In a way, Captain America: Civil War turned out to be Black Panther's film as much as anyone's. The newly introduced Prince T'Challa – as played by Chadwick Boseman – might not have scored the most screen time, but he was the hero who really seemed changed by Iron Man and Cap's showdown.
Marvel Studios is great at many things, but not so much at diversity, so Black Panther also marks the first solo film not starring a white dude.
Suffice to say, we're very excited about the movie. Here's the rundown on what to expect when T'Challa goes on the warpath.
Black Panther trailer
The first trailer for Black Panther gave us a look at how T'Challa's fictional and highly advanced African nation Wakanda actually works, as well as showing off some serious action.
A second trailer gives some more clues about the plot of the 2018 movie.
While an international trailer hinted at more technology and big secrets hidden in Black Panther's kingdom.
Black Panther cast
Creed and Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler is taking the reins of Black Panther for Marvel, and he's gathering a cast of talented young black actors for the movie.
Get On Up and... er... Gods of Egypt star Boseman is of course back as the recently orphaned prince of Wakanda. Although we suppose he's king now.
Coogler is bringing his frequent collaborator Michael B Jordan along for the ride. It was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that he will be playing the magnificently named Erik Killmonger, a Wakandan exile with a grudge against his former king, T'Challa. (Just nobody mention Fantastic Four, please.) He also gets to try on a rocking Black Panther-esque leopard costume.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Lupita Nyong'o is also on board to play a Wakandan called Nakia. In the comics, she was a member of the royal bodyguard called the Dora Milaje, but was kicked out for becoming obsessed with Black Panther and trying to kill his lover.
In the film, she's being billed as the king's ex and a spy in his employment, and, as far as we can tell, not a bad guy.
Danai Gurira – best known as The Walking Dead's Michonne – will play Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje. Forest Whitaker will be following up Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by playing Zuri, an 'elder statesman' of Wakanda, with Florence Kasumba as Civil War Dora Milaje Ayo and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) as T'Challa's confident W'Kabi.
This is Us actor Sterling K Brown will appear as N'Jobu, "a figure from T'Challa's... past", and Winston Duke (Person of Interest) will play the villain M'Baku, who will not be going by his totally racist comic book name, 'Man-Ape'.
The legendary Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, What's Love Got to Do with It) will appear as T'Challa's mother Ramonda, the queen mother of Wakanda, and Letitia Wright (Doctor Who, My Brother the Devil) is playing his sister Shuri – who in the comics has served as both Black Panther and queen. In the film she's a tech expert – so basically Marvel's answer to Q.
Andy Serkis is back as classic Black Panther foe Ulysses Klaue – who Killmonger also despises for enslaving his family. He traditionally replaces his hand with a sound-based weapon and goes by the name Klaw.
Martin Freeman will reprise his role as Everett Ross, Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre from Captain America: Civil War.
Sebastian Stan's Bucky/Winter Soldier – who is currently on ice in Wakanda – is back for Infinity War, but apparently won't be thawed out in time for Black Panther.
Marvel is also looking to cast people of African heritage from 18 to 90-years-old, particularly people with skills in drumming, MMA and wrestling. Piercings and shaved heads welcome all round. It sounds like Wakanda's going to be a diverse (and militaristic) place.
Black Panther plot
Not much has been revealed at this point, although Nyong'o did apparently let slip more than she should have at Comic-Con.
"The story of this Black Panther is – what am I allowed to say? – that the Black Panther's leadership is really threatened by two foes who come together, and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milaje to try and defeat the enemy," she said.
The most up to date synopsis reads as follows:
"After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country.
"When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with CIA agent Everett K Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war."
The first trailer reveals that Wakanda has been hiding its superior technology from the world, but that the secret (possible with the help of Klaw) is about to be exposed.
There have also been some hints at a '90s flashback.
The film feels like the next best chance to pick up the threads from Civil War, with the Avengers divided and Cap's team last seen hanging out in Wakanda, while T'Challa gets to grips with his new role as king. That's looking very likely after writer Joe Robert Cole that Black Panther is set shortly after Marvel's 2015 movie.
So we would expect some cameos from Cap and co, or at least some acknowledgement of what is going on in the wider MCU. And we don't think the crown is going to stand in the way of Black Panther donning his badass bulletproof costume and putting some bad guys in their place.
Boseman has said that it will be "grittier" than your average MCU film, and has described his character as an "anti-hero" (well, an "anti-superhero"). And having a majority black cast for a major blockbuster might be a landmark moment, but he's trying not to think about it while he's shooting.
Like any good MCU film, it will also apparently look beyond the borders of Wakanda, with first images from the production emerging from South Korea.
Black Panther release date
Shooting began in early 2017, and Boseman's solo outing lands at an increasingly busy time in Marvel's schedule. It will be released in the UK on February 9, 2018, and in the US on February 16, 2018.
That puts it only three months before the first instalment of the two-part Avengers: Infinity War film, adding to our anticipation about how it will tie into the next big Marvel team-up and the overall story of the MCU.
In the meantime, check out the first track from Kendrick Lamarr's Black Panther soundtrack below:
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