This year will mark the debut of the Black Panther becoming part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is set to make his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Newcomer Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the lead and it has just been recently confirmed that Creed director Ryan Coogler will direct the 2018 film. Most hardcore fans have been awaiting this moment to happen even before the announcement of Marvel’s MCU Phase 3. And they should be rejoicing because this character is a significant one in the Marvel world and it is about time that he becomes part of a film franchise.
Marvel’s Black Panther was created by comics “Founding Fathers” writer Stan Lee and co-writer and penciler Jack Kirby. Since his debut in Fantastic Four # 52 he has gone on to have a loyal fan base. IGN even ranked him as #51 greatest superhero of all-time. Still, like many other marvel characters making their debut in the MCU Third Phase, not many new comic book readers are familiar with this character besides the basics: he’s the rich king of an African nation called Wakanda and he’s going to be an Avenger. Unfortunately not many people know more beyond those facts.
But we’re here to help fill in the gaps. We have compiled a list of 15 interesting facts for any regular comic book fans and newbies who want to know a bit more about the superhero. By the end, you may be a Black Panther expert in time for the new movie. Enjoy! And you can thank us later.
15. One of the Few Superheroes to Be Uninfected in Marvel Zombies
In the alternative-universe called Marvel Zombies, the Black Panther is one of the very few heroes who does not get infected in the series. He maintains the food supply for Giant-Man, who is a zombie who imprisons and amputates the Panther. Cutting off his limbs was the only way the Wakandan King would not be infected and survive. Panther eventually escapes, taking the head of The Wasp with him, and then joins the Acolytes. In this universe, pretty much everyone is struck down and turned into a zombie. The defenseless team includes some big time fan favorites like Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man.
14. T’Challa’s Sister Is A Panther In Her Own Right
That’s right – women can be Panthers, too! T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, is the youngest in the family who was trained to be a martial artist before earning the title of “Panther”. The story behind her gaining the title is a long one, so to make it short here is the basic story. Namor, Prince of Atlantis, makes the attempt to recruit her brother to the super villain group called Cabal, organized by Dr. Doom. T’Challa refuses and is attacked by Doom and his gang, leaving T’Challa in a coma. His former wife, Queen Ororo, makes Shuri her brother’s successor while he recovers. Ever since then, Shuri has been a Panther, on and off, in the comics.
13. His First Issue Is Worth a Whopping $18,000
It’s very common to hear that a classic comic book, and especially one that is as successful as The Black Panther, has extraordinary value. His first appearance in Fantastic Four issue #52 can sell for $9,000 if the copy is in pristine condition. If it is sealed, it goes up to $18,000. The copy goes down to a nice little $300 if the comic book is only in fine condition. Anything less than nice and perfect condition you should expect your copy to be worth just $20 which is still pretty good. Even though this is not even from his solo series, this comic marks his introduction to the Marvel World.
12. Black Panther’s Powers Are From a Heart-Shaped Herb
The superhero’s physical attributes, strengths and abilities come from an unknown heart- shaped herb that can be found in the fictional country of Wakanda, Africa. Once the Panther eats the herb, he is given powers granted by the Wakandan Panther God. Such powers include increased strength, speed, agility, and sharper senses. T’Challa’s connection with his God ceased but he forged a connection with another deity, who gave him a resistance against magic. However, it is rumored that the plant wasn’t a gift from the Gods but rather due to a meteorite hitting the land. Only Wakandan rulers are entitled to this mystical herb. It is also believed that the herb is poisonous to others.
11. He Was Not Named After the Black Panther Movement
In fact he predates the political Black Panther Movement. That being said, he did not predate the logo of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, who came before the movement and the WWII Black Panthers tank battalion. It has always been speculated that he was made after the Black Panther movement in 1966. His debut in the Fantastic Four issue #52 came just a few short months before. Marvel has gone to great lengths to avoid any association with the group. In 1972, the character was even given the name “Black Leopard” to lessen any confusion between the two entities.
10. “Black Panther” Is Actually A Ceremonial Title
Even though he goes by this name, the title Black Panther is really a ceremonial one. It is only given to the chief of the Wakandan Panther tribe. In order to have this title you must rule the country, protect its borders and be the leading authority figure of many other tribes. T’Challa’s costume is symbolic, representing the head of the state. It is worn for diplomatic purposes. Earning this title isn’t easy. The individual must go through tough trials that are taxing both physically and mentally. T’Challa’s father held the title, which probably put T’Challa under more pressure to achieve it himself.
