“What do you know about Wakanda?”
After the wonderful success of Wonder Woman, I’ve been feeling renewed hope for the DCEU in general. With the imminent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, I knew DC’s feel-good window was short-lived. But I was willing to bask in it for as long as I could.
Then Marvel looked at me and said, “here. Hold my beer.” And out popped the Black Panther teaser trailer.
This is the first time Marvel focuses on the fictional African country of Wakanda, home of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). After the death of T’chaka, his father, during the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’challa has returned to Wakanda to take his place as their king. But it seems that external forces, as well as internal ones, threaten his reign. The external threat is introduced in the beginning of the trailer. Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), the guy whose arm Ultron ripped off in Avengers: Age of Ultron, is speaking of Wakanda to Everett Ross (Martin Freeman). Klaue exposits that Wakanda is not the third-world country everyone believes it to be. The trailer then switches to all the badassery everyone is expecting from this movie.
Personally, I think Klaue is gonna be a fun villain. Andy Serkis does the crazy conniver role real well; he may actually be crazy. Has anyone spoken to his pshrink yet? Can we find out if he’s a legit nutbar?
There are quite a few notable things in this teaser. Chief among them is Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Black Panther’s main foil in the comics. He breaks Klaue out, then later tangling with the Dora-Milaje, the (mostly) bald women that act as T’Challa’s bodyguards. The fact he’s taking on eight Dora-Milaje in the clip – if you don’t know, one Dora-Milaje warrior could most likely kick Black Widow’s ass from stem to stern – should let you know he can throw down.
(Quick aside: Killmonger’s mask looks WAY batter than it does in the comics! Just throwing that out there.)
The presence of Killmonger, as well as a brief shot of M’Baku the Man-Ape (Winston Duke), also hint that there will be some political drama in this movie. M’Baku is another antagonist, and in the comics, he is from the Jabari-Lands, a city near Wakanda. There is tension among the several city-states in the Wakandan region. and people in those city-states don’t see eye-to-eye with the king of Wakanda. A shot fo T’Challa seemingly addressing the U.N. further hints at a political subplot. Since T’Challa is to be crowned the new king, that makes sense.
There are other brief appearances in the Black Panther trailer. There are brief shots of Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), two of T’Challa’s Dora-Milaje. There’s also a very brief action shot of Ayo (Florence Kasumba) in battle. Ramonda (Angela Bassett), T’Challa’s step-mom, shows up briefly, and we see a couple of shots of Shuri (Letitia Wright), his half-sister. In one shot she’s wearing some high-tech gauntlets that do who-knows-what. And Zuri (Forest Whitaker), an old friend of T’Chaka, makes a brief cameo in the trailer as well.
One thing I notice about the Black Panther trailer, other than the absolutely badass action pieces, is the grave seriousness of the trailer. Marvel’s movies have been very liberal with humor, and I’m sure there will be some zingers in this movie. But the high stakes and tension are present throughout the trailer. With Ulysses Klaue pining to get back into Wakanda to steal vibranium, Man-Ape assumingly stoking political tensions, and Killmonger in full revenge mode, there sure is a lot to be tense about.
Black Panther is expected to be released on February 16th, 2018. I’m sure we can expect more than a couple of insane trailers before then.