What we learned from Marvel's Black Panther teaser trailer

The first trailer for Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ has arrived with a roar. Opening February 2018, the film is set to kick off what will be a busy year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ coming hot on its heels.

As this teaser demonstrates, ‘Black Panther’ will build on existing characters and plotlines from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but it will also open up a whole new fascinating realm that we haven’t seen on film before.

Beware, The Black Panther (credit: Marvel Studios)
Beware, The Black Panther (credit: Marvel Studios)

Directed by Ryan Coogler (‘Creed’), ‘Black Panther’ stars Chadwick Boseman in the title role, reprising the character he introduced in 2016’s ‘Captain America: Civil War.’

Watch the teaser above if you haven’t already, then read on for some thoughts on the key things to be taken away from this dazzling 115 seconds of footage.

Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis return to the MCU in 'Black Panther' (credit: Marvel Studios)
Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis return to the MCU in ‘Black Panther’ (credit: Marvel Studios)

Familiar faces

Boseman isn’t the only MCU returnee here, as we learn in the opening seconds of the teaser. Andy Serkis is back as Ulysses Klaue, the South African villain introduced in 2015’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (in which a disagreement with the titular cybernetic psychopath saw him lose an arm).

It’s no great shocker that Serkis would be back, as in the comics Klaue was always first and foremost a Black Panther adversary, but perhaps less expected is the return of Martin Freeman as Everett K Ross, American bureaucrat introduced in ‘Civil War.’

The opening conversation between the two is intriguing, as it demonstrates just how little the world at large knows about the Black Panther’s homeland…

Black Panther's homeland of Wakanda (credit: Marvel Studios)
Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda (credit: Marvel Studios)

The remarkable Kingdom of Wakanda

We met Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther in ‘Civil War’ as a fledgling diplomat far from his home turf. This time around, we’ll be taken into Wakanda itself, and the brief glimpses we get here promise something really quite spectacular.

As readers may recall from earlier Marvel movies, Wakanda is the only place on Earth that produces vibranium, that incredible, indestructible metal from which Captain America’s shield was forged. This has resulted in Wakanda being one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations in the world – all of which they have kept a closely guarded secret.

Wakanda balances high-tech with the beauty of nature (credit: Marvel Studios)
Wakanda balances high-tech with the beauty of nature (credit: Marvel Studios)

However, just because Wakanda is high-tech does not mean it has lost touch with its history, nor has it ravaged its own natural landscape. The trailer makes clear that African tribal traditions have very much survived, and are still key to daily life there.

This blend of sci-fi flash and ancient warrior ways suggests ‘Black Panther’s Wakanda may be more than a little reminiscent of ‘Thor’s Asgard, but rooted in African rather than Norse culture.

Michael B Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya in 'Black Panther' (credit: Marvel Studios)
Michael B Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya in ‘Black Panther’ (credit: Marvel Studios)

Michael B Jordan on bad guy duties

This trailer gives us our first glimpse at Michael B Jordan as Erik Killmonger, expected to be the main antagonist of ‘Black Panther.’ Aside from having a magnificent bad guy name, Killmonger also sports a rather distinctive look with that big side-parted hair (surely I’m not the only one reminded of ‘Purple Rain’-era Prince).

Jordan, of course, is no stranger to Marvel, having previously starred as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 20th Century Fox’s troubled ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot. He’s also a frequent collaborator of director Ryan Coogler, the duo having worked together both on ‘Creed’ and Coogler’s first feature ‘Fruitvale Station.’

Michael B Jordan's Erik Killmonger in action (credit: Marvel Studios)
Michael B Jordan’s Erik Killmonger in action (credit: Marvel Studios)

However, while Jordan has been one of the major breakthrough stars of recent years, ‘Black Panther’ looks set to show a whole new side of the actor in a villainous role, and based on the brief glimpses we get of him in action, he looks to be a formidable opponent to T’Challa.

Also, readers may recognise from the earlier photo above British actor Daniel Kaluuya, fresh from his star-making turn in ‘Get Out,’ as T’Challa’s trusted friend W’Kabi.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, king of Wakanda (credit: Marvel Studios)
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, king of Wakanda (credit: Marvel Studios)

The burden of the crown

As anyone who’s seen ‘Captain America: Civil War’ will recall (spoiler warning for those who haven’t), the events of that film saw T’Challa go from Prince to King of Wakanda, following the assassination of his father T’Chaka, played by John Kani.

However, given that we hear Kani’s voice in the trailer, speaking to his son about the burdens of being a monarch – “you are a good man with a good heart, and it’s hard for a good man to be a king” – it looks likely that ‘Black Panther’ will see T’Challa struggle to adapt to his new position.

The first official poster for the film would also seem to hint at that.

Credit: Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

Otherwise, there isn’t too much we can gauge from this trailer plot-wise – although, unsurprisingly, it’s clear we can expect some pretty awesome action, with both Boseman’s T’Challa and his fellow Wakandans demonstrating incredible strength, agility and fighting skill.

It’s rumoured that the events of ‘Black Panther’ will play a significant role in setting the stage for ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ and it’s also known that film will see Boseman and his co-stars Letitia Wright and Winston Duke will reprise their roles.

Naturally, we’re all hugely excited about the third ‘Avengers’ movie – but now, aren’t we all even more anxious to see ‘Black Panther’ first?

Look for it in cinemas on 16 February 2018.

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