9. He Has An Oxford PH.D In Physics
Aside from having a great physique, he is incredibly smart. He studied at England’s Oxford University, earning a PH.D in Physics. He is definitely one of Marvel’s greatest and brightest characters, joining other powerful minds such as Tony Stark, Victor Doom, Reed Richards and Hank Pym. He is a highly intelligent engineer, tactician, and physicist. Not only that, he also invented some of the most advanced weapons Wakanda has ever had, including recreating bombs that were able to destroy an entire planet.
8. He Was A Member Of Many Prominent Superhero Groups
On top of being ruler of his nation and being a prominent member of The Avengers, The Black Panther was a member of different organizations and superhero teams. When Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards were absent, he and X-Men member Storm would fill in. He was also a member of The Fantastic Force and The Defenders. The character was also an Illuminati member, which was a top secret group made of up various Marvel Characters who banded together to search for any threat that could destroy the universe before it could happen.
7. He Has The Ability to Defeat Villains More Powerful Than He
Compared to Captain America, this guy’s power is just as strong. Though he has no superpowers, he does have “comic book peak-human” physicality. He fights regularly and even fights characters who are supposedly tougher than he is. For example, he has defeated both Doctor Doom and Mephisto. He has gone on to even crush all of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. The alien Silver Surfer was once put in a headlock by him! Despite what you might think of his powers, the Black Panther has proven that he has the strength to defeat just about anyone. He is a much greater threat than other superheroes and villains than originally suspected.
6. His Ex-Wife is X-Men’s Storm
This seemed like a match up in Comic Book heaven. T’Challa and his girlfriend , X-Men member Storm, were married in a ceremony in Wakanda. Shortly after the wedding, they went on a tour, meeting the world’s greatest figures like Doctor Doom, Namor, even the President of the United States. The couple would go on to sub for Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards. However, things did not work out. The marriage was annulled after Namor attacked Wakanda. The Black Panther ultimately believed that his duties as leader of his people were more important than being basically a neglectful husband.
5. He’s Been Adapted for Animated Films Since The 90s
The upcoming solo film is not the only screen adaptation. The Black Panther has made appearances in animated Marvel TV shows and movies since the early 1990s. His earliest appearance was in 1994 in an episode of The Fantastic Four. The Black Panther has made a brief cameo appearance in the 90s hit animated cartoon show X-Men. Later, he was featured in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The superhero even had his own primetime show on BET, although only for a short time. Actor Djimon Hounsou did the voice acting for the Black Panther character. You may also remember him as Konath in Guardians of the Galaxy.
4. Wesley Snipes Was Close To Making A Black Panther Movie
Back in 1992, Wesley Snipes made his intentions very clear that he wanted to play the Wakandan leader. Then in 1993, Wesley Snipes made an announcement that he would be making a movie based on the comic after Demolition Man. He was passionate about making the film. He said, “ We have a wide-open field for comic book characters on the big screen and we’ve yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It’s a dream come true to originate something that nobody’s ever seen before.” After fighting for over a decade, Marvel came out and said no in 2003. At the time, Snipes was playing Blade in Blade: Trinity. It is reported that they didn’t want an actor to play both iconic characters. Ouch!
3. The Black Panther Used Aliases and Had Regular Jobs
It seems for a while he was looking for normalcy. The Black Panther took charge of protecting New York City in Daredevil’s place while Daredevil went to deal with some personal issues. While in the big apple, he made sure he integrated with society. He gave himself the name “Luke Charles” and began working as a teacher. Later, he went by the name “Mr. Okonkwo” and became a manager for a restaurant called The Devil’s Kitchen. During this time, T’Challa was trying to erase any identity he had that was associated with the Black Panther and beginning his own path towards self-discovery.
2. His Arch Nemesis Was Played by Andy Serkis in Age of Ultron
Every superhero has that one enemy who becomes their nemesis. For the Black Panther, this person is Ulysses Klaw. Like T’Challa, Klaw is a physicist but he is a son of a Nazi. Since losing his hand, he has worn a prosthetic “klaw”, which is really a sonic emitter device. Klaw is also the man who killed T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka. Klaw continues to start trouble with Black Panther by trying to bring harm to his native land of Wakanda. Moreover, he is after one thing and that one thing is the almost-magical metal Vibranium, which powers Black Panther’s suit (and Captain America’s shield, by the way). This guy’s name may ring a bell. In 2015, he was featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was played by talented actor Andy Serkis.
1. The Black Panther Is The First Black Superhero in Mainstream Comics
Despite the fact that there were other black comic book characters before him, the Black Panther is the first to succeed in the mainstream comic book world. In the 1950s, there was “Awake”, who made an appearance in Atlas Comics. Then there was “Lobo” from Dell Comics who debuted one year before Marvel’s character. However these guys weren’t considered superheroes. Other black superheroes like Luke Cage, Storm, and John Stewart are successful because of the prominence of The Black Panther. His solo film will mark a first for a black comic book character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.