in Wakanda, which was a way to guarantee fair representation. Okoye was part of the new group that also included her friend Nakia. In rather perfect casting, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) is playing this warrior woman.
From the above still that seems to take place in Korea, it appears Okoye may be T’Challa’s personal bodyguard.
Everett K. Ross
In one of the final scenes of Captain America: Civil War we saw CIA agent Ross (played by Martin Freeman) mocking Helmut Zemo about his capture and failure. Here he is once again one-on-one with a baddie, this time trying to feel out how much Klaue really knows about Wakanda. Later in the trailer we see him with Ramonda, Shuri and Nakia, surrounded by the White Gorilla Cult. It looks like they get kidnapped.
In the comics Ross worked for the U.S. State Department and was assigned to T’Challa. He accompanied the Wakandan king on many adventures and also consulted on Wakanda for various US agencies.
M’Baku aka Man-Ape
This character (played in the film by Winston Duke of Law & Order: SVU) was a fierce Wakandan warrior in the comics. In response to T’Challa joining the Avengers in America, M’Kabu resurrected the forbidden White Gorilla Cult and attempted to take over Wakanda. To gain strength and might, he slaughtered a rare white gorilla, ate its flesh and bathed in its blood. When Black Panther returned, Man-Ape challenged him to combat and won. However, luck turned in the Wakandan monarch’s favor when a giant statue crumbled on M’Baku.
This character first appeared in the Black Panther series that was released under Marvel’s more adult banner, Marvel Knights, in 1998. He is an experienced warrior and was the righthand of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, while he was king. Zuri is being played by Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
In the above still it looks like Zuri will preside over the Rites of the King of Wakanda, which include the Heart-Shaped Herb ritual. In the comics a character named Mendinao fulfills this role.
In the comics this character was the Head of Court Security when T’Challa took the rites of passage to become King. Like most Wakandans, W’Kabi was weary of out-worlders… especially Everett K. Ross. This warrior is played by Daniel Kaluua, who was not a huge star when the Panther film was being cast, but is now very well known for his lead role in Get Out.
This fictional African country looks amazing in this trailer. You can see there is a mix of high tech and tribal even in the architecture. In the comics, Wakanda had various tribes that inhabited different regions and this peek at this next instalment in the MCU seems to verify we will see a very similar iteration of the isolated nation